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Old 01 March 2019, 08:49   #1
005AGIMA
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Joystick irony

Just had a thought while browsing retro USB joystick options....

As I was into flight sims on the Amiga back in the day, I spent months looking into which "analog" joystick I may be able to justify and afford.

....fast forward 30 years, and I'm doing the same....but I'm after DIGITAL joysticks (with USB).

Kind of ironic.
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Old 01 March 2019, 08:52   #2
ikorodu
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I was in the same place!

Often dreamed of my ultimate setup of an A4000 with massive screen and the elusive analog stick.

Now I’m over the moon with my zip sticks.
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Old 01 March 2019, 08:56   #3
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I don't ever want to go back to joysticks ever again, joypads seem far more intuitive, simpler to build and more responsive. Or at the least, those tiny modern analogue sticks on modern console controllers are a good use for flight sims, the best, I would say.

It's like the idea of waggling a joystick left and right very rapidly for those endless Track and Field variations: they were a guaranteed method of wrecking said joysticks to increase sales of more, I'm sure the joystick manufacturers were eager to endorse them. Not to mention the physical damage caused to metal leaf contacts, microswitches, and especially more shafts being broken than necks at the height of Tyburn Tree's popularity.
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Old 01 March 2019, 10:47   #4
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Analogue sticks on a modern control pad are pretty good, but there's no substitute for a proper analogue joystick for flight sims. For the Amiga, they were pretty rare, but it was trivial to build a simple adaptor that let the Amiga use PC analogue sticks with the old-style 15-pin connector. That's what I used back in the day for flight sims - my A1200 tower still has the 15-pin connector on the rear panel for the stick, and the difference for games like Birds of Prey was like night and day - a totally different game!
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Old 01 March 2019, 12:43   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foebane View Post
It's like the idea of waggling a joystick left and right very rapidly for those endless Track and Field variations: they were a guaranteed method of wrecking said joysticks to increase sales of more, I'm sure the joystick manufacturers were eager to endorse them. Not to mention the physical damage caused to metal leaf contacts, microswitches, and especially more shafts being broken than necks at the height of Tyburn Tree's popularity.
Maybe. But to have a group of friends all waggling the joystick as fast as they could was absolutely hilarious! It was even funnier if someone managed to destroy one of the joysticks!

I once witnessed someone karate chop a Quickshot joystick in half when they lost a game. Honestly, quite possibly the funniest thing I've seen in my entire life.

Last edited by Hewitson; 01 March 2019 at 12:49.
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Old 01 March 2019, 14:52   #6
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When I was young we would go through quite a few joysticks just through playing a lot... It was always a sad affair when one of them broke because the spare would probably also already be gone and then it'd be a while before a replacement would be bought so we could play two player games again.

To this day I treat game controllers with the greatest care and feel a pang of anger when I see someone destroy one out of childish rage. It just ain't right.
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Old 01 March 2019, 15:04   #7
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Indeed, I've only ever broken one joystick, and that was many, many years ago (maybe 30?). It was playing Encounter on my old Atari, and I put the fire button under too much pressure, eventually damaging the switch inside. It was a Quickshot stick with those horrible, cheap spring-type switches and I managed to repair it, but by and large I've always taken very good care of all my controllers. Same for all technology to be honest - I feel it's a terrible waste to see things abused and destroyed.
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Old 01 March 2019, 15:12   #8
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My kid is destroying controllers and he managed to destroy quite few connectors/wires for controllers.

This never was issue with Playstation controllers (in years he managed to destroy only 1), but on xbox one he managed to trash one in 3 months.

He know he is not allowed to touch any of retro sticks/controllers and broken xbox one controller I am using as wired controller on batocera.
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Old 03 March 2019, 15:20   #9
005AGIMA
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Yeah the only Analog controller I ever afforded for the Amiga was a really simple one. Little stick to waggle about and 3 buttons down the bottom.

A bit like this but this wasn't the one:


Still cost me a relative arm and a leg at the time.

Used it for Stealth Fighter from memory and not much else.

Once I "upgraded" to a PC, and got over the initial shock that you couldn't just plug in a joystick to the mouse port (and double whammy, I had an Amstrad PC and the buggers had a proprietary mouse), I got a "Game port" ad on, and eventually a SB16 with game port built in....and then all i could get were analog sticks.

And ended up with this.....


It was fairly inexpensive and had the throttle wheel on the side.

Was PERFECT for X-Wing! OMG so much fun.

But as said, now....god why can't I find those Comp Pro USB versions anywhere?

Or just give me a trust worthy adapter and my old Amiga weapon of choice.....


The only joystick with which I spent more time playing, than I did replacing microswitch springs
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Old 03 March 2019, 15:31   #10
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After I got into PC gaming, I never missed joysticks and never looked back. Mouse and Keyboard was the way for me to go with most PC games, and whilst I tried flight sims in the 1990s with analogue joysticks, I never liked them, and flight sims died out on the PC in any case.

Even these days, I believe the Mouse and Keyboard are the best control methods for any computer, retro or modern. I play Atari 8-Bit and Amiga games on emulators and the keyboard represents the joystick. I tried SNES-style controllers, but never liked them.
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Old 04 March 2019, 11:48   #11
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There are certain games that tend to suit mouse and keyboard play, the obvious ones being first-person shooters and mouse-driven games like RTS. But these are games written with mouse and keyboard in mind. A SNES platformer, to take an example, most certainly was not written with a keyboard in mind, and the thoughts of trying to play something like Mario World or Metroid on a keyboard would make me not bother loading up an emulator.

Also, just because you don't have a personal interest in them, doesn't mean that flight simulators died out. First-person shooters emerged as arguably the dominant game style on the PC, but that wasn't at the expense of other genres. There are many flight games still played and developed that make excellent use of analogue sticks. There are standard flight sims (e.g. X-Plane, Prepar3D), combat flight sims (DCS World, IL-2), space flight sims (Elite: Dangerous, Kerbal Space Program), all with pretty healthy player bases. And even the less current games can still offer a lot of gameplay with analogue control - games such as the venerable MS Flight Simulator X, Falcon 4, the X series, all still played by thousands worldwide, despite being well over a decade old. Even Descent: Freespace supported analogue control in both its PC and Amiga releases.
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Old 04 March 2019, 11:49   #12
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I was the same for the longest time, but in the last couple of years I've switched to playing most PC games with an XBox controller, when it's possible. If not for having the ability to control movement speed, I still do it for being able to sit in a better position.

However, yesterday I did a classic run of Doom 2 coop multiplayer and I did it classic style - keyboard only
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Old 04 March 2019, 12:03   #13
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I still have the old Atari joystick my brother likes to use for two player games on the Amiga.
It has no rubber left on the shaft and it’s full of teeth marks from sheer frustration haha. Still works and must be 30+ years old.

Is there a modern analogue stick that works on the a1200 for things like Elite, Frontier, and flight sims etc?
Cheers
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Old 04 March 2019, 12:06   #14
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I'd say the need for a digital joystick depends on the game you're trying to play. If it's a retro game expecting digital inputs and the game expects you to hit diagonals repeatedly, quickly and accurately, an 8-directions based digital joystick will likely give you the most enjoyment.

For most other games requiring digital inputs a controller can work just as well, though it might not 'feel' right if this is a game you used to play using a joystick. I'm not 100% sure controllers are fundamentally better in this case though, I think it has more to do with preference and what you're used to.

Now, for games incorporating analogue elements, I'd say the modern controllers are a very fair compromise. I use the PS4 controller with remarkable ease, considering how many buttons it has and just how small the analogue sticks are.

But to the OP I say: I know the feeling, I had been looking for a good digital joystick for emulation for a while now. I bought a competition pro anniversary edition (USB) yesterday and it's supposed to be quite good - so I guess I'll find out if that is true
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Old 04 March 2019, 12:17   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pubzombie View Post
Is there a modern analogue stick that works on the a1200 for things like Elite, Frontier, and flight sims etc?
Not really, unfortunately, though it depends on what you class as "modern". There are plenty of the old type analogue sticks around for the PC that can be used on the Amiga with a simple adaptor, which would still seem modern in comparison to a Zipstick or whatever. My analogue stick, which was pretty cheap in the mid '90s, still looks and feels more modern than a typical Amiga joystick, with 3 additional buttons as well as a more ergonomic shaft.

The Elite games don't support any analogue control I'm afraid, but most flight sims do. I played Birds of Prey to death with my analogue stick, and even F1GP, while not a flight sim, was so much more playable with the joystick given analogue control.
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Old 04 March 2019, 12:23   #16
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Also, just because you don't have a personal interest in them, doesn't mean that flight simulators died out. First-person shooters emerged as arguably the dominant game style on the PC, but that wasn't at the expense of other genres. There are many flight games still played and developed that make excellent use of analogue sticks. There are standard flight sims (e.g. X-Plane, Prepar3D), combat flight sims (DCS World, IL-2), space flight sims (Elite: Dangerous, Kerbal Space Program), all with pretty healthy player bases. And even the less current games can still offer a lot of gameplay with analogue control - games such as the venerable MS Flight Simulator X, Falcon 4, the X series, all still played by thousands worldwide, despite being well over a decade old. Even Descent: Freespace supported analogue control in both its PC and Amiga releases.
I stand corrected.
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Old 04 March 2019, 12:29   #17
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I'd say the need for a digital joystick depends on the game you're trying to play. If it's a retro game expecting digital inputs and the game expects you to hit diagonals repeatedly, quickly and accurately, an 8-directions based digital joystick will likely give you the most enjoyment.
Exactly. And as we are hopefully talking about Amiga here, this will be true for 90% of the games. So it's hard to believe anybody would like to add some extra difficulty by using a pad.

Quote:
I bought a competition pro anniversary edition (USB) yesterday and it's supposed to be quite good - so I guess I'll find out if that is true
Yes, I have those too. But you will never get the same response times with an USB joystick as with a real Amiga joystick.
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Old 04 March 2019, 12:34   #18
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Exactly. And as we are hopefully talking about Amiga here, this will be true for 90% of the games. So it's hard to believe anybody would like to add some extra difficulty by using a pad.
My point exactly

Quote:
Yes, I have those too. But you will never get the same response times with an USB joystick as with a real Amiga joystick.
That makes me wonder, does a DB9-to-USB dongle get better results? Or is it more to do with the fundamental difference between a wire (more or less) directly connecting to a chip vs a driver stack getting in the way?

I'm specifically interested in emulation here because, well, for my real Amiga's I already have good joysticks
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Old 04 March 2019, 14:21   #19
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The problem I would have with real Amiga joysticks these days is that clacking microswitches are far louder than pressing keys, and I have sound-sensitive neighbours.
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Old 04 March 2019, 14:58   #20
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The problem I would have with real Amiga joysticks these days is that clacking microswitches are far louder than pressing keys, and I have sound-sensitive neighbours.
A lot of joysticks use leaf springs.
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