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Light gun games


Thomas Jentzsch
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I got a bit interested into light gun games and coding lately. So I had a look at the two existing Atari 2600 games (Sentinel and Shooting Arcade) and the discussion about it. Also looked at Eckhard Stolberg's guntest code.

 

But before I can start coding anything, I obviously need a light gun. It seems that the Atari light guns are not very precise (maybe the existing detection code is bad too), many people suggest using a Sega light gun or the one from Best Electronics instead. I could not find how to order one from Best, so I wonder if I should buy a Sega one. But that one would have to be modded for Atari compatibility. Seems quite simple, but my soldering skills are not existing. Is there maybe an adapted I could buy?

 

I have some ideas how to improve precision over the existing code. Probably the existing games could be hacked. And maybe some interest for making a new game (before all CRTs are gone) could be created.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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I got a bit interested into light gun games and coding lately. So I had a look at the two existing Atari 2600 games (Sentinel and Shooting Arcade) and the discussion about it. Also looked at Eckhard Stolberg's guntest code.

 

But before I can start coding anything, I obviously need a light gun. It seems that the Atari light guns are not very precise (maybe the existing detection code is bad too), many people suggest using a Sega light gun or the one from Best Electronics instead. I could not find how to order one from Best, so I wonder if I should buy a Sega one. But that one would have to be modded for Atari compatibility. Seems quite simple, but my soldering skills are not existing. Is there maybe an adapted I could buy?

 

I have some ideas how to improve precision over the existing code. Probably the existing games could be hacked. And maybe some interest for making a new game (before all CRTs are gone) could be created.

 

If you tell me you're gonna code a duck hunt clone I'll send you a lightgun.

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If you tell me you're gonna code a duck hunt clone I'll send you a lightgun.

Thanks, but no promises.

 

Probably I would start with trying to improve existing code and, if that works, maybe hack some non light gun games. Any maybe(!) I would code a game myself.

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I could not find how to order one from Best,

 

 

Best still advertises their Light Gun (http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/quickguide.htm), so you may be able to contact them via e.mail and inquire. I emailed them last year and purchased one. :)

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Why what would force them to become gone from most of the world in terms of new units?

They may be still produced for special use. But those are getting less and less and definitely are not common. Common CRTs will become less and less common (or already are). Retro gamers are some of the very few who keep them.

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Even the few places where analog RGB compatible CRT units continued to be needed & used well beyond the rest of the world, such as Hospitals, Television Studios, Bowling Alleys, etc. have now abandoned them & moved on to flat panel / LCD / HD technologies.

 

For years, I held onto whichever ones I came into, but they are so big, bulky, & heavy as well as take up so much room, that I had no choice but to begin tossing them out. There is (was) an over abundance of supply with virtually no demand. And even though supply will dwindle & demand will rise, who has the time or the space or the patience to wait that all out?

 

I just hope that by the time my last CRT unit dies, I will be older & less interested in the hobby, and I will have already begun losing interest & getting out of it anyhow.

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Yeah, I would love to see more done with the gun capabilities of the VCS, but lack of useable TV's is already a problem and will only get worse. Case it point, my last CRT died two years ago and I am yet to find a decent replacement.

I think the detection logic used for NES Duck Hunt should work on modern LCDs too (if they are not too slow). There a white rectangle is displayed instead of the target for one frame. Then the light gun detects this white area. If there rare multiple targets, multiple detection frames are needed.

 

Sentinel and Shooting Arcade use a LCD incompatible detection logic ("racing the beam") and they display a lot of targets at once. I think I could hack them to the LCD compatible logic, but then the detection will require a lot of frames (causing more flicker). Probably binary search can be used, so the number of detection frames will be log(#targets)/log(2)+1 (e.g. 8 targets can be detected in 4 frames, 16 in 5 frames...).

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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Hi Thomas,

 

I have both, the ATARI Lightgun and the SEGA one with converter.

There is no difference in precision in my opinion.

If you like, I can solder you a new adapter for SEGA or lend you my existing, together with the SEGA Lightgun. Or I lend you my original ATARI Lightgun (But only one of the two options, I need one for myself, if I'm in the mood for Alien Brigade ;-)

 

Viele Grüsse

 

Tigerduck

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I think the detection logic used for NES Duck Hunt should work on modern LCDs too (if they are not too slow). There a white rectangle is displayed instead of the target for one frame. Then the light gun detects this white area. If there rare multiple targets, multiple detection frames are needed.

 

Sentinel and Shooting Arcade use a LCD incompatible detection logic ("racing the beam") and they display a lot of targets at once. I think I could hack them to the LCD compatible logic, but then the detection will require a lot of frames (causing more flicker). Probably binary search can be used, so the number of detection frames will be log(#targets)/log(2)+1 (e.g. 8 targets can be detected in 4 frames, 16 in 5 frames...).

 

See I told ya TJ, go with Duck Hunt. It will make your life easier :P ;)

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I got a bit interested into light gun games and coding lately. So I had a look at the two existing Atari 2600 games (Sentinel and Shooting Arcade) and the discussion about it. Also looked at Eckhard Stolberg's guntest code.

 

But before I can start coding anything, I obviously need a light gun. It seems that the Atari light guns are not very precise (maybe the existing detection code is bad too), many people suggest using a Sega light gun or the one from Best Electronics instead. I could not find how to order one from Best, so I wonder if I should buy a Sega one. But that one would have to be modded for Atari compatibility. Seems quite simple, but my soldering skills are not existing. Is there maybe an adapted I could buy?

 

I have some ideas how to improve precision over the existing code. Probably the existing games could be hacked. And maybe some interest for making a new game (before all CRTs are gone) could be created.

 

 

Ah, but what about converting all Light Gun games for Trak-Ball use? :)

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  • 3 months later...

Yeah, I would love to see more done with the gun capabilities of the VCS, but lack of useable TV's is already a problem and will only get worse. Case it point, my last CRT died two years ago and I am yet to find a decent replacement.

Craig's list has dozens for free to $25. They tend to be getting up there in age...15 - 20 years, I've gotten four from 19" - 30" in the last year that work great. Goodwill and missions will also have a lot, all you need is a car. Get the ones with the slightly convex screen, the true flats don't always register on the edges and usually weigh a ton (well, more like 60+ lbs).

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  • 3 years later...

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