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Intellivision Trak Ball


adamchevy
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I apologize if this topic has been addressed many times before. When I get back into a console and start to acquire new hardware I go down a mental checklist of things I would like to have. Im really surprised that the Intellivision doesnt have a Trak ball like the VCS. Did the Intellivision ever have a Trak Ball? Has anyone ever modified one to use with the intellivision? I can imagine their being a thread like the Atari has of Hacked/Modified games that take full advantage of a Trak Ball. Im not an intellivision expert(a newb really) ,but understanding that the original controller has 16 directions I can see a Trak Ball being very useful for some games. Anyway, just something that I have wondered about for a few days.

Edited by adamchevy
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There has been no trackball, nor paddle, for the Intellivision. I'm not familiar w/ the Atari VCS hardware, but didn't it support analog as well as digital inputs? The Intellivision doesn't, so to implement this would require at the minimum some kind of A/D converter, or perhaps a rotational encoder type of digital input. Then you need games written specifically for the new input data - or hacks of existing ones... Some candidates could be Centipede, Astrosmash, Brickout, Vectron ... heck lots of them!

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I modified an Atari 2600 Wico trackball to work with my Intellivision back in the day. Not sure, but I might have done this with a cable adapter. That was a while back. It was only 8 directions BUT, since it was a trackball, it would function in a way that was sort of infinitely directional depending on the speed you rolled it. For instance, rolling it straight right slowly would result in the Worm Whomper farmer moving to the right in a skipping motion instead of a constant speed. Rolling it fast made the farmer move at a constant speed. The amount of "skipping" was proportional to the speed of the ball. So, moving the ball at various diagonals produced this skipping effect for vertical and horizontal at different speeds. It wasn't perfect or very pretty. But for various games it was semi-effective. At least, this is what I remember.

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Trackballs are digital devices that allow 360° direction with variable speeds. Spinners are also digital devices but the paddles on the Atari 2600 are analog. The Intellivision can directly support trackballs and spinners but not analog paddles. The Intellivision control disc was designed to operate as a 16 point spinner just like the Atari driving controller. Even though there is no place to plug alternate controllers on the original Intellivision. It's just a matter of unscrewing the top cover to find the 9-pin connectors. An easy mod to add DE-9 connectors.

 

The only game that uses the Intellivision disc as a spinner is Turbo. I would like to see more but I suspect that 16 points is too low a resolution for an effective spinner control. Should do nicely with Vectron.

 

You can't have Missile Command without a trackball. The original Atari 2600 trackball was actually just a joystick that looked like a trackball. And Atari 2600 Missile Command wasn't programmed for a trackball. Fortunately that trackball can be modified to restore proper trackball function and Atari 2600 Missile Command has since been hacked to play correctly with a trackball.

Edited by mr_me
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