doubledown Posted March 25 Share Posted March 25 So I was thinking recently...what type of custom controller should I build next. I was looking for a new challenge, and something that I hadn't done before. Then I remembered that I had an Astrocade from way back, and I started researching the system and its games library, to see what kind of arcade controller would work with it. During my research for what will be a general arcade-type controller for the Astrocade, I came across some information regarding a rare game called ICBM Attack, that requires an even rarer controller, the "Spectre Handle", to play it. So as I like to build custom controllers, I started looking into this elusive game and its mating custom controller, to see what I could come up with. After a couple of hours of research on the old internets (Bally Alley and the Balley Alley message group), I had a game plan. So here is my initial prototype for a new ICBM Attack controller ("Please excuse the crudity of this model. I didn't have time to build it to scale or paint it" - Dr. Emmett L. Brown): Bear in mind, nothing here is finalized, its just a starting point to test my concept, using a re-purposed enclosure that I had machined for a previous prototype controller, hence the extra holes to the left of the joystick. Additionally I am not looking to forge a perfect replica/reproduction Spectre Handle, with the full keypad, as most of the keypad functions are not necessary for ICBM Attack, and it's a little small for my liking. So the original Spectre Handle had an analog joystick, an 11 key keypad, and 2 side buttons. The analog joystick was wired to the hand controller potentiometers pins for controller ports 1 and 2, allowing you to move the crosshair with a 2-axis, non-self-centering analog joystick, which can also be done with 2 Bally hand controllers, much like drawing on an Etch-A-Sketch. Ten of the 11 keypad keys were wired to the 2 hand controllers' digital functions, Up/Down/Left/Right/Trigger, with the following specific I/O used for the game: Joystick 1 - Left - Launch from left Base Joystick 1 - Trigger - Launch from center Base Joystick 1 - Right - Launch from right Base Joystick 2 - Trigger - Start each round Then the 2 additional side buttons and 1 of the keypad keys on the Spectre Handle, were used for playing Bally Pin. So, I had read where Brett had said that they built about 100 of these controllers in their basement, and they used a Radio Shack joystick...for the joystick component. Well being a loyal customer of Radio Shack back from the early 80s, and an employee of Radio Shack in the mid-90s, I'm pretty sure I know exactly what joystick they used.: This joystick was in Radio Shack's catalog from 1981-1991, and it was their only joystick in 1982 when ICBM Attack was sold...so like I said, this is my guess on what they used...and what I was going to start with. So I bought a pair of these off of ebay, and started testing. As a PC joystick the potentiometers in these are 100K ohm, versus the 50k ohm pots in the Bally hand controllers...so no biggie, install a 100k ohm resistor in parallel with each of the potentiometers, and voila, you have a joystick with 50k ohm pots, perfect for playing ICBM Attack. Everything else is simply digital contacts, wired to their proper joystick port pins. Currently I'm still working on the lever for the joystick. These original Radio Shack joysticks, had either an aluminum or a silver plastic straight-ish lever knob (later black plastic), screwed onto the joystick shaft, but I want something with a small ball, that's a little bit taller than the original, making it a bit easier (and more comfortable) to use/manipulate. The one in my picture above is a test part I simply 3d printed, testing for overall height and ball diameter. I like the 3/4" ball diameter, but I think I'll make it a little bit shorter...and in the end, they will be purchased/machined components, not a 3d printed part. Then I need to decide on a final layout for the buttons, and work on some artwork. Obviously the original Spectre Handle didn't have any artwork on it, but I like a little more flash. And as Missile Command was the inspiration for this game, I'll borrow some cues from the Missile Command arcade cabinets and come up with something. I'll probably also include the side buttons, and a control panel button for the ball launch, for Bally Pin. It'll probably take me another week or two to get this finished, so stay tuned. 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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