custom USB controller adapters

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby theimporter » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:52 am

Newsdee wrote:Fair enough, i's a bit hard to see on the video when you press the button exactly.

What some people have done is wire a LED to the button so it lights up when pressed... that gives a very clear indication of lag by slow motion.

In fact in a crazy world of infinite developer time, it would theoretically be possible to have a core that emits serial commands that push buttons (wired to an original controller) then measures internally the time it takes for the button push to come back from the USB bus... which such a rig we could test all kinds of adapters to weed out bad ones. But I don't expect this to appear, is just a wild thought. :)


I go with the SMB1 pipe jump trick. Basically, in W1-1, after getting the first power mushroom, you run onto the first pipe and then you jump on the next 3 and then into the first hole without hitting the ground. Except for one of the jumps, all the other ones require you to jump at near the edge or you'll hit the ground. Any input lag will make it that jumping from the edge while running will make you miss and hit the ground instead. That 3rd converter makes me miss those jumps, so that's how I measure input lag.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby damopinn » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:56 pm

cvenditti wrote:
Sorgelig wrote:You don't need any other components for you converter. Just wire any retro joystick directly to its GPIO and write the firmware :)

nes.png
No need to write the firmware, this guy already did it (partially):
https://github.com/mcgurk/Arduino-USB-H ... ickAdapter


I used this firmware for wii accessories and used a connector from an old wii motion plus accessory and a 3.3v pro micro clone, it was very easy and now I use the Snes and Nes joypads from the minis to control the Snes and Nes games. The hardest part was removing triwing screw.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby cvenditti » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:36 pm

I'm working on a controller adapter for the MVS (raw DB15):
This might help. Here the two codes that I will used/Modify (with V-USB that can be quickly converter to an USB solution)
SFC to Neo-Geo:
https://github.com/Mikejmoffitt/SFCToJamma
Genesis/Megadrive to to Neo-Geo:
http://pcbjunkie.net/index.php/guides/a ... interface/

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby cvenditti » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:01 pm

Here is the Sega Megadrive/Genesis to Neo-Geo it use a Arduino Nano (clone) or a Atmega168/328 directly.
With the Arduino Nano it can be used as a controller to USB (even Neo-Geo with the male to male converter).
I also did the an SNES version.
Some buttons are used for autoFire.
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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:33 pm

cvenditti wrote:With the Arduino Nano it can be used as a controller to USB

i think you mean Arduino Micro. Nano has no native USB controller. Micro (Atmega32u4) has.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby cvenditti » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:42 pm

Sorgelig wrote:
cvenditti wrote:With the Arduino Nano it can be used as a controller to USB

i think you mean Arduino Micro. Nano has no native USB controller. Micro (Atmega32u4) has.


The Nano have a FTDI Chip - no?
Capture.PNG

https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-nano

For the clone I think it is a CH340
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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:45 pm

It's some sort of USB to serial adapter. Generally speaking you can use the nano as well, but you will need to make a special driver.
With Micro, you can use standard HID USB stack, so MiSTer will see it as a generic joystick and won't need special driver.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby cvenditti » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:57 pm

Sorgelig wrote:It's some sort of USB to serial adapter. Generally speaking you can use the nano as well, but you will need to make a special driver.
With Micro, you can use standard HID USB stack, so MiSTer will see it as a generic joystick and won't need special driver.


I see, I can do a version with the Micro.
Another option is to use VUSB:
https://www.obdev.at/products/vusb/index.html
https://github.com/gblargg/vusb-joystick

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Newsdee » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:10 am

Theoretically an adapter could be made only using discrete components (e.g. Genesis to Neogeo and vice versa). I guess it's cheaper nowadays to do the mapping with an Arduino or similar low power MCU. But it would still be cool to have it as schematic on a pcb :)

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:40 am

Like bliss-box. They use HDMI connector where you plug the adaptor cable according to used joystick. But such cables are hard to make yourself. So at least proto board could be used to connect Arduino with appropriate joystick connector.

With Arduino Micro (and other boards like Leonardo if size doesn't matter) you don't need anything besides the arduino itself and appropriate connector.

I just don't see a real need to convert 30 years old joystick to USB. You can made a modern replica of almost any retro gamepad with USB interface. It's may be good to practice in Arduino programming and get something working - this is really cool feeling. But for generic user who just want an USB gamepad, it's better to buy a ready solution. Wired USB gamepad with many buttons and analogue sticks costs like 5USD only.

The apogee of useless things is bliss-box. You pay big bucks (the cheapest kit is ~120USD!) just to connect the gamepad you may have laid in your garage like 30 years? This is insane! Get the 8bitdo gamepad or even receiver to have it wirelessly with just 1/3 price of bliss-box.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby zomgugoff » Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:01 am

Bliss box has it's uses, but it's excessive for MiSTer. I think it's a good way to use some of the less-common laid-out controllers as the replicas for them are often trash (looking at you, N64 controller...), and for controllers with unique features (still looking at you, N64 controller... and Dreamcast controller...).

Also, Bliss box has that 1-port version now for $40 something + price of individual cables. Still way more expensive than the price of individual controller adapters or wired/wireless alternatives for common controllers.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:55 am

zomgugoff wrote:Bliss box has it's uses, but it's excessive for MiSTer. I think it's a good way to use some of the less-common laid-out controllers as the replicas for them are often trash (looking at you, N64 controller...), and for controllers with unique features (still looking at you, N64 controller... and Dreamcast controller...).

I believe 5USD Arduino Micro can easily convert N64 interface to USB :)

zomgugoff wrote:Also, Bliss box has that 1-port version now for $40 something + price of individual cables. Still way more expensive than the price of individual controller adapters or wired/wireless alternatives for common controllers.

Ok, $42 just for N64 gamepad. Is it adequate price?
Typical Amiga-style. Pay more get less + whining from seller how it's hard to make it cheaper.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby zomgugoff » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:12 am

Sorgelig wrote:I believe 5USD Arduino Micro can easily convert N64 interface to USB :)


I was referring to the convenience and 'consumer' end of usage. You can get cheap off-the-shelf converters, assuming the software that was made for them still works on current OS's.

But, specifically with the controllers I called out, that was aimed at expansion slot(s) on controllers. It's more of a software issue than anything.

Sorgelig wrote:Ok, $42 just for N64 gamepad. Is it adequate price?
Typical Amiga-style. Pay more get less + whining from seller how it's hard to make it cheaper.


Ehh, not a bad entry cost if you use it for additional controllers. $2-3 for additional cables isn't bad.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby haricot42 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:13 am

hi all ,
don't see this link posted here , i use this arduino micro lib. with Gamecube controller and it work nicely
https://github.com/NicoHood/Nintendo

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:09 pm

zomgugoff wrote:I was referring to the convenience and 'consumer' end of usage. You can get cheap off-the-shelf converters, assuming the software that was made for them still works on current OS's.

But if 5USD board can do the same why theirs is $42?
Typical way to make everything custom and then show it as excuse: oh, we have to produce the devices in small batches that's why it's so expensive. In other words "we made custom device just to be sure only we can produce it, but you, user, will pay for our wish".

I think the best way is to buy their $3 cable + breakout board then buy an arduino micro and combine it together. As an advantage you can update the FW as you wish with any features.

I'm not N64 gamepad lover, so i think 8bitdo SF30 Pro is much better - it has many buttons, 2 analog sticks and it's wireless! Waiting for 8bitdo Pro 2 version with grips.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Newsdee » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:44 am

If I am not mistaken, the "throw" of the n64 stick is wider than those of 8bitdo/playstation pads, allowing for a finer range of control. So it's a nice option for games that use analog joysticks, such as Apple II joystick games.

That said, I do use a newer wireless 8bitdo SN30 Pro myself for convenience. It has more buttons than you would ever need...

(what is throw?https://www.slagcoin.com/joystick/restrictors.html)

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby kitrinx » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:31 pm

Sorgelig wrote:I just don't see a real need to convert 30 years old joystick to USB. You can made a modern replica of almost any retro gamepad with USB interface. It's may be good to practice in Arduino programming and get something working - this is really cool feeling. But for generic user who just want an USB gamepad, it's better to buy a ready solution. Wired USB gamepad with many buttons and analogue sticks costs like 5USD only.

The apogee of useless things is bliss-box. You pay big bucks (the cheapest kit is ~120USD!) just to connect the gamepad you may have laid in your garage like 30 years? This is insane! Get the 8bitdo gamepad or even receiver to have it wirelessly with just 1/3 price of bliss-box.


I think saying retro controller adapters are useless is disingenuous, and I think your hostility here is unwarranted, especially on a device that has no purpose other than to use old systems. There are plenty of reasons someone might want to use an old original controller. Some people like the nostalgic feel, other people like the feel of the d-pad or buttons on certain specific controllers like saturn, and sometimes there is just no replicating the controller types. Replacing an Atari paddle controller or a SNES NTT pad, or even an Astrocade controller is impossible via any modern joystick, and all of them are useful for various systems on MiSTer. Just because it isn't something you'd use doesn't mean that it isn't objectively useful.

In addition, we both know that there is more to electronics than just the cost of the parts. A MiSTer RAM board is $4 in parts, but they sell for more of that because they take time and effort to produce. A bliss-box needs the wires, the ports, the shell, the label, the testing, and the time and cost of making the firmware, and you can get the single player one with a couple of dongles for under $50. Raphnet sells single-controller adapters for 2/3 that price. I've paid more for a controller than that. For people that have a lot of old controllers and want to use them with things like MiSTer, things like that are a pretty cost effective solution.

If I wanted to make an adapter like this from scratch, I certainly could do it, even with some pre-made kit like a teensy or arduino. I could scope out all the signals, research all the protocols, write all the software, make all the wires, and etc, but it would take an enormous amount of my time, and chances are that the end result would look like a pile of wires and boards on my desk. To me at least, that would not really be cheaper unless I found it fun to do.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:51 pm

kitrinx wrote:I think saying retro controller adapters are useless is disingenuous, and I think your hostility here is unwarranted, especially on a device that has no purpose other than to use old systems.

No, problem Use it with original NES, SNES consoles with original carts. If you are really so picky with feeling of specific gamepad then you must use original consoles instead. Modern replicas or emulators are about playing games. They are not about original buttons/tapes/carts feeling. Neither MiSTer is.
And since MiSTer is about emulating of many systems, many retro gamepads are not acceptable due to not enough buttons.
So regardless how much you like for example Competition Pro, you can't use it with SNES. The same lovely NES gamepad cannot be used with SNES.
So leave your favourite old gamepads/joysticks with their respective systems. Find modern gamepad for MiSTer. It will be cheaper and more convenient. As a user of 8bitdo SF30 Pro gamepad i say it's not worse than original SNES (and much better than original NES) gamepad by button feelings.

I just don't like when someone mislead the new users saying that you can simply buy an adaptor for old gamepad and it will work well with MiSTer. And then new users want to make NES gamepad work with just a couple of buttons. Nope, it WON'T be a convenient! You will suffer more or less. MiSTer is not NES-only and single game emulator. You have additional menu which wasn't present in original NES. So it needs additional button. And there are other systems requiring much more buttons.

kitrinx wrote:Replacing an Atari paddle controller or a SNES NTT pad, or even an Astrocade controller is impossible via any modern joystick

Paddles are very well emulated by mouse, by the way.
SNES NTT is rather marginal than required adaptor - just few people have it. How many games really need it? Quote from raphnet: "The only game I know supports this controller is JRA PAT. At startup, the software checks if a NDK10 keypad is present in port 1." So you are serious about supporting this??
Well you can find some unique retro gamepad. It doesn't mean it must be supported. MiSTer is targeted for modern input devices you can freely buy and use without problems. If you have unique controller then you can make an adaptor to try utilize it - but it will be just for yourself in most cases. 99.9% users won't notice it.

P.S: some time ago i wanted to connect A1200 keyboard to USB (MiST). After messing with keyrah v2 i found it's useless as it doesn't support many key combinations. And as generic commercial closed source solution you either endure all its bugs or throw away. I've went the second way and made adaptor based on Arduino Micro. It works much better than Keyrah. And it's 5USD only plus some fun of creating the adaptor and writing the FW. I doubt today you can't find the protocol description of any retro gamepad. All of them are available long time.

All retro gamepads can be directly wired to the same Arduino Micro, so it's not a problem to make similar to bliss-box but open source adaptor. I don't see any difficulties. I would make it if i wouldn't think it's generally useless idea. At least i prefer a wireless gamepad, so all wired solutions aren't interesting to me.

I would rather to make BT-USB adapter to support different kinds of BT gamepads (unlike only few in 8bitdo/Mayflash). This would be really useful as it's targeted to gamepads available on the market rather than obsolete controllers.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby kitrinx » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:03 pm

Sorgelig wrote:No, problem Use it with original NES, SNES consoles with original carts. If you are really so picky with feeling of specific gamepad then you must use original consoles instead. Modern replicas or emulators are about playing games. They are not about original buttons/tapes/carts feeling. Neither MiSTer is.
And since MiSTer is about emulating of many systems, many retro gamepads are not acceptable due to not enough buttons.
So regardless how much you like for example Competition Pro, you can't use it with SNES. The same lovely NES gamepad cannot be used with SNES.
So leave your favourite old gamepads/joysticks with their respective systems. Find modern gamepad for MiSTer. It will be cheaper and more convenient. As a user of 8bitdo SF30 Pro gamepad i say it's not worse than original SNES (and much better than original NES) gamepad by button feelings.


I use 8bitdo controllers for many things. They're well made, and fairly applicable. Not everyone likes them, and to suggest that that is somehow unusually picky is silly. There's a thriving market for controller adapters, on Amazon, on Ebay, on individual shops. To say that it's somehow unusual to want this is just ignoring facts. Even 8bitdo themselves makes an adapter for using an old Gamecube controller with a modern system. Even people on software emulators use these frequently. Nobody is saying you MUST use old controllers, some people just want to.. because it makes them happy.

Sorgelig wrote:Paddles are very well emulated by mouse, by the way.
SNES NTT is rather marginal than required adaptor - just few people have it. How many games really need it? Quote from raphnet: "The only game I know supports this controller is JRA PAT. At startup, the software checks if a NDK10 keypad is present in port 1." So you are serious about supporting this??


I know paddles have a variety of alternate ways to emulate them, but if you ever use a real Paddle controller, it's easy to see why a lot of people might prefer this. The NTT pad is useless for SNES. What it is valuable for is things like Colecovision that had many numbers on the joystick that sometimes need to be pressed during game play. For this type of purpose, it is very nice and it's hard to replicate. That's why people like that controller.

MiSTer is a powerful device and it appeals to a lot of different kinds of people. Some people love computers, some love consoles. Some just want a casual easy time, and some people want a way they can replace their old original systems with something that is accurate and will last. Things like analog out and the *ability* to use a wide variety of controllers, even old ones, is one of the reasons people love the MiSTer project. No one is being misled into thinking that a NES controller is going to have enough buttons for the OSD or to play Genesis. People just like using their old first party controllers, and that's OKAY.

Sorgelig wrote:I would rather to make BT-USB adapter to support different kinds of BT gamepads (unlike only few in 8bitdo/Mayflash). This would be really useful as it's targeted to gamepads available on the market rather than obsolete controllers.


Something like that would be nice. I would like such a device to use something like a wiimote with a little lightgun fixture as a mouse to get an X/Y coordinate on the screen. With that, you can do light gun support in any system by reading the pixel output around the X/Y to trigger the "light" signal to the core at the right time. I guess it wouldn't be too hard to just start by using the mouse for it. Then again a wiimote is pretty obsolete too. Maybe there is a newer gun-like device.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:55 am

kitrinx wrote:Even 8bitdo themselves makes an adapter for using an old Gamecube controller with a modern system. Even people on software emulators use these frequently. Nobody is saying you MUST use old controllers, some people just want to.. because it makes them happy.

There are different purposes for gamepads. Old gamepads can be still used on PC for example to play some specific game not requiring much buttons. You just don't notice, with PC you always have a keyboard around, so you use both keyboard and joystick. It's exactly the same for MiSTer. Just use combination with keyboard and reduced joystick. The problem that users gives more strict requirement for MiSTer than for PC. They don't want to use keyboard. So comparison is unfair due to different requirement.
We need to set specific requirements first before starting to compare. And if you will try to control the PC with just joystick without keyboard then you will find it very inconvenient (and even impossible without special software).
So, if you like to use an old joystick with couple buttons with MiSTer - then you can do it. Just don't complain you (i don't mean exactly you, just generic user) need a keyboard for missed buttons.
And if you want full control from gamepad then choose the gamepad with enough buttons - this is what i wanted to tell originally.

kitrinx wrote:I know paddles have a variety of alternate ways to emulate them, but if you ever use a real Paddle controller, it's easy to see why a lot of people might prefer this.

Well, you can use real paddles with MiSTer using converters. Did i say you can't? But you need a keyboard because paddle usually has only 1 button. Can you use it to play specific game? -Yes. Can you use paddle to control the MiSTer? -No.

kitrinx wrote:The NTT pad is useless for SNES. What it is valuable for is things like Colecovision that had many numbers on the joystick that sometimes need to be pressed during game play.

For those who has this gamepad with proper converter it could be a good feature. But today it's almost impossible to get this gamepad. So it's useless for 99.9% users.
There are many RF keyboards with reduced size like Logitech K400r - why don't use it?
There is even smaller keyboards with size of remote control - so it's like NTT gamepad. It can be used together with normal gamepad in case if some specific unmapped key is required.
I don't want to add support for something which is hard to buy. I don't have this gamepad, btw.

Btw, may be not many users know, but MiSTer has doubled dpad + analog stick direction control. Why i say i like SF30 Pro? It's because i like to use analog stick as directional pad. In games requiring some precise move step by step i use dpad where i have tactile feedback with every press. But if i play some shooter then i choose analog stick as directional pad as it's much easier to move in diagonals. In some games i use both dpad+stick. And all this on the same gamepad. No way i will use gamepad without stick after such experience.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:17 am

kitrinx wrote: I would like such a device to use something like a wiimote with a little lightgun fixture as a mouse to get an X/Y coordinate on the screen.

There is a small keyboard with size of remote control which also incorporates mouse support like wiimote. It has accelerometer for mouse function. I don't know the model name of this keyboard but can post the picture if you want. It's good to brifly use as a mouse for Minimig of ao486, though normal mouse is better for long use.

kitrinx wrote:With that, you can do light gun support in any system by reading the pixel output around the X/Y to trigger the "light" signal to the core at the right time. I guess it wouldn't be too hard to just start by using the mouse for it.

Yes, it's theoretically possible. But the key point is who will implement all this? You can exclude me definitely as i'm not interesting in light gun. I never played such games even on platforms originally supporting the light gun. So, if you want to implement it, then nothing can stop you. If you want to spend enormous time to make just couple gun games work - then it's not a problem :)

kitrinx wrote: Then again a wiimote is pretty obsolete too.

It's still easy to buy. Even Aliexpress has a lot of cheap offers. So i don't call it obsolete.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Newsdee » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:53 pm

I like the idea that 8bitdo used for their Gamecube adapters. One could imagine an adapter for retro sticks a la Retro Freak but that also has additional buttons on the adapter itself.

That way one can use original controllers and also have easy access to additional buttons like OSD and key commands.

The SNES serial protocol supports up to 32 buttons (includimg dpad) so it would make sense to have DB15 (Neogeo) and DB9 (Atari/Amiga/MD) converters to the NES/SNES format.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby kitrinx » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:37 pm

Sorgelig wrote:Btw, may be not many users know, but MiSTer has doubled dpad + analog stick direction control. Why i say i like SF30 Pro? It's because i like to use analog stick as directional pad. In games requiring some precise move step by step i use dpad where i have tactile feedback with every press. But if i play some shooter then i choose analog stick as directional pad as it's much easier to move in diagonals. In some games i use both dpad+stick. And all this on the same gamepad. No way i will use gamepad without stick after such experience.


Since we are on this topic, would I be able to convince you to expand the number of axis and buttons given to the core? Right now only two axis and 16 buttons are given to cores, per joystick. Some controllers have more than 16 buttons, so not all are usable. Also, Paddles often map to axis 5 and 6, which are considered "Slider" and "Dial" on a HID. Maybe instead of just sending 8 axes, it might be better to make axis map-able as axis 0, axis 1, paddle 0, paddle 1? It would be a nice quality of life improvement for some second generation systems.

I would try it myself, but it touches HPS IO and other sensitive parts that I know you like to protect.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:30 pm

Currently axis are hard mapped in MiSTer for some known gamepads. I need to add analogue axis mapping.
Although i don't plan to provide more than X/Y axis per controller. After porting/writing many cores i didn't see the needs more than 2 axis per controller. Giving unusual ability like more analogue axis per controller will encourage creating awkward cores where you will have to find some very specific controller which only author has.
About the number of buttons: it depends on core, not on controller. So it doesn't matter how many buttons controller has. It only matters how many buttons core needs. I plan to increase the limit, although only couple of cores need it.

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Re: custom USB controller adapters

Postby Sorgelig » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:50 am

Simple task: analog axis map and analog to digital map. Sounds simple, but implementation is super tricky!


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