PC game controller with a touch of class

The above is a specially designed game controller made by [Giorgos] solely for the RTS game Men Of War (now that’s dedication to a game). [Giorgos] started off with a rough breadboard and 11 buttons. Slowly overtime he included a joystick, countdown timers, and the wonderfully lit case. Under the hood is a couple of PIC microcontrollers multiplexing the switches, LEDs, timers, and also interfacing with the computer via how is it not dead yet PS/2 port. The build log is a very detailed read and well worth it, even if you’re not planning on making a custom controller. [Ben Heck] better watch out, there is a new controller making enthusiast on the loose.

Comments

  1. Mr. Sandman says:

    reminds me of a Belkin Nostros (or however its spelled)

    pretty neat.

  2. asdf-chan says:

    Looks cool but your brain must be really skilled to handle 3 different tasks at once.

    Sort of want

  3. Ian says:

    yeah, does look pretty cool.

  4. Panikos says:

    His name is Giorgos, Did the copy/paste skills fail you for a moment?

    Nice hack!

  5. Panikos says:

    And you featured him before…
    http://hackaday.com/2010/05/19/solder-station-hack-adds-temperature-control/

    the guy is awesome

  6. i use this soldering station still with great success. Frankly, i did not expect to be that stable and reliable. I do all my soldering jobs with it…

  7. oh, and about these buttons… if anyone has any idea how to change colors…. i would appreciate the advice. I know this color sucks.

  8. Squirrel says:

    @Giorgos Lazaridis

    Well.. spraypaint followed by sealant does a good job of coloring without coloring your fingers after extended use. I’d look up custom controller painting to see what people who paint (i.e.) xbox controllers use to get good colors that last

    Assuming that you’re talking about the beige keys, of course.

  9. NsN says:

    @Giorgos Lazaridis
    Go fullout and make them of translucent material with an RGB LED beneath them.
    Then you can change the color to represent different modes / actions / modifiers

  10. mick says:

    @Giorgos Lazaridis you can also use rit dye to dye the plastic. it also dosent were out and onto ur hands or have a sticky feeling

  11. @Squirrel
    yes im talking about the beige keys…

  12. mick says:

    *wear out, i meant wear out

  13. @mick
    what is “rit dye” :$

  14. Luke says:

    There is something about the shape of it which makes one think that perhaps it could have been redesigned, it certainly does look like a “joystick.”
    http://pcbheaven.com/projectpages/Men_Of_War_Game_Console/

  15. bobdole says:

    About that “how is it not dead” PS/2 port, it’s a far, far, far superior interface for hooking up keyboards than USB.

    USB HID spec sets a limit of a maximum of 4 simultaneous keypresses. In a game, some times you need to duck, jump, and change weapons while walking forward. PS/2 can theoretically support holding down all 101 buttons at once.

    USB is polled by the CPU. It has a definite latency, and it consumes CPU cycles to poll it. PS/2 is completely hardware interrupt based. The CPU doesn’t have to waste its time asking the keyboard whether or not a key is pressed, the keyboard tells the computer when it has input in its buffer, not the other way around.

    There are very good reasons PS/2 isn’t dead. It’s much better at its job than USB.

  16. @bobdole
    not to mention the ease of software protocol implementation ;)

  17. mick says:

    @giorgos
    its a fabric dye. if you dont have it in your area im sure you could find something else. look into dyeing rc car parts with rit dye

  18. bob d says:

    @Giorgos Lazaridis

    Virtually all paint will flake off and look unplesant pretty quickly. I’ve had very good luck dying plastic with cheap Rit cloth dye. Put the keys in a pot of simmering water with the dye for 30-90 minutes and you’ll get a vibrant color that won’t come off easily.

    I still hate seeing blue lights on stuff like this. Yes, blue is the official color of “cool”. (And now apparently” classy” Ugh.) But blue light will constrict your pupils more than other wavelengths and will make your eyes less sensitive to dim lighting. This is bad for any gaming rig since you’re relying on your visual acuity. (And for other displays that you read in the dark.) Change the color to red and you won’t be ruining your night-adapted vision.

  19. @bob d
    it is just a narrow 3mm strip near the bottom of the structure…

  20. _Matt says:

    @bobdole

    Couldn’t figure out where you got your info on the 4 keys max, but I know my cheap usb keyboard can do up to 6 keys at once, all getting detected.

    Unfortunately, PS/2 isn’t plug and play, so I’d have to restart my keyboardless server next to me to get a PS/2 keyboard working.

    I’ve always wanted a custom keyboard setup for my different games, that’d be neat.

  21. bobdole says:

    @_Matt:

    My bad, you’re right. The max is 6 keys.

    The HID buffer for keybords is 8 bytes, of which, one is a modifier flag, another is reserved. allowing a total of 6 scancodes.

    http://www.usb.org/developers/devclass_docs/HID1_11.pdf

  22. wouter says:

    I’m so gonna make one for all fps i play :p

  23. blueeyesm says:

    Why not just find a broken black keyboard and scam the keys off that?

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