Play Doom Or GTA V With Your Own Custom Controller And Xbox Emulator

[Arnov] is bringing his own custom-made controller to the party and it is sure to impress. The design appears to have been inspired by the Xbox controller layout. Two joysticks for fine control of game characters, 4 face buttons, and two shoulder buttons. He opted for all through-hole components to make the assembly easier. No messing with tiny surface mount components here. We really appreciate the detail given to the silkscreen and the homage paid to a staple of retro gaming.

We were pretty impressed with how smoothly the controller translated to the game. He mentioned that was a huge improvement over his previous design. His original design had buttons instead of joysticks, but switching to joysticks gave him much better in-game control. That could also have a lot to do with the Xbox controller emulator running the background, but still.

Given that gift-giving season is upon us, you could really impress the video game enthusiast in your life with this as a custom gift. You could even run Retro games like Doom if you hook it up to a RetroPie. That ought to get a few people’s attention.

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Hackaday Podcast Ep 146: Dueling Trackballs, Next Level BEAM Robot, Take Control Of Your Bench, And Green Programming

Postpone your holiday shopping and spend some quality time with editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams as they sift through the week in Hackaday. Which programming language is the greenest? How many trackballs can a mouse possibly have? And can a Bluetooth dongle run DOOM? Join us to find out!

 

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (52 MB)

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Hackaday Links: November 21, 2021

As the most spendiest time of the year rapidly approaches, it’s good to know that your hard-earned money doesn’t have to go towards gifts that are probably still sitting in the dank holds of container ships sitting at anchor off the coast of California. At least not if you shop the Tindie Cyber Sale that started yesterday and goes through December 5. There’s a lot of cool stuff on sale, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find something; to sweeten the deal, Jasmine tells us that there will be extra deals going live on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But wait, there’s more — follow Tindie on Twitter for bonus discount codes.

Blue is the old black, which was the new blue? At least when it comes to “Screens of Death” it is, since Microsoft announced the Windows 11 BSOD will revert back from its recent black makeover to the more familiar blue theme. You’ll have to scroll down a bit, perhaps three-quarters of the way through the list of changes. Again, the change seems completely cosmetic and minor, but we’d still love to know what kind of research went into making a decision like this.

From the “One Man’s Trash” department, we have a request for help from reader Mike Drew who picked up a bunch — like, a thousand — old tablet computers. They originally ran Windows but they can run Linux Mint just fine, and while they lack batteries and the back cover, they’re otherwise complete and in usable condition, at least judging by the pictures he shared. These were destined for the landfill, but Mike is willing to send batches of 10 — no single units, please — to anyone who can cover the cost of packaging and shipping. Mike says he’ll be wiping the tablets and installing Mint, and will throw in a couple of battery cables and a simple instruction sheet to get you started. If you’re interested, Mike can be reached at michael.l.drew@gmail.com. Domestic shipping only, please. Here’s hoping you can help a fellow hacker reclaim a room in his house.

Answering the important questions: it turns out that Thanos couldn’t have snapped half of the universe out of existence after all. That conclusion comes from a scientific paper, appearing in the Journal of the Royal Society. While not setting out to answer if a nigh-invulnerable, giant purple supervillain could snap his fingers, it’s pretty intuitive that wearing any kind of gloves, let alone a jewel-encrusted metal gauntlet, makes it hard to snap one’s fingers. But the mechanics of snapping is actually pretty cool, and has implications beyond biomechanics. According to the paper, snapping is actually an example of latch-mediated spring actuation, with examples throughout the plant and animal kingdoms, including the vicious “one-inch punch” of the tiny mantis shrimp. It turns out that a properly executed human finger snap is pretty darn snappy — it takes about seven milliseconds to complete, compared to 150 milliseconds for an eye blink.

And finally, it seems like someone over at Id Software is a bit confused. The story began when a metal guitarist named Dustin Mitchell stumbled across the term “doomscroll” and decided that it would make a great name for a progressive thrash metal band. After diligently filing a trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office, he got an email from an attorney for Id saying they were going to challenge the trademark, apparently because they feel like it will cause confusion with their flagship DOOM franchise. It’s hard to see how anyone who lived through the doomscrolling years of 2020 and 2021 is going to be confused by a thrash metal band and a 30-year-old video game, but we suppose that’s not the point when you’re an attorney. Trademark trolls gonna troll, after all.

It’s Doom, This Time On A Bluetooth LE Dongle

By now most readers should be used to the phenomenon of taking almost any microcontroller and coaxing it to run a port of the 1990s grand-daddy of all first-person shooters, id Software’s Doom. It’s been done on a wide array of devices, sometimes only having enough power for a demo mode but more often able to offer the full experience. Latest to the slipgate in this festival of pixelated gore is [Nicola Wrachien], who’s achieved the feat using an nRF52840-based USB Bluetooth LE dongle.

Full details can be found on his website, where the process of initial development using an Adafruit CLUE board is detailed. A 16MB FLASH chip is used for WAD storage, and an SPI colour display takes us straight to that cursed base on Phobos. The target board lacks enough I/O brought out for connection to screen and FLASH, so some trickery with 7400 logic is required to free up enough for the task. Controls are implemented via a wireless gamepad using an nRFS1822 board, complete with streamed audio to a PWM output.

The result can be seen in the video below the break, which shows a very playable game of both Doom and Doom 2 that would not have disgraced many machines of the era. This was prototyped on an Adafruit Clue board, and that could be the handheld console you’ve been looking for!

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The Doom computer game rendered with HTML checkboxes

Play DOOM Using Web Browser Checkboxes (Finally)

If you’ve ever felt the need to render DOOM using nothing but web browser checkboxes, [Andrew Healey] has you covered with his recent port of the first-person shooter. Naturally, this gets our tick of approval.

Yes, you read that right. You can now play DOOM in a 160 x 100 grid of HTML-generated checkboxes, much like this: ☑. The secret sauce for this project is partly derived from the fascinating Checkboxland project by fellow hacker Brian Braun, who uses HTML checkboxes to generate a variety of artistic demos.

[Andrew Healey] also made use of Cornelius Diekmann’s port of DOOM using WebAssembly, which we recently covered here on Hackaday. A smattering of code ties both projects together, and the end result is DOOM at 160×100 resolution, rendered entirely with HTML checkboxes.

The port can be played here using Chrome or Edge (other browsers may have issues if they do not support the zoom property in CSS). The source code is also available over on GitHub.

While the resolution and color palette aren’t what we have come to expect from DOOM, it’s likely that the graphics could be further improved by tinkering with the dithering and threshold settings. Higher resolutions may also be possible with further optimization.

We would be hard pressed to pick our favorite port of DOOM, as the list is becoming quite long. However for something completely different, check out our story on how DOOM was brought to Twitter.

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DOOM Played By Tweet

Getting DOOM to run on hardware it was never intended to run on is a tradition as old as time. Old cell phones, embedded systems, and ancient televisions have all been converted to play this classic first-person shooter. This style of playing games on old hardware might be passé now as the new trend seems to be the ability to play this game on more ethereal platforms instead. This project brings DOOM to Twitter.

The gameplay is a little nontraditional as well. To play the game, a tweet needs to be sent with specific instructions for the bot. The bot then plays the game according to its instructions and then tweets a video. By responding to this tweet with more instructions, the player can continue the game tweet-by-tweet. While slightly cumbersome, it does have the advantage of allowing a player to resume any game simply by responding to the tweet where they would like to start. Behind the scenes of the DOOM-playing Twitter bot is interesting as well and the code is available on the project’s GitHub page.

While we’ve seen plenty of DOOM instances on all kinds of hardware, it’s safe to say we’ve never really seen a gameplay experience quite like this one. It may stay as a curiosity, but DOOM porters are always looking for something else to run this classic game so it may eventually branch out or develop into something more user-friendly like this cloud-based Atari 2600.

DOOM On A Desk Phone Is Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

These days we expect even the cheapest of burner smartphones to feature a multi-core processor, at least a gigabyte of RAM, and a Linux-based operating system. But obviously those sort of specs are unnecessary for an old school POTS desktop phone. Well, that’s what we thought. Then [Josh Max] wrote in to tell us about his adventures in hacking the CaptionCall, and now we’re eager to see what the community can do with root access on a surprisingly powerful Linux phone.

As the names implies, the CaptionCall is a desk phone with an LCD above the keypad that shows real-time captions. Anyone in the United States with hearing loss can get one of these phones for free from the government, so naturally they sell for peanuts on the second hand market. Well, at least they did. Then [Josh] had to go ahead and crack the root password for the ARMv7 i.MX6 powered phone, started poking around inside of its 4 GB of onboard NAND, and got the thing running DOOM.

Tapping into the serial port.

If you’re interested in the technical details, [Josh] has done a great job taking us step by step through his process. It’s a story that will be at least somewhat familiar to anyone who’s played around with embedded Linux devices, and unsurprisingly, starts with locating a serial port header on the PCB.

Finding the environment variables to pretty tightly locked down, he took the slow-route and dumped the phone’s firmware 80 characters at a time with U-Boot’s “memory display” command. Passing the recovered firmware image through binwalk and a password cracker got him the root credentials in short order, and from there, that serial port got a whole lot more useful.

[Josh] kicked the phone’s original UI to the curb, set up an ARM Debian Jessie chroot, and started working his way towards a fully functional Linux environment. With audio, video, and even keypad support secured, he was ready to boot up everyone’s favorite 1993 shooter. He’s been kind enough to share his work in a GitHub repository, and while it might not be a turn-key experience, all the pieces are here to fully bend the hardware to your will.

Historically, running DOOM on a new piece of hardware has been the harbinger of bigger and better things to come. With unfettered access to its Linux operating system up for grabs, we predict the CaptionCall is going to become a popular hacking target going forward, and we can’t wait to see it.