Four-button turbo MSX controller not letting me use the additional 2 buttons?

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

wyrdwad's picture

12-11-2016, 21:41

Hey guys,

I've been meaning to ask about this for a while now. I've got a Joy Cont Turbo-IV controller -- the one pictured here:

Which I purchased for a handful of games that are tough to play on controller because of the sheer number of extra functions you need the keyboard for. I wasn't 100% sure how the extra two middle buttons were going to work, but since they're labeled "Select" and "Run," I assumed at the very least that they'd register as keypresses for the Select and 実行 (Run) keys on my keyboard (I have a Japanese MSX2+, specifically a Panasonic FS-A1WX) -- and I was hoping maybe they'd register as F1 and F2, since those seem to be the most commonly used extended keys in most any video game.

Sadly, that turned out not to be the case. Consistently, in absolutely every game I've tried this controller with, the Select and Run buttons register as joystick up and joystick left -- basically, the same as if I pushed up or left on the D-pad.

I thought maybe it's just because those games weren't meant to be used with it, so I popped in the FX Software remake of Head Over Heels this morning and went into its key config -- this is a homebrew game from this year that's designed to be used with multi-button controllers, as evidenced by the default shoot key being bound to the space bar or to a third joystick button by default.

Sadly, when I went to rebind keys and tried rebinding shoot and swap to Select and Run, it rebound them to -- you guessed it -- joystick up and joystick left.

I imagine there isn't any software solution for this, since the controller would need to somehow be programmable for that (and it's not), but does anyone know any way to finagle this so the Select and Run buttons on my Turbo-IV controller aren't totally useless, or any games whatsoever that actually work with this thing?

Guessing I wasted my money on this (given that I already have multiple perfectly fine two-button controllers, all of which are more comfortable to use than this one due to clickier D-pads), but hey, figured I should hold out hope until the experts weigh in, at the very least. ;)

Thanks very much!

-Tom

Login or register to post comments

By syn

Prophet (2061)

syn's picture

12-11-2016, 23:08

Google tells me that that joypad is a FM-Towns joypad.

According to the pinout on this site http://www.gamesx.com/controldata/fmtownsjoy.htm, Select = Up and Down at the same time and RUN =Left and Right at the same time.

Try the joytest tool to verify: http://frs.badcoffee.info/tools.html

If this is correct, then you can try ask the software developers to add support for those buttons. I don't think it is very hard to implement, but I don't know if it is worth it since there are probably not many msx users with these kind of controllers.

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

wyrdwad's picture

12-11-2016, 23:36

Wow. That would definitely explain things! It was being sold as an MSX controller on eBay, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the seller just misidentified it -- and since the two systems use mostly the same inputs, the fact that I'm able to use it as an MSX controller isn't really very surprising.

That said, do you know of any good MSX controllers that *do* have more than two buttons available for input? Particularly ones that are programmable to map specific keyboard presses to the extended buttons? I have no idea if anything like that exists, but I feel like it should -- though technically, I don't actually know if it can, as I'm not sure what restrictions are hard-wired into MSX controller input ports.

Regardless, thanks for the quick and informative response!

-Tom

By syn

Prophet (2061)

syn's picture

13-11-2016, 00:07

I don't think he was wrong, the pinouts are the same as msx so it works, its just that the extra buttons are connected to something that already exists Smile That joypad was probably just being sold as msx+fm towns.

The MSX joystick port only has 9 pins, 6 of them used for up, down, left, right, A and B.
However, there are tricks using one output pin of the connector to read out more buttons on 9 pins. The megadrive joypad works that way. With a small mod you can use megadrive joypad on the MSX, AND have software being able to read out all the buttons (max 6 fire buttons + start + mode). but it is better to use an external adapter because original Sega megadrive 6 button joypads are sacred so if you damage one I will find you! Big smile /kidding Wink

The "protocol" is called a Joymega Adapter.

Explaination: http://frs.badcoffee.info/hardware/joymega-en.html

Buy joymega adapter on ebay: link (I don't have those, I heard you can use 6 button controller as well but I am not responsible if it doesnt work)

Build joymega adapter yourself: https://www.msx.org/forum/msx-talk/hardware/joymega-adapter-...
(I have one build by roadfighter and it works very well!)

If you have a working megadrive joypad you can use SOFARUN to remap buttons
https://www.msx.org/forum/msx-talk/software/sofarun-v10-rom-...

But I havent tested it yet, since I don't really use my real msx'es

A few games work by default: A few patches by frs (sd_snatcher here on mrc) (the vampire killer patch and some others, just check his site http://frs.badcoffee.info/
Also the street fighter fan remake works with joymega, although only 4 buttons are used. http://msxbanzai.tni.nl/compo/2014/results.html

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

wyrdwad's picture

13-11-2016, 00:28

Wow, that's great info. Thank you very much!

-Tom

By syn

Prophet (2061)

syn's picture

13-11-2016, 00:45

No problem, I just happen to know all this because I am slowly making a game (my first one actually) that will require 6 fire buttons Big smile )

By Louthrax

Prophet (2406)

Louthrax's picture

13-11-2016, 11:28

syn wrote:

Google tells me that that joypad is a FM-Towns joypad.
According to the pinout on this site http://www.gamesx.com/controldata/fmtownsjoy.htm, Select = Up and Down at the same time and RUN =Left and Right at the same time.

The drawback with that design is that you can't use Start & Select for in-game actions (it would just stop the player from moving). But it's still nice as a "Pause" button.