Cool KickStarter for retro gaming enthusiasts

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by garbanzox, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. garbanzox
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    garbanzox GBAtemp Regular

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  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Well I have wired 360 controller but such things are kind of nice.

    Compat list from the link, apparently also flashable/updateable.
    https://spreadsheets.google.com/spr...6DmpiFU3dEdELVVfZVcxUmM3ck55cWtwZ0p1SWc&gid=0
    I wonder if we will be able to tweak it easily. I shall also await results of multi input testing but it looks like they might know what they are doing.

    I would also be up for finding out where they are getting their controller ports from. I have long considered putting things together to do a run of male and female ports but it looks like there might even be a source out there.

    What might also be cool is if they brought back the gameport. I still have a few joysticks sitting around.
     
  3. Vappy

    Vappy GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Had a friend who bought one of the slightly rougher models of bliss box a few years ago, definitely a solid product. I was fully in support of the kickstarter until I saw the goal, I don't see such a niche product getting ththat much in just over a month. I'll be backing it regardless, and I hope I'm wrong.
     
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  4. jurai

    jurai GBAtemp Fan

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    I dont really care for the whole 'its a usb hub, plugin an extra adapter cable and then plug that into the hub' aspect, wish it just supported regular connections, since price to get enough dongles for all your stuff is kinda high
     
  5. spinal_cord

    spinal_cord Knows his stuff

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    So would be the price of adding 4 different adapters for every possible controller, plus you would then be limited to which controllers you could use. The end user will only need to by converters for the controllers they want to use. So if you want to use a snes, nes, master system and n64 controller, sure you could have one of each port on the device, but what about when you want to use 2 snes and 2 n64? or 3 n64 and 1 ps2 etc. A cable with a connecter on each end costs way less than a full converter for each controller.
     
  6. reprep

    reprep GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Does this support Wii/vWii/Nintendont?
     
  7. migles

    migles Mei the sexiest bae

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    i don't like the design... it is cool that you can plug almost every controller on it but the design is like a chinese product you find on your local chonese store...
    you have a controller that usually got is own wire that plugs in a wire plugged to a ball thing that is using another wire to plug to the computer..

    the strong point is that you can plug 4 controlers as you like on this hub and the drivers are common on operating systems (the drive free ad is not accurate because it still rellies on a driver which may not be included with every single OS, but its still cool)

    i would like if it was just a usb cable with a very smart way to connect the most variety of controllers in, something like a multi card reader you find on laptops which is 1 hole and you can plug a sd card a memory stick and sometimes a XD card on it.... (not i am not saying a all in one cable solution since its probably impossible to do with so many diferent ports)
     
  8. garbanzox
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    garbanzox GBAtemp Regular

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    I can't imagine the design working any other way. You can't integrate all the different plug types into a box and still maintain the flexibility that this system has. The dongles keep the whole thing small and portable, and all it does is add a few inches to your controller cords. With a Complete Set, you're getting 41 ports for 17 different controller connection types, which is down to about $5.60 per system. And that's for something that already has better compatibility than the Mayflash and other adapters on the market today.

    What's not to love?
     
  9. ulao

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    Hey guys going to answer what I can for you.

    I shall also await results of multi input testing but it looks like they might know what they are doing.
    Beta testing is in progress and the multi player is working.

    I would also be up for finding out where they are getting their controller ports from
    It was done by the manufacture. They are currently not for sale because of the high cost requirement but once the funding is done you should be able to buy them. All ports have been custom fabricated by the production team. So no more issue finding ports on the net, Bliss-box will allow you to buy them directly :)

    What might also be cool is if they brought back the gameport.
    This was looked in to but do to the GP design it was kick back. It is possible to make a new cable that would allow this in the future, so its not a complete loss.

    I don't see such a niche product getting ththat much in just over a month.
    See the FAQ section on the KS, its not over till the fat lady sings.

    New I dont really care for the whole 'its a usb hub
    Completely understand that one, but this is not the open doors to the product line up its just a fund raiser. many more products to come once the company is funded, the single-play will be next, much more to your liking.

    i would like if it was just a usb cable with a very smart way to connect the most variety of controllers in,
    Thus far there were two achievable ways to do this. One the old Bliss-box with the ports mounted on a box (bit ugly) or two a dongle attempt 4-play. Can't see any other way out side of wireless. Or as garbanzox said ;)
     
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  10. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    For multi input I was thinking more the multiple buttons at once thing -- some of the lesser adapters seem to have issues here. Multiplayer is nice though, and probably answers the other question too.

    I await sale of the connectors as well, extension cables to cannibalise are getting hard to come by in a lot of cases and the other options seem to usually amount to things like https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9281
     
  11. Vappy

    Vappy GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Thanks for answering questions we had. I actually hadn't seen the FAQ when I last checked, but glad to see you've got contingency plans, though I'd still love to see you hit your current goal.
     
  12. Special-T

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    4-Play Review
    Background Information
    I just wanted to provide a little background information about why I'm doing this review. I originally purchased four Bliss-Boxes several years ago at $100 a piece to allow my wife and I as well as our children play games together. These were the first four Bliss-Boxes that were ever made which is why they look a little rough around the edges. I recently found out about the Kickstarter campaign and contacted the developer to ask if I could demo the hand built proto-type he showed off in his video. He accepted my request and sent me the prototype to test out and post a review about. So, I hope you enjoy the review.

    What is a Bliss-Box and 4-Play?
    Bliss-Box was the original PC to USB Adapter that was made to connect a variety of video game controllers to your computer. These were boxes custom built to order and made by hand in a garage. He even had to mold plastic sometimes if a suitable connector wasn’t readily available. Here is an example of one of the original Bliss-Boxes I bought several years ago. The only limitation was you had to buy 1 Bliss-Box per controller being used, so if you were playing a 4 player N64 game, you would be required to have 4 Bliss-Boxes. The image below is one of the Bliss-Boxes I bought several years ago. It’s a little rough around the edges but it gets the job done.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The 4-Play is commercialized version of the Bliss-Box with the added bonus of being able to connect and use 4 controllers at once. This is basically like having 4 Bliss-Boxes in one small adapter.The smaller compact size was accomplished by using HMDI input (controller connects to the 4-play via an HDMI cable) instead of having an adapter for each controller mounted on the box. It’s a much smarter design. Please note the image below is of the proto-type (case & circuit board) that I’m doing this review on. This product is still subject to change in color and design.

    [​IMG]
    Here is a closer look at the circuit board​
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    For being a proto-type, everything appears to be very professionally done and manufactured with quality products. I saw a few comments on some of the forums advising that the 4-Play looks cheap and appears to be made in china. After holding and testing the 4-Play, I have to disagree. It feels like a solid product. It’s not too heavy but it feels sturdy to the point where if I happened to drop it on my tile floor, I don’t think it would break.

    What kind of controller ports does the 4-Play support?
    [​IMG]

    • PC-FX
    • SNES
    • Wii Remote Expansion Port (Nunchuck, Classic Controller, etc.)
    • NES

    [​IMG]

    • Game Cube
    • Saturn
    • Nintendo 64
    • Turbo grafix 16

    [​IMG]

    • Dream cast
    • PC engine (6 button turbo gafix 16)
    • Pippin
    • PlayStation (1 and 2)

    [​IMG]

    • Vectrex
    • DB9 (Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Atari 2600, etc.)
    • Jaguar
    • DH15 (Atari 5200, Neo Geo, etc.)

    Please note that the Virtual Boy port is also supported by the 4-Play, however I did not receive that cable so I was unable to show a picture of it.

    The cables and connectors are very solid and indistinguishable from those found on the actual consoles. If you are a completest and require 4 or each type of controller you are looking at 68 total cables (4 players x 17 cables). If you are concerned how much space this will take up in your home, then I have some good news for you. All 68 cables and 4-Play adapter can easily fit in a small shoe box.

    [​IMG]

    How well does this device work on the computer and was it easy to use?
    I was very impressed with how easy the product was to use. You literally just plug your controller into HDMI cable adapter which plugs into the 4-Play, then plug the 4-Play into a USB port on your computer and that’s it. You have afully functional game pad. You will still need to set the input selections in an emulator just like you would with any other gamepad. See the below example of how to do this.

    • In Kega Fusion, select “Options” then “Set Config”
    • Navigate to the “Controllers” tab and change port 1 from “Keyboard” to “Bliss-Box”
    • Click the “Define” button to input the controls (↑↓←→ A B C X Y Z Mode & Start)
    • Click on the “Apply” & “OK” buttons

    That’s it, you are good to go! Each emulator has its own method of selecting inputs so the set up will be slightly different based on the emulator you are using.

    Please see the video below for a demonstration of me using the 4-Play with an emulator. In the video, you will see me showing off the auto-pausing functionality, hot swapping controllers, as well as verifying the updater and that fact that it supports multi-player without any special requirements. I apologize about the quality of the video, this was the first review I’ve ever done. I realize the TV is hard to see, but you can still see the characters moving on screen when I’m using the controllers.



    What controllers did you test?
    After the video was done, I tested out all the controllers listed below just to see how well it handled different official and third party controllers. I was impressed because they all worked perfectly. I didn’t have issues with any of the controllers seen in the image below.

    [​IMG]

    • NES
    • Super Nintendo (Official & third party version)
    • Nintendo 64
    • GameCube (Original and Wavebrid version)
    • PlayStation 2 (Original and Street Fighter version)
    • Sega Genesis (Official 3 button, Official 6 button, 3 other third party versions)
    • Sega Saturn
    • Sega Dreamcast (Official US, Official PAL, & third party version)
    • Neo Geo
    • PC-FX
    • Also pictured are the original 4 original Bliss-Boxes that I purchased, just so you can see how much the product has evolved

    Pros:
    • Very small compact size compared to the original
    • Allows 4 controllers to be connected at once
    • It’s ready to use right out of the box, no special software required with the exception of firmware updates
    • Auto-pause if controller is disconnected
    • Hot swapping capabilities
    • Easily upgradable via firmware update
    • Future proof /expandable (all that is required is a new cable and a firmware update)
    • Each port is independently upgradable so they can run different firmware’s if needed
    • Price - at $125 for the full package and all the cables this is a steal compared to the $400 it would cost to buy 4 Bliss-Boxes
    • Supports complex features like
    -- PS2's pressure sensitive buttons
    -- Force Feedback
    -- Communication with Dreamcast LCD screen (currently, no emulators support this… yet)

    Cons:
    The 4-play has a reset button that is next to the HDMI port. The reset button is hard to find because it’s very well hidden. I had to contact the 4-Play developer to find out where it was located. It’s only used to reset the device if you’re controller isn’t recognized or if you are upgrading the firmware. Once you locate it, it becomes a non-issue. I spoke with the developer about this and they advise it will be more clearly labeled on the final product.

    In order for this product to be manufactured / mass produced, the Kickstater campaign has to reach $150,000. If you are reading this review I making the assumption you have or are looking for a USB adapter. If that’s the case, then I strongly recommend this over other products based on its versatility, price, usability (no software), and quality. If you have any questions or need any clarifications about anything in this review, please let me know.

    Links:
    Kickstarter
    Bliss-Box / 4-Play Homepage
    High Resolution images from this post can be downloaded here
    Controller Compatibility List
    Button Layout / Configuration

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. garbanzox
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    Great review, thanks very much! Now I'm more excited than ever to watch this project evolve.
     
  14. Coto

    Coto GBAtemp Addict

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    cool!. any ideas if external plug hardware IO can be accessed? (through open source drivers).

    For example using a transfer pak on the n64 controller , if SRAM or other parts of an original gb/c cart are mapped. (as the transfer pak has a Z80 CPU built-in)
     
  15. CuriousTommy

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    Could the Developer API make it possible to do gba-link with an emulator like dolphin as long as the emulator provides support?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    Seems like it.
     
  16. migles

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    now that i see it better, it looks pretty cool

    i have a few questions

    does it support original xbox controllers?

    are the hdmi ports durable? are they easily detached (it would be great if they couldn't be detached easily or getting loose)

    how about the input delay and lots of keypresses from multiple controllers?

    does it support extra adapters like the ps2 multitap? or nes 4 players adapter?

    is xinput simulation\emulation possible on this device without using computer software? it would be so great if i could connect a ps2 controller and the computer would see it as xbox controller so i can play PC games without bothering change keys and set it up...
     
  17. garbanzox
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    I think that's really the whole idea of this device, and it's what makes this thing so awesome. All controllers are mapped similarly via the hardware, so it doesn't matter which controller you plug in, it they all work similarly. Up is up, left shoulder is left shoulder, etc. The developer even says you can swap controllers mid-game and keep on rolling.
     
  18. Tom Bombadildo

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    I forgot
    Right, but it doesn't mention whether it uses the Xinput API or DirectInput, which is sort of important as a lot of games these days don't map DirectInput correctly (as they only use the XInput API). If it's DirectInput, then you'll need to use other software to emulate Xinput so the controllers will be mapped correctly.
     
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  19. migles

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    tom's said what i mean... i am sure this thing is direct input, since its drivers free and works with any OS...

    about map the controls, that means button A or 1 or X in the controller will be button 1 on the computer... so if you change controller, button 1 will still be button 1
     
  20. ulao

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    OMG guys... Ok I'll try to answer what I can. If I miss your questions just let me know.
    Some of this may be answered in the interview here http://www.videogameperfection.com/2014/12/02/ultimate-joypad-adapter/
    The question about lag is in there.

    API working with controllers. The bottom line is that this adapter will use a drive free method in communicating with the controllers. So yes anything is possible but the trip time will not be fast. The method used is hijacking the force feedback. So we are limited to a certain amount of requests at one time. but the amount of info sent can will be enough to write data to LCDs and Cards. The returned data will be limitless but during this time you can't read the controller. If you guys have specific needs I'd suggest contacting and discussing it. http://bliss-box.net/Bliss-Box/contact.html as this is still a W.I.P with grate results so far.
    [​IMG]


    does it support original xbox controllers? the Original Xbox controllers are usb, so putting a USB host in a chip would leave no space left to do what the BB already does. Further investigation can be done on a pass-over device that does not require XBCD but at this time no, no XBox support.

    are the hdmi ports durable? are they easily detached (it would be great if they couldn't be detached easily or getting loose) I'll let MR T answer that, but I will tell you they are perfect!

    how about the input delay and lots of keypresses from multiple controllers? Multiple key presses would not effect that in this design. See the lag info on that link above.

    does it support extra adapters like the ps2 multitap? or nes 4 players adapter? Well being this is a 4 player adapter, no that was not implemented. The Single-play may do that.

    is xinput simulation\emulation possible on this device without using computer software? it would be so great if i could connect a ps2 controller and the computer would see it as xbox controller so i can play PC games without bothering change keys and set it up... This box uses HID based fixed drivers. It can not control such things. The OS decides the API not the box. For linux its xinput and can be mapped to any input because linux is cool like that. Windows uses Dinput. I think the MAC OS's use xinput as well not sure but it works with open emu.