usb directional controller


    Feb 16 2006 | 2:14 am
    Howdy -- I am curious as to whether any of you more experienced types are aware of a USB controller that has directional (up-down-left-right) keys (or could be used in such fashion) and a clickable button.
    I am setting up an installation for which i don't want the user to really access anything else -- or be confused as to what to do -- so setting up with a keyboard is out of the question. Four button trackballs (or trackballs of any kind) won't work either, as I'm worried someone will make off with the ball.
    I've given thought to using a USB numerical keypad, modding it with backlight and changing out keys to straight up arrows and blanks instead of numbers, coupled with a regular mouse, but it would be really nice to just have a single interface for the user (instead of two). There are some reasonable VoIP devices that look sort of like what I'm looking for, but I'm worried the phone-oriented icons on the controller will confuse any users.
    Bring on the recommendations. Thanks in advance!
    Cheers, Jim

    • Feb 16 2006 | 2:44 am
      Well if you don't mind taking something to bits and making an enclosure for it a cheap usb playstation joypad type controller might do.
      best,
      john.
    • Feb 16 2006 | 2:44 am
      try looking at a Human Interface Device (HID) which uses the HI object.
      this usually means game controllers, which really open up the possibilities to find what you want, and probably for relatively cheap.
      I know that some old 8 bit Nintendo style controllers remade for USB (up down left right a,b start select style) work with the HI object in Max. Perhaps thats a starting point?
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    • Feb 16 2006 | 3:21 am
      Completely forgot about the NES style. Might work really well! Thanks for the suggestion...
    • Feb 16 2006 | 9:36 am
    • Feb 16 2006 | 6:14 pm
      modding NES controllers to USB: http://www.retrousb.com/nintendo.html
      good ol', rugged, chuck 'em at the wall a thousand times NES controllers. :) perfect for rough treatment in an installation.
      dan
    • Feb 16 2006 | 10:16 pm
      Nice. Anyone have experience with alternate skins for the NES gamepads? I think I'd rather stay away from the classic look out of 1) reverence for the past and my youth 2) avoidance of confusion with NES application 3) desire to maintain a look of my own for the installation
      This is a great suggestion, though, and I will probably go for it. J.
    • Feb 18 2006 | 4:57 pm
      Nope, not familiar with re-skinning them. IMHO, unless you completely change the form factor, i.e., make a new enclosure and buttons, no amount of paint will change the instant impression of holding a familiar game controller in your hand. :-/ It all depends on what you're going for.