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Steering Games Input Control Database

Posted By: Curt

Steering Games Input Control Database - 01/30/20 08:01 PM

Hello, I am new here and have some questions I could not find in the search or other web searches (other than dead links). Is there a database of controls needed to play each game in MAME? How do I know which control (Dial, Paddle, etc) the game is expecting to be controlled by? I know there is a config menu and I know I can just add my control input for Paddle and again for Dial and one of them will work, but which choice is the one needed?

Specifically, I am looking for driving type games that use a steering wheel, yoke or handlebars that utilize pots, optical devices and switches. I also need info about whether the steering wheel is RTC (Return To Center using spring or motor) and has 270 degrees of operation or it spins 360+ degrees without limitation and probably uses an optical encoder instead of a pot.

I am about to compile my own database of driving/steering games and I want to check here first. If there is nothing available now I will share my findings at a later date. I will include data like Manufacturer, Date, Type Control, RTC-Y/N, Brake, Clutch, Gas, Shift, etc. If you can think of additional data that should be included with this database please let me know.

Thanks for your input!
Posted By: R. Belmont

Re: Steering Games Input Control Database - 01/30/20 08:34 PM

I don't know of such a database, but that doesn't mean one doesn't exist.
Posted By: Stiletto

Re: Steering Games Input Control Database - 01/31/20 02:18 AM

Between MAME's XML output and the frontend helper files maintained by folks like AntoPISA at http://www.progettosnaps.net, a driving/steering-specific database should be easily generated. Even Vas Crabb's "minimaws" (included with MAME) could probably generate something satisfactory.

As for "live on the 'Net right now", Curt, you may be interested in Arcade Database: http://adb.arcadeitalia.net/lista_mame.php?lang=en which has a search engine with fairly advanced filters. I'm not sure that the filters have enough details on the inputs to filter how you want, but the XML will have some.

As an example, see their entry on 280-ZZZAP (Dave Nutting Associates / Midway, 1976): http://adb.arcadeitalia.net/dettaglio_mame.php?game_name=280zzzap
From MAME's XML, it displays:
Players: Only one supported (solo)
❨1❩ Paddle, range 1-254 Δ 10, sensitivity 100, reversed directions
❨2❩ Pedal, range 0-15 Δ 64, sensitivity 100, 1 pedal
Buttons / keys: 1
Coins: 1

However, not all that information is present to be used as a filter in the search filters. But you can display (for example) all games with Pedal(s) AND Paddle(s), etc.

If you want, you can possibly contact ADB's admin, motoschifo, with feature requests to add the functionality you need. If he believes multiple people may also want those features, he'll add support quickly.

In the event that MAME's XML and sourcecode is lacking information you need though, you'll need to roll your own database. I did just that a long time ago and attempted to list all arcade games that had Force-Feedback-like effects. That was, like, 2002 and not only does MAME increasingly list those (see Outputs) but also it's possible to hook that up to external controls when you have the required technology (see projects like Howard Castro's MAMEHooker)!

Databases to keep an eye on: Spludlow MAME, which is a test of this one guy's web database software. It's new (ish) and he seems to keep adding new features every month: https://mame.spludlow.co.uk/Default.aspx

Basically all other online "MAME database" websites are old and outdated.
Posted By: Curt

Re: Steering Games Input Control Database - 01/31/20 05:11 PM

Originally Posted by Stiletto

As for "live on the 'Net right now", Curt, you may be interested in Arcade Database: http://adb.arcadeitalia.net/lista_mame.php?lang=en which has a search engine with fairly advanced filters.

Thank you, this site has valuable info I need. I will still need to know placement of buttons on the console in relation to the steering wheel or on the handlebars and some other details about how the control operates. I can find this for games where the service manual is available. My goal being to determine a functional configuration for buttons, steering, and gear shift that will be similar or accommodating to as many games as possible.
Posted By: AJR

Re: Steering Games Input Control Database - 01/31/20 10:55 PM

Some racing games support multiple control types, with DIP switches or nonvolatile settings to select between them.
Posted By: Haze

Re: Steering Games Input Control Database - 01/31/20 11:09 PM

Related to this topic. I'm pretty sure the Wheels Runner set we have is meant to be for a paddle / pot style steering wheel, not a dial.

There's a guy insisting he played a version with a dial back in the day, and says that the way the game handles in MAME is completely wrong, but it seems to be that it's wrong because MAME is trying to treat a game that should be paddle style as a dial, and you end up with a slight 'snap back' in the opposite direction after turns because the game code dislikes you going from a 'steering' to 'central' position with nothing inbetween. With a pot style wheel you'd move it back to the center, registering positions between.

The code to try and map what seems to be a simple +/- ad stick style input to a dial also seems out of place to me.

The manual (which indicates the game was a location test) does say it's a dial game, but I have a feeling if there's a dial version it isn't dumped. Furthermore the dipswitch for wheel sensitivity doesn't seem to do anything in MAME, which again to me makes me wonder if that was intended for a different, undumped version.

Obviously changing it to a paddle style wheel won't help the guy who insists he played a dial version where you could rotate 180 degrees in a frame just by spinning it quickly, but IMHO treating the inputs in the set we have as a dial is causing more problems than it solves, and we should maybe be looking for a different set instead. If the game was being tried out in different types of cabinets this maybe isn't too surprising.

Analog controls really aren't my area of expertise, so it would be good if somebody could look into this as it's basically unplayable now once you start moving at any speed as you're fighting the controls.

Posted By: Curt

Re: Steering Games Input Control Database - 02/05/20 10:49 PM

I also found this spreadsheet which has some good info to get started for anyone:

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