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WASD Keyboard Ordered - Now Three Questions

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cannot wait for X16 to become available, and after long consideration, I went ahead and ordered my WASD keyboard. Please come soon...

Now the questions:

  1. Will there be an option to order the X16 hardware without a keyboard for those of us who already have the WASD keyboard?
  2. I don't have any SNES controllers (having never owned an SNES - I had an Intellivision and now have an XB1 🤣) - what is the recommended SNES controller to buy these days for the X16? Preferred brand?
  3. More on the hardware side - I know the initial X16 will be offered as a pre-built computer - will that MOBO be filled with socketed ICs, or will they be soldered to the board? Can't help but appreciate all the advantages Adrian Black has touted on socketed ICs and the ability to easily replace parts that need to be.

Bonus question:

  1. Any update on whether the X16 will be able to be bought as a kit? I'm definitely purchasing the first release (take my money now?) but I would love to also buy a kit to build on my own. Or two. Or however many my wife lets me buy. 😆

Thanks all!

Mark

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1. Yes
2. I’ll let others answer
3. Board is intended to be socketed

Bonus:

1. We appreciate your excitement! Please remember the rules and don’t ask for updates as it puts unfair pressure on David and the team. It also starts another round of speculative replies about dates which the devs have had all too many times. It’s all answered in the FAQ just one click away. 

Perifractic, X16 Visual Designer
http://youtube.com/perifractic

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Thanks Christian! I appreciate the feedback. I didn't mean to break the rules with the bonus question. Suffice it to say the possibility is intriguing! 🙂

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X16 Team,

Just to put a wrap on this one, my keyboard from WASD arrived today and all I can say is thank you for picking such a great keyboard company! I love this keyboard - exactly what I was looking for and well worth the investment. If anyone's on the fence about buying the deluxe keyboard, I wholeheartedly recommend it!

 

Mark

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It is an impressive keyboard.

More than the sum of its parts or intended function.

What switches did you choose?

I sometimes think “if I hadn’t bought this keyboard then I could have bought this other thing…”.

Then immediately think “But then I wouldn’t have this awesome keyboard!!!”.

Worth every penny.

Enjoy your new keyboard, toy, tool...

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1 hour ago, Fenner Machine said:

It is an impressive keyboard.

More than the sum of its parts or intended function.

What switches did you choose?

I sometimes think “if I hadn’t bought this keyboard then I could have bought this other thing…”.

Then immediately think “But then I wouldn’t have this awesome keyboard!!!”.

Worth every penny.

Enjoy your new keyboard, toy, tool...

I went with the silent red linear keys with the .2mm travel reduction. I'm always down for a quiet keyboard, since my wife and I are usually in the same room most of the time, and between the quiet keys and the heft of this keyboard, it's considerably more quiet than others I've had. The keyboard not bouncing around on the desk alone is a major help there.

Already enjoying it - I immediately replaced my normal pc keyboard. This thing rocks!

Thanks!

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X16 Team,
Just to put a wrap on this one, my keyboard from WASD arrived today and all I can say is thank you for picking such a great keyboard company! I love this keyboard - exactly what I was looking for and well worth the investment. If anyone's on the fence about buying the deluxe keyboard, I wholeheartedly recommend it!
 
Mark

We’re really glad you’re happy with it!


Perifractic, X16 Visual Designer
http://youtube.com/perifractic
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10 hours ago, Martin Schmalenbach said:
Congrats on your new keyboard!
Does it play nicely with the emulator at all?
And where did you order it from? I'm struggling to find the order details.
Cheers
Martin


It is designed to be compatible with the emulator.

http://commanderx16.com/deluxekeyboard 


Perifractic, X16 Visual Designer
http://youtube.com/perifractic

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20 hours ago, Martin Schmalenbach said:

Congrats on your new keyboard!

Does it play nicely with the emulator at all?

And where did you order it from? I'm struggling to find the order details.

Cheers

Martin

Commander X16 Deluxe Keyboard by 8-Bit Productions LLC and Chloe Corporation 87-Key V3 Mechanical Keyboard - WASD Keyboards

I haven't tried the emulator myself - I was so happy with this I just replaced my normal PC keyboard with this one! I'll probably order another one from WASD for my main PC keyboard once the X16 ships. As Perifractic says though, I'm sure it works pretty darn well with the emulator!

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On 4/26/2021 at 1:31 AM, Martin Schmalenbach said:

Does it play nicely with the emulator at all?

I love my WASD Commander X16 keyboard.  It works perfectly fine with the emulator -- and I use it as my primary keyboard as well.

I got clear switches, so it's a little noisy, but these mechanical switches feel so much better than the Topre keys on my Happy Hacker 2.

 

 

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I have never had an SNES either, and did some considerable digging looking for some kind of controller that wasn't just a very close copy of the original SNES gamepad layout (because, personally, I hate that layout).  I have no personal experience with the following, so I can't give any kind of recommendation or anything, but I'll probably try to get something like this:

https://smile.amazon.com/Ultimate-Arcade-Fighting-Stick-Nintendo-Super/dp/B00005O4G5/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&keywords=ultimate&qid=1619536103&s=videogames&sr=1-15

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2 hours ago, DigitalMonk said:

Just curious...  Are the PETSCII graphics icons on the tops of the keycaps or the fronts of the keycaps?

Hi - they're on the top, which frankly I like better. Not the same as the original C64 but with my 50 year old eyes, they're easier to read. 🙂

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2 hours ago, DigitalMonk said:

I have never had an SNES either, and did some considerable digging looking for some kind of controller that wasn't just a very close copy of the original SNES gamepad layout (because, personally, I hate that layout).  I have no personal experience with the following, so I can't give any kind of recommendation or anything, but I'll probably try to get something like this:

https://smile.amazon.com/Ultimate-Arcade-Fighting-Stick-Nintendo-Super/dp/B00005O4G5/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&keywords=ultimate&qid=1619536103&s=videogames&sr=1-15

Oh that's interesting - never have seen that variation. I'll have to look into that - thanks!

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Someone’s going to make a Bluetooth to SNES controller dongle. Just use that (or make one)

The overall ergonomics of the SNES controller may be outdated but the construction, feel, and responsiveness of the buttons and D-pad themselves are superb.

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One approach to the ergonomics of the relatively flat classic dogbone (though IMV substantially better than the ergonomics of the original NES controller) is similar to improving the ergonomics of the flattish Switch or Switch Lite ... get a grip.

 

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Thank you for the recommendations.  My problem is that I grew up in the era of joysticks, and I can't use a dpad for movement.  I can use it as a menu, but I have significant mental lag for movement.  I know that probably sounds insane for people even one or two years younger than I am...

I've even noticed this on shooters.  If I can configure movement onto a joystick and aim with my mouse, I'm much more dangerous than I am with keyboard/mouse.

I'm not ecstatic about the fighting stick layout either, because I'm noticeably right handed and I find that I generally need more dexterity on movement than for firing or actions.  (This reverses on first person shooters where aiming is such a fine detail process at high speed, but I don't expect frenetic first person action on the X16)

Worse comes to worst, I'll just buy a snes connector and a digital joystick from some other system and wire it up.

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10 hours ago, DigitalMonk said:

Thank you for the recommendations.  My problem is that I grew up in the era of joysticks, and I can't use a dpad for movement.  I can use it as a menu, but I have significant mental lag for movement.  I know that probably sounds insane for people even one or two years younger than I am...

I've even noticed this on shooters.  If I can configure movement onto a joystick and aim with my mouse, I'm much more dangerous than I am with keyboard/mouse.

I'm not ecstatic about the fighting stick layout either, because I'm noticeably right handed and I find that I generally need more dexterity on movement than for firing or actions.  (This reverses on first person shooters where aiming is such a fine detail process at high speed, but I don't expect frenetic first person action on the X16)

Worse comes to worst, I'll just buy a snes connector and a digital joystick from some other system and wire it up.

I agree. DPADs are not my thing, for the same reason - I'm a joystick person. I think the SNES->USB connection or something like that will probably be the way I go.

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Well if you make your own joystick, it should be easy to rig up a 16-bit shift register and connect it to the correct pins on the snes plug. Just make sure the stick and buttons are hooked to the right pins on the latch side and you’re golden.

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2 hours ago, ZeroByte said:

Well if you make your own joystick, it should be easy to rig up a 16-bit shift register and connect it to the correct pins on the snes plug. Just make sure the stick and buttons are hooked to the right pins on the latch side and you’re golden.

This is the cool solution...if only I knew how. So...I have a soldering iron and a will to use it. Beyond that - I have no idea how to make this work. @ZeroByte do you have tips on how to make such a thing?

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Posted (edited)

Watch some Ben Eater videos about shift registers. He uses them in his episodes about PS/2 keyboards and about data transmissions/CRC.

So an 8-bit shift register has 8 “latch” pins that hold a byte. For an NES ctrlr you would hook the d-pad to the 4 low bits and the buttons to the high 4 bits.

Then there’s a carry in pin and a latch pin and a clock pin. Whenever the latch pin is active, the chip reads the 8 data pins and when it goes inactive, whatever the states of those pins is gets snapshotted.

Whenever the clock pin cycles, it does a ROL - shifting the bits up one place, and moving whatever state the shift-in pin has onto bit 0. The previous bit7 is moved onto the shift-out pin. That pin is the “data” pin on the controller cable.

So pulse the clock 7 more times and the data pin will show each of the remaining bits.

The (S)NES controller ties all the latch pins and the shift-in pin to high and the buttons will connect them to ground, which is why 0 = pressed and 1 = not pressed.

get a breadboard and a shift register and some LEDs. Hook it up on a breadboard and play around with it until your aha moment happens.

p.s. - for building a controller you will want a parallel in serial out style shift register.

Edited by ZeroByte
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On 4/29/2021 at 9:43 AM, ZeroByte said:

Well if you make your own joystick, it should be easy to rig up a 16-bit shift register and connect it to the correct pins on the snes plug. Just make sure the stick and buttons are hooked to the right pins on the latch side and you’re golden.

Getting this into an SNES/Atari joystick adapter is the number one thing I intend to look into getting made in Shenzhen, if I can do it before I leave China. For an Atari / Sega-2button, you could use an 8bit shift register, like the original NES.

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