The Configurable Joystick Project


Some time ago Simon and I were wondering if you could make a game based around a configurable joystick. My vision for this would be of you flying your trusty spaceship through, er,space, while evil aliens shot off parts which caused your controls to break.  You would be having to plug and re-plug the control elements while you were flying the ship and decide whether you needed a fire button or a back control on the joystick as you limped home. 

We thought it might be a fun little project and so we made it the basis of our Global Gamejam entry. I was to 3D print the case and build the electronics and Simon and crew would come up with a game based on it. 

This is not quite how it turned out. 

What happened was that number one son was consigned to soldering hell, while I failed to print boxes that were the right size to fit everything in. And then at the end, we found a fundamental flaw in the circuitry that rendered the controller mostly useless.  Although we did win a prize for the "Most Ambitious Failure". 

But I've stuck with it. Above you can see "prototype one". And tonight I got it fully working for the first time. Each control element holds a resistor network that allows the controller to decide which socket it is plugged into. The 8x8 dot matrix screen is to be used for status displays. I've got it talking to the PC rather handily now, next step is to integrate it into the gameplay, 

Great fun.