[Coco] Re: What it is, and Hi-Res Interface Musings - was RE: What's this?
keeper63 at cox.net
Sun Aug 27 19:00:07 EDT 2006
Thought I would post my own reply on this...
Like everyone else said, it is a high-resolution joystick interface
adaptor, which plugs into the cassette and joystick port, then a single
joystick plugs into the other end, etc (like everyone else said).
There was a small review of it in the October 1987 issue of the Rainbow
(page 130) - it originally sold for $9.95. In the February 1988 issue of
the Rainbow, there is an article by Duane M. Perkins called "Programming
for the Hi-Res Joystick Interface" (page 122), which presents both the
machine language code and a BASIC program which POKEs it in and uses it
in a simple manner.
I don't know if these devices are rare or not - probably about equal
with other CoCo equipment, maybe a little more rare as there wasn't much
Radio Shack software that took advantage of it. Most software that did
was made by third parties (such as CoCo Max III). Interestingly, there
are also other Hi-Res interface adaptors, which came out after the Tandy
One of them was "made" and sold by HAWKSoft. I put "made" in quotes
because I have it here in front of me, and one side of the case has
"TANDY" on it, and on the other side is a printed label for HAWKSoft,
reading "HAWKSoft Dual Hi-Res Joystick Adapter" - underneath the label,
the original Radio Shack label is visible.
On one end is the two cables to plug into the joystick and cassette
ports. On the other end is the port to plug in the joystick or mouse
(indeed, using one of these with the dual-button mouse is a dream). Here
is where it gets interesting, and is likely why it is "rebadged" by
HAWKSoft: On one side of the adaptor is a 4-pin DIN plug - I don't have
my manual to this adaptor handy, so I don't know what this is for. On
the side where the cables are, are three switchs. One, in the middle of
the case (between the cables) is a simple slide switch - this may be a
standard switch (ie, found on the RS adaptor as well), or it may have
been added. The other two switches are round lever toggles, which do not
appear on the standard RS adaptor. If I remember correctly, the toggles
are for using it with different programs, and the slide switch is for
bypassing the interface. Ultimately, it looks like this adaptor is a
modified version of the standard Tandy interface.
I just rummaged thru my boxes of stuff, seeing if I could find the
manual, and all I could come up with was some hand written notes I had
made myself. I tend to wonder if it came with a manual at all. I have
never thrown away any of my CoCo stuff, and I found many other manuals
from the same time period (15-20 years ago), like my CM-8 manual and
many others. Anyhow, I figure that if there was a manual, why would I
have hand written notes? Anyhow, my scrawled notes read that if you have
both toggle up, it is for "ColorWare (CoCo Max)", both down is Low-Res.
If the "left" one is up and the "right" one is down (looking toward the
switches, TANDY logo UP and HAWKSoft label down), then that is the
"Tandy" mode. No idea what the opposite is for (if anything). Also, the
port on the side is a passthru port for the cassette interface, and the
slide switch is an enable/disable for the adaptor - on is to the right,
so when the switch is in this position, the adaptor is usable, otherwise
the cassette interface is used.
Something I wonder about is whether the other position might be for
Diecom's Rat Graphic Design package? I know that package used its own
custom mouse and/or dongle as a copy protection measure - does anybody
have this package? Does anybody know if this package is available for
download somewhere (since Dave Dies let us know all of Diecom's stuff is
PD, a download should be legal)?
Also, some other things I was pondering on about the joysticks and
high-res interfaces for the CoCo: Number one, does anybody know if it is
possible to hook up a standard two-button serial mouse to the bit-banger
serial port or RS-232 pak? In theory, the RS-232 pak should almost be a
"no-brainer", since it is a standard RS-232 port - you would just need
to program a driver to read the port and interpret the results - but
what about the bit-banger port? Has anybody done this?
Secondly, has anybody ever tried to "increase" the resolution of the
standard joystick port in software? What I mean by this is by using
"dynamic scaling", similar to mouse acceleration used by PCs (I think).
Basically, you read the values from the joystick port (0-63 on both
axes), and you compare "this value" with the "next value", and adjust
the scalar value to multiply by based on the difference. Thus, if you
move the mouse quickly while reading the port, the differences in
successive reads will be large, so you multiply by a larger value (up to
15), if the differences are small, you multiply by small amounts (down
to 1). Maybe you could also use the differences just to note and tell
"where/which way" the joystick is being moved, and adjust in that manner
(some form of predictive read-ahead positioning algo?), also taking into
account the differences and multiplying properly as above.
Another idea I was thinking about was the possibility of hooking up a
standard PC or Nintendo game-pad (albeit with a ton of hacking on the
internals) to the CoCo. Even a simple Atari joystick could be fun.
Another idea would be to somehow build an interface adaptor for a
standard serial mouse to the joystick interface...
-- Andrew L. Ayers
Glendale (Phoenix), Arizona
More information about the Coco