Sunday, April 27, 2014

CannonBoard Latest Hardware Design

Colin is continuing to make great progress designing the CannonBoard hardware. Below you can see the latest iteration. You'll note that the Arduino is no-more, and a CPU fully integrated with the design. So to use CannonBall in a cabinet, you'll need a PC, the CannonBoard interface, and a VGA to CGA card / Ultimarc Arcade VGA or video card with soft 15khz.

It's possible that I'll port CannonBall to something like an ODroid so that you don't even need a bulky PC but that will come later.

I've been implementing some diagnostics options in CannonBall that will make it easier to work with a real cabinet. Not particularly exciting, but certainly useful. 

The outputs, including the start lamp and brake light should also now be hooked up.


Kungfu Steve said...

Nice Progress.

I had tried one of those converters (not the one you linked) with Windows and an arcade monitors... The picture was dim / dark.

Turns out that another converter was also the same... and they sold amp boards to compensate for the lack of signal strength that comes out of the VGA / Converters.

Rather than have to go through all that.. maybe your board can have an amped signal to begin with.. and or signal amp adjustments.

Including a true monitor out on the cannon board would be a better option altogether.. as that eliminates the need for a specialty card that may or not be in existence... and of unknown output quality.

Also, please consider adding an option for modifications.. such as a vertical motor output - to simulate hills. That would really make an Outrun sitdown amazing.. to have the seat / game tilt back and forth.

Additionally, a system to tweak the values to custom motor setups. (different travel distances)

As we as the capability to put a shaker wheel on a moving cockpit cabinet... and have them both to function at the same time.

If the board is capable enough, and can utilize hook ups for 4 to 6 way shifters (analog x+y as for Race Drivin sitdown.. and digital like in Daytona USA) as well as various pedal set modes.. you could sell this as an emulation driving solution.

Its something sorely missing from the typical vendors. Things like the ability to drive real car gauges, arcade force feedback steering wheel control, analog x,y shifter, pressure sensitive brakes, analog pedals, clutch with ffb lock option, surround sound output, stereoscopic 3d, and various lighting outputs. Some custom inputs for view changes & menus, and multi axis moving cabinet support.

That makes me have to ask... Do you think you could make a Race Drivin track editor? The game is Epic.. but would be even more so, with some stereoscopic output, enhanced graphics?, and new tracks.

Finally, thanks for the info on Outruns CPU traffic. Still, I hope you can figure out some clever way to hack (or recreate) the traffic code. Id love to see a higher traffic density on the original game... as well as use of custom patterns that are released at key moments (such as on a hill or a steep curve).

yt said...

Some of those requests are cool ideas, but probably out of the scope for version 1 of this interface!

We're currently investigating video options for the best results.

Colin mentions:

Best way by far for Graphics Output is the Arcade VGA, possibly with the Video Amplifier !! or Soft 15khz, again possibly with the video amp..... hence why I've added the Monitor power option up in the hardware.... so as to allow the pc to boot up and initialise the gfx before powering the monitor up.....