Tuesday 17th May 2011
Just as I thought it was nearly all over for Sheepoid (Baaaah!), I've had quite a big surprise today. First, when I was coming home from work, I bought two ice creams from the Ice Cream van. One for myself, and one for my brother. I sat down, relaxed enjoying my 99 with flake. Then my brother said to me "I have a done a surprise project for you, Richard.". I originally thought that Phil must have been secretly working on a C64 style game on his lap top for my PC or something similar. Well, How wrong I was. My surprise was much bigger. It's not a game this time, but something which I never expected. - A brand new, and pretty special joystick for my (Take a guess) Commodore 64.
I am guessing that Phil found it really difficult to use the SpectraVideo joystick, which I have had for so many years (and is still working today), while he was playing Sheepoid on Friday last week. He even failed to get past the first level, due to the joystick being pretty awkward. So I showed him how to play the game properly. Well, either last week or this week. He secretly ordered various parts and components, and he built a new arcade style joystick inside the garage, and also used some unused wood and boarding, and he coated it with white paint. It must have took him some time to do this, especially the electronics. The biggest problem would probably have been to find a suitable port for the joystick. So he found one of my old joysticks and wired that up to the new joystick. One problem ... The wire's too long :)
Phil also worked hard on making an additional feature for this special joystick by wiring the direction controls, to move the player according to direction of movement. The red button was wired to act as the usual fire button. Finally the blue button was something special, which joystick manufacturers failed to add for the Commodore 64. Especially for driving simulators and platform games. The blue button was used as an extra UP command. This is so that when playing platform games, the blue button could be used to allow the player to jump. What a clever chap ;o)
To finish off his secret project, Phil decided to test the new joystick on my Commodore 64. He had to fiddle around with loading stuff using the DC2N, while I was away. Then he managed to load up the cute and hilarious Thalamus game, Creatures and he tested the joystick on the game. Worked a treat.
I was impressed with the amazing work and time, which Phil spent on this secret little hobby project. I loaded up Hewson's Uridium and played the game using the new joystick. Hmm, it is something I would need to get used to. Mainly because I am used to having the fire button on the left and the direction stick to the right. Instead the buttons are on the right, and the main controller was on the left. That did not really matter because I played Uridium quite well with this device. Huge thanks Phil.