12 June 2008

Server and More X-Arcade

Update: BossBattle.net moved to a new server

Hopefully all has gone well, and the change should have no visible effect for readers. However, if weirdness should occur, blame the server change.

The X-Arcade is working out well. Haven't had a chance to play quite as much as I'd have liked (more out of my own laziness and inability to choose what I'd actually want to play than anything else), but the experiences have been pretty positive thus far. Except that connecting via USB seems to screw up my MacBook. CPU usage jumps through the roof, and it doesn't even stop when the X-Arcade is unplugged. I don't know what's going on there, it should be recognized as a regular keyboard. Works fine with my PlayStations, though, and I've got a PlayStation to USB adapter, so that way I'm able to use it with my Mac as well without much trouble.

EDIT: I found a workaround for the Mac issue. Seems it's an incompatibility problem that Mac OS X has with some USB devices. Removing a certain (unnecessary, as far as I can tell) mouse plugin seems to have fixed the issue. When in doubt, Google! Should have done that right at the start...

There also seems to be an issue with certain individual pieces of software, including DosBox and Emilia Pinball, that pretty much freezes the system if the controller is plugged in whilst starting the software. I think the problem is caused by the SDL library, but I can't be entirely sure about that. Anyway, this software too appears to work fine if the controller is plugged in when it's already running.

I'm already toying with the idea of replacing the buttons. Not that there's anything wrong with the standard Xgaming buttons (except one is a little bit stiffer than the others, but it's such a minor annoyance I'm in no hurry to do anything about it). However, there's always room for improvement. But that certainly wouldn't be happening in the very near future. It'd cost some, and I'm not particularly experienced with electronics either, so I'm a little nervous at the prospect. There shouldn't be any soldering or anything involved, but a lot of little fiddly bits to attach in the right places...

The probable choice would be the Happ Competition Pushbuttons. These have convex buttons, as opposed to the standard concave ones, which are supposed to have "greater accuracy and speed". This kind of design also seems to be more popular in Japan, and when it comes to video games, the Japanese are the ones to trust. Of course I'd love Japanese buttons, like Sanwa buttons to go with my Sanwa joysticks, but they seem to come in millimetre sizes, while Western buttons come in inch sizes, so I suspect they won't fit the X-Arcade. (If I ever were to build my own arcade controls, Sanwa would probably be pretty high on the list.)

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