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Author Topic: :: From SEGA G-LOC to After Burner *Climax* ...THE conversion! ::  (Read 25733 times)
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Singe's castle

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« on: November 23, 2013, 06:14:47 PM »

Following this road trip...

Since I got this G-LOC DX (2007), never been able to fix the motion on that beast... worst, I can't even see the game started anymore, although testing with a lot of boards, spending time (and money) to investigate...
As I said six months ago : "I'm really out of time... so many projects 'in the pipe''. Not sure If I'll really have time to fix my beloved SEGA G-Loc Deluxe one day..."
...and so as a consequence, I opened a topic to sell my G-LOC  Undecided


A serious study by 'reverse engineering' as started, currently in progress by gc339 on gamoover board, right here. The purpose of this is to figure out why these G-LOC Motor Driver boards [SEGA 400-5117 & 400-5117Y] broke so often, on which components and possibly how to fix it! He is doing an amazing work on it!  Shocked
So a new hope for me and many GLOC owners to see that aircraft fighter moving again in a near future!

Regarding my G-LOC sale, fortunately for me now, no one wasn't 'brave' enough to road trip to my place and take monster!  Grin Seriously, it's a pain to sell such big machine! Potential buyers must have free room enough, but also they to think about the transport..but on a personal note : If you really want something, you can always find a solution...  Roll Eyes I didn't ask me so many questions when I had the opportunity to buy my Galaxian Theater for example! What? Not a good example? OK!  Grin


I've discovered something really interesting on a french topic on gamoover (this one)... the existence of a device ...called Arduino!

Arduino is a single-board microcontroller to make using electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible. The hardware consists of an open-source hardware board designed around an 8-bit Atmel AVR microcontroller, or a 32-bit Atmel ARM. The software consists of a standard programming language compiler and a boot loader that executes on the microcontroller. (wiki).

In its tutorial, lipide512 wrote something verrrrry interesting... that 'Arduino' device can acts like a PS3 joystick!
And I instantly had this idea :

Would it be possible to play the fabulous SEGA AFTER BURNER *CLIMAX* inside this G-LOC cockpit?

But why the hell would you want to play that game in a G-LOC cockpit?

Because that game is awesome, and by its nature, must be played inside an aircraft fighter cockpit such this G-LOC
Because the PS3 port of the game is similar than the arcade version
Because the G-LOC have all the controls needed to play AB Climax : Flight Stick, Throttle with After Burner button, guided missile & gun buttons, start button...
Because I'm tired to see that non working monster in the middle of my game room

And I want to do this challenge under a unique & unbreakable rule : this conversion can't be 'intrusive' for the original purpose of this G-Loc cockpit! Let me explain this with order words :

- not a single wire will be cut!
- not a single hole will be drilled!
- not a single hardware modification will be done!

All I want to do to switch back from AB Climax to G-LOC (when the original hardware will be repaired of course) is : to plug or unplug connectors, and exchange PS3 against the original G-LOC boards... and NOTHING ELSE!!! This cockpit will stay 100% from its original condition! This will just be a matter of swapping connectors!
Ok, enough disclaimers!  Grin

...Back in August 2013...

The idea of this project is nice, but now let's figure out all the aspect of this project :

The controls :

Does the AB Climax game on PS3 can be configured to be played with a joystick, and not only via the standard PS3 game pad?
Does the Arduino will handle all the G-LOC dedicated controls and translate them to the PS3?
Does the Arduino will handle all the axes needed for AB Climax : X,Y & Throttle ?
Does the G-Loc potentiometers will work with the Arduino

...and in a general way :will I be able to program that Arduino to transform it onto a PS3 joystick controller? Because the arduino comes 'empty', with no code!

The video :

Because I WANT a non intrusive conversion, I need to use the current G-LOC RGB 15Khz arcade monitor...Does my PS3 can output the game on that resolution?
Most of modern games use 16/9 ration. Does this AB Climax PS3 version can be played in 4/3 ratio (arcade version can do it)?

The motion :

LOL, of course not 'possible'... because my G-LOC driver board is HS and so cannot drives the motor anymore, but also because the PS3 version doesn't send motion signals... and even it the PS3 would have such signals, that would require a serious engineering work to setup this... so ... no motion for the cockpit!

The sound :

The G-Loc cockpit has 4 independent speakers (front stereo, rear stereo). AB Climax uses 5 channels because outputting Dobly Digital sound.

Let's experiment...

For this first display test, I've setup my PS3 on a 4/3 ratio and I'm using an original PS3 to SCART adapter, connected to a TV.
Unfortunately, when playing AB Climax on that setup, the PS3 adds two little black bars on top & left of the picture.
But fortunately, I can 'vertically' extend the picture on this Sony TV (thanks to the technician hidden setup menu), which gives me this great 4/3 ratio  Kiss  arrow

Oh, and yes... I also have a PC/PS3 joystick connected... and yes! The game can be played with a such joystick! Going now into the controls menu... here's what I'll have to target when programing the Arduino device :

In other words, the Arduino will translate the dedicatedl G-Loc controls into the PS3 following the 'buttons/controls' defined from that screen.

OK, now got the 'heart' of my project :  

An UNO R3 Development Board Microcontroller MEGA328P ATMEGA16U2, a expensive piece of hardware  Roll Eyes ...  arrow $11,80!  Smiley

I got it from this website : http://dx.com/p/uno-r3-development-board-microcontroller-mega328p-atmega16u2-compat-for-arduino-blue-black-215600

Now I need to program the Arduino, and then customize (modify the firmware) it with with the open source UNOJOY code, the famous code who will transform that Arduino into a PS3 controller.

All the UNOJOY information and details, right here : http://code.google.com/p/unojoy/

Because that arduino stuff is not a 'plug & play' stuff, I need to experiment step by step the way to program it. In addition, I also have to handle this UNOJOY code and probably customize it to match my need.
But following the basic steps well described by lipide512 on this topic, but also with his personal help (once again, HUUUUUUUGE thank you to you, lipide512  Kiss), I can figure out the power of this Arduino and run by myself some basics test (test a button, power off/on a led, ....in short  my PRINT "HELLO TO THE WORLD" moment  Grin )

Speaking about testing buttons, I need to fix the ones on the G-LOC flight stick  arrow

One is missing, and the trigger one is broken! Let's use my NOS kit  Cool  arrow

Like new  Smiley  arrow

Ok, serious things now! It's time to check analog controls... let's try a first axe...

As you can see, I'm using 'pin to pin connector' (provided in the Arduino kit), that allow to create connections very fast and without any soldier. Perfect for quick & multiple experimentations!

Because the UNOJOY code is PC/PS3 compatible, after each UNOJOY uploading code, I can see the result on my laptop (so no need to test on my PS3 each time)... and ... YEAHHHHHHHH... it works! The axe is recognized by my laptop...and so, will be too by my PS3 ...

Let's add the others axes, and all the buttons I need... this give this temporary mess  Grin  arrow

Now, let's try After Burner *CLIMAX* with the G-LOC controls... IT WORKS  Kiss Kiss Kiss


When I move my arcade flight stick to the extreme left, the plane inside my PS3 game doesn’t go to the extreme left. It goes to the left, yes, but not to the extreme left. Same for the right movement of course

Here’s the reason : when my arcade flight stick is positioned to the extreme left, the potentiometer itself for that axe is not to its extreme left position. Same problem for the extreme right position. Let me figure this.

* here is the full 'physical' range of my joystick for the X axe (in green) ->

* here’s the full range of the X potentiometer (in green)

-> my arcade flight stick ‘physically’ cannot reach the red range on left and right :

consequence in my game -> my plane cannot turn to the extreme left/right.  =(

If I used a PC computer, it wouldn’t be a problem, because a simple calibration should fix that, but because I’m using a PS3, any ‘software’ calibration is impossible.   Sad

The idea would be to tell the arduino to move the ‘0’ potentiometer value to the of the ‘0’ position from my arcade stick, and of course bring back the last value ‘255’ from the potentiometer  into the extreme right position of my arcade stick. So the full range of my arcade flight stick will be adapted to the full range of values my PS3 is expecting.
In order to have this ->

Using other potentiometers values may fix this problem, but remember, I DO NOT WANT any hardware modification on my G-LOC, so I need to find an other issue! And here's come the POWER of the Arduino... this is a programmable device and you can do anything you want with the values.
The creator of the Unojoy code pointed me the software solution to my problem  Smiley  : see how on this topic.  Cool

SO I've modified the UNOJOY code ...and ... this time ... THE CONTROLS WORK PERFECTLY ... no dead zone ... no missing zone ... the G-LOC controls match perfectly the ones needed to play After Burner Climax!  Kiss Kiss Kiss

Before taking the decision to go for the Arduino way, I tried to find similar devices that can do the job 'out of the box' (arcade controls to PS3).
They are few controllers available on market that can do that but NONE of them can handles 3 axes per game pad. They are all built for maximum 2 axes (mostly because fighting games use). And even if they would be able to manage 3 axes per game pad, how to solve my 'G-LOC potentiometer range problem', because these adapters are sold 'plug & play', with no possibility to modify their code! roll eyes
Here come the power of the Arduino... you can do exactly what YOU want!  Space Ace

Starting for now, the remaining stuff to do for my project will be piece of cake Grin

Well, maybe not? What about the display? I need to output AB Climax on my arcade monitor...

My PS3 is a PAL model. But since the 'next gen' of console, and thanks to the HDMI connector, PAL or NTSC is no more an issue!

Ok, but I cannot use HDMI connector to send the picture on my arcade monitor!  Grin I'll use this adapter :

This cable plugs into the Playstation 1/2/3 AV port. It includes a video amplifier which boosts the PS video signal to the level required by arcade monitors. It also includes a sync separator circuit.

I can now output from my PS3 a RGB signal, which is the half of the job I'm asking for! ... remember, my PS3 is PAL... every games played on a PS3 PAL over the AV PS port will be encoded as PAL! And my G-LOC arcade monitor cannot handle that! The standard in the Arcade world for CRT is 60Hz!
In the PS3 display setup menu, it's possible to force the console to output a RGB signal, but it's NOT possible to force it to output a NTSC signal!
It seems possible to modify a PAL console into an NTSC one ...by jailbreaking the console, but it's not an option for me!
So... no other choice than buying a NTSC P3 console! Found a nice one in US!

While I'm waiting my PS3 NTSC to be delivered fromUSA, let's try this 'Playstation to Arcade Monitor' adapter with an other console, just to be sure that adapter will do the job with a NTSC console. I own a Playstation one (PSX), Japanese model ...and so... NTSC! Let's see  Roll Eyes Grin  arrow

 Grin Ok, perfect!

Now, let's see the audio part of this project! The easiest part to be honest!
The G-Loc cockpit has FOUR separate channels for sounds.
The After Burner Climax on PS3 is Dolby Digital.
All I need is a Dolby Digital decoder/amplifier ... and an additional speaker. I also may add a sub woofer bass speaker.

Got that one, who'll be the job quite easily  Grin  arrow

The PS3 and that decoder/amplifier (which also has a pre-amplifier section) will be connected over an optical cable.

So I just have to unplug the original G-LOC wires from the speakers, and attach the new wires that go to the Dolby Digital decoder :

That one handles 4/16 Ohms signals... which is perfect because the G-Loc speakers are 16 Ohms!  Cool

OK, but what about the missing speaker? Easy! I've just added a new speaker right here  arrow

I didn't use any fixation. That 'center' speaker is just there... it acts as the 'center' speaker... only 'voices' coming from that one.

So the thee additional pairs of wires (front left/right/center) are sweetly coming...

...into this tube :

It's even easier with the rear stereo signals... They are coming to a connector. I just have to remove a connector and use it to add the signals coming from my amplifier :

So at it point... everything to be experimented is ... successfully done!  Smiley Only one thing is missing at this point : my PS3 NTSC model!

1...2...3..4..5..6..weeks passed and still nothing from USA  Undecided ...7...8 weeks! Finally got a full refund! But lose close to TWO months on this project! So I had to buy an other one... still in USA! But fortunately , this one came pretty fast (but paid extra shipping for fastest delivery too!)... so to two weeks later, here it is :

The scary thing regarding PS3 console : whatever the region of the world, the console is supposed to adapt itself to the right voltage of the region. In other words, I can directly plug this US PS3 (natively 110V) right away into my ...220V socket plug! Yes, in theory NO step down converter needed! Scary isn't it?
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 04:44:04 PM by DarthNuno » Logged

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Singe's castle

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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2013, 04:10:42 PM »

Let's trust what guys on PS3 forums say  Grin... and let's plug the PS3 USA model directly on the 220V...

...working, ouf!...  Cool The PS3 is now perfectly sending a pure NTSC / 60Hhz RGB signal to the G-LOC arcade monitor ... lovely  Kiss  arrow

(the circles on the right of the screen are the camera fault... these are invisible for human eyes)

So now all that stuff is working together!  Kiss

Please note that once the PS3 powered, no need a PS3 game pad to run/controls/play the game!  Smiley Everything can be done with the G-Loc controls!  Wink

Here's a short video I've done to demonstrate that all the controls are working fine when playing After Burner Climax :

Be indulgent with this video : I'm playing with one hand, the other one is filming with a camera...and I'm trying to catch for you important moves between two missiles!  Grin  arrow

A quick resume :

For the sounds, the PS3 sends data (Dolby Digital) over an optical cable to a amplifier/decoder

For the video, over this adapter...

For the controls, from an USB port of the PS3, over the Arduino running a custom version of Unojoy :

All these wires coming from the Arduino and going to the females G-LOC connectors... what a mess isn't it?  Grin

That's gonna be the last step of this conversion : replacing each pin connector coming from the arduino and going to these G-Locs connectors, by biggest male connectors that will allow me to swap from this AFTER BURNER *CLIMAX* to the original G-LOC dedicated setup.

So, what if I need to roll back to the original G-LOC setup, huh?

- remove the (pin) male connectors coming from the Ardiuno into the G-LOC female adapters that drives controls
- remove the (pin) male connectors coming from the Playstation AV Video adapter into the G-LOC female adapter that drive display
- switch back 4 pairs of speaker wires
- put back some voltage connectors (no need fans, 5, 12V and other voltage... inside the G-LOC when playing AB Climax)
- remove PS3/Audio amplifier and put back the original G-LOC boards

*no arcade cabinet were harmed/modified/damaged in the making of this conversion*  Smiley

 Space Ace Space Ace Space Ace

Now uploading game play video! Stay tuned  Cool
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 04:55:40 PM by DarthNuno » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2013, 05:29:17 PM »

Wow, this is just wonderful! I know 100% how you must have felt with this lovely shell of pure Sega awesomeness in your house, waiting desperately to play it. A friend of mine tried years to repair a Thunderblade sitdown and it sucked up so much money and time without any progress (he ended up selling the damned thing for some pennies on ebay just to get rid of it). At some point of projects like these you sometimes have to change the direction. Really lovely machine now, true dedication! Smiley Smiley

Robotron, Smash TV, Final Fight, Donkey Kong, Red Tent, Indiana Jones, Galaga 88, Roadblasters SD, Centipede cabaret, Asteroids cabaret, Phoenix cabaret, MVS-U4
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Singe's castle

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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2013, 05:55:47 PM »

Wow, this is just wonderful! I know 100% how you must have felt with this lovely shell of pure Sega awesomeness in your house, waiting desperately to play it. A friend of mine tried years to repair a Thunderblade sitdown and it sucked up so much money and time without any progress (he ended up selling the damned thing for some pennies on ebay just to get rid of it). At some point of projects like these you sometimes have to change the direction. Really lovely machine now, true dedication! Smiley Smiley

Yes, I was in a same situation... until now. After Burner *Climax* is a fantastic game to play... I think I can wait a little bit longer for the G-LOC repair...at least that cockpit is no more useless until then  Cool

Ok, here's better an 'intro/in game' video footage, in HD :

Note that the circles & flickering in the screen are due to my camera, these are not visible when playing the game of course.  Cool
Oh, and next time I'll shut off these cooling fans... so noisy and not really mandatory in this After Burner Climax setup!  Tongue

 Space Ace

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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2013, 06:59:53 PM »

Great conversion, even if I secretly hope to see g-loc anyway,
As I didn't see that game running before.

Let's hope gc339 study will end with good news...
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 09:44:34 PM »

fantastic work bruno - ABC is such a great game - one thing u cant tell in the video...does the cockpit move?

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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 11:27:19 PM »

Just amazing... Space Ace Space Ace Space Ace

>>>Coin-op Legacy<<<
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2013, 11:28:00 AM »

Had the chance to play Climax at Prater Vienna, the game rocks! (I don't like the original Afterburner too much Tongue).
Awesome job and great technical overview. Space Ace
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2013, 11:34:55 AM »

very interesting to read this, thanks

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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2013, 03:38:02 PM »

Great job you did. As usual but I'm not surprised...You're always able to perform complicated tasks for success lol

By the way I have a joystick like yours. Its pretty short cable, but I made it a longer cable!


Of course the original joystick of your G-LOCK much better ...


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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2013, 03:52:00 PM »

fantastic work bruno - ABC is such a great game - one thing u cant tell in the video...does the cockpit move?
The cockpit doesn't move as he said previously, as the cab is still in motor trouble mode, and the PS3 does not send any moving information that could be reused by the motors of the cab.
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2013, 11:20:20 PM »

What an awesome project Smiley Great work!
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Singe's castle

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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2013, 10:54:21 PM »

Glad you like this! I can't tell you how I like AB Climax! It's far more playable than the original After Burner, which I'm huge fan too, but this one is so intensive, so hypnotic, so beautiful...an awesome rail shooter!
This reminds me this picture I've used in 2007 to 'tease' my Galaxian Theater Road trip : The Galaxian Theater flyer (supposed hard to spot) is laying on the SI cocktail, while I'm looking ... the After Burner *Climax* flyer  Cool  arrow


                                          ...Nothing is impossible...
The circle is now completed!  Grin

Also forget to mention that playing *Climax* inside this G-LOC cockpit is somehow ... legitimate after all! After Burner *ClimaX* is the next game that came in arcade right after G-LOC/R360  Grin

 Space Ace

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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2013, 01:05:27 PM »

this is the best ever and i'm going to do it to mine!  dose AB climax work just as an arcade game?  ie could you site the game and any one use it? (not that i would just interested).  before my G-Loc PCB crashed all together i could access the test menu and found that my motion worked just fine so i might try and include that with this conversion.
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 08:58:54 AM »

Wow!! Fantastic job and what a way to utilise a fabulous, yet broken cabinet.

Great work, I love it Smiley

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