Project - RetroBox (PC)


#1

Alright Modders,

Here’s the end-goal:

I’m looking for approaches, suggestions, recommended parts, design ideas, pitfalls, etc. The mock-up (though obviously not to scale) is the general idea. Having the majority of the retro systems that are viable on a PC output to a single USB port.

Here are the general goals:

  • Ability for each player to bring over their preferred game-pad for any game on PC that supports HID gamepads including arcade sticks (hence the USB ports)
  • Have the box output to a single usb cable
  • Each port should act independently of each other, basically making this an elaborate USB hub

Considerations:

  • Having basically 16 active USB ports in a box can get very hot, so ventilation (fan or slots) would be likely required
  • Ideally this would be wired properly inside and not just a “hub in a box” to minimize the footprint of the box itself
  • There are a couple USB hubs out there that could likely be gutted and modded to work with this (see hereand here) which would also help provide the wiring for power
  • There are consoles here I am obviously missing (Saturn, Dreamcast, etc.) because I preference’d it based off of what I play most, but more is always better I suppose?
  • Also considering adding a well tested widely compatible bluetooth adapter for kicks, but don’t know if this type of box would be prone to signal interference depending on how it was made
  • I also went with the number of ports on the original systems (i.e. why there are 4 N64 ports and only 2 SNES ports)
  • This type of box would eliminate the need for a lot of clutter for multi-gaming cabinets/systems that are becoming more popular (i.e. MAME/EMU cabs) as it would allow for unplugging/plugging of controllers at will without the need to have multiple adapters (that can be misplaced) or have every pad individually modded for USB

All in all I expect this to be a $2-300 project by the time it’s said and done, though if someone with access to wholesale parts (i.e. Retrozone) wants to take over the design they could likely make a decent profit in that price range (I would certainly buy it).

I’m interested in what the tech-talk community thinks about it. Thanks!


#2

You could get all of these from Retrozone (minus USB) and build some type of crazy enclousure with a hub. It’s going to be spendy like you said.


#3

What about the Playstation ports?


#4

http://spawnlinux.dyndns.org/Bliss-Box/


#5

What, No love for Sega Saturn?


#6

Haha I knew someone would say something. Yeah, no love for Saturn at this point. It’s a console I couldn’t afford when it came out so I never got really exposed to it, and most of the games I wanted to play for it were cross-platform with PSX (even though the PSX versions were usually inferior, I know). What’s actually more surprising to me is no Dreamcast, seeing as I owned that console, but most of the games I played on it I can now play on other systems (i.e. Sonic Adventure, Soul Calibur, MvC2, etc.); and I wasn’t exactly in love with the Dreamcast controller to begin with.

EDIT: Besides, how TRULY different are the Saturn and Megadrive/Genesis 6-button controllers? :wink:

I e-mailed the guy from that site. The solution is definitely one step in the direction I’m headed, but the issue with his design that I have (and messaged him about) is that the adapters he sells/makes are for 1 single input only. So for four players on say, Goldeneye, you’d need 4 of his adapters; which if you take the USB ports out, you’re looking at 5 ports per adapter, 4 separate adapters. I’m more leaning toward the idea of hacking the Retrozone stuff, and maybe wiring it all and sending it to someone to put it into a box. We’ll see, this project is a couple months out at least and is just another keystone in my “OMGUltimate Gaming System” that’s currently pipe-dreamed in my skull and won’t get out until I build it. First I need to finish my Arcade Stick, then this is the next thing I’ll tackle.