iControlPad

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iControlPad
Two game control devices sit atop one another. The upper is a gamepad alone, while the lower is attached to a phone.
The iControlPad in its standalone and clamp-on configurations (with iPhone 4).
Manufacturer iControlPad Ltd.[1]
Type Video game controller
Power 1 × 1500mAH cell
Input
  • 8 × Digital buttons
    (A, B, X, Y, L , R, Start, Select)
  • Digital D-pad
  • 2 × analog nubs
Website icontrolpad.com

The iControlPad is a wireless game controller compatible with a variety of smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. It is designed for use as either a standalone gamepad or attached to appropriately sized devices, such as the iPhone, using a clamp system.[2] In this way, the iControlPad is able to add traditional physical gaming controls to devices which otherwise rely on inputs such as touchscreens and accelerometers.[3]

Overview[edit]

The iControlPad's input controls include an eight-directional D-pad, dual analog nubs, six digital face buttons, and two digital trigger buttons on the gamepad's reverse. The sides of the iControlPad are detachable, with two different attachment types: rubber grips, for using the controller as a standard wireless gamepad; or plastic clamps, for connecting with a suitable handheld, such as a smartphone or iPod Touch.[2] A mini USB port on the bottom of the iControlPad can be used to charge the internal 1500mAh battery, update the device's firmware, and charge attached devices using a USB On-The-Go connection and an appropriate adapter.[1]

The iControlPad, a Bluetooth device, can be run in a wide variety of modes, including as a HID keyboard, mouse, joystick, and gamepad, among others, allowing compatibility with equipment which is limited to only certain types of input.[1] One of the iControlPad's modes mimics the protocol used by the iCade, an arcade cabinet released for the Apple iPad, facilitating compatibility between apps designed for the iCade and the iControlPad hardware.[2]

Due to the iControlPad's ability to operate as a Bluetooth keyboard—by mapping the D-pad and buttons to standard keyboard keys—it is able to communicate with devices such as those running Apple's iOS, including the iPhone and iPad, which do not support Bluetooth gamepads.[4] Since iOS natively supports keyboards, apps can be developed with iControlPad compatibility using either its own protocol or that of the iCade. Thus, the iControlPad is able to control video games and video game console emulators across multiple platforms.[5]

Development[edit]

Development of the iControlPad began in 2007,[specify] with testing using a hacked SNES gamepad to connect to an iPhone over the dock connection.[6] Once the serial connection was working, the first prototype iControlPad was produced, using a design styled after the Sony PSP. This earliest concept was a one-piece case enveloping the iPhone, with a D-pad on the left side, and four face buttons on the right in a landscape orientation,[7] and was first revealed in 2008.[8][9]

By November 2009, a completely redesigned iControlPad prototype was under development. This much larger version moved the controls below the screen and added two analog nubs and two trigger buttons to the controller.[10] This design, which featured clamps to attach it to the iPhone, was much closer to the version that was ultimately released, and would soon go into production.[11]

However, one large change was to occur very late in development. The team had secretly added Bluetooth support to the iControlPad, in order to increase compatibility beyond the iPhone and its proprietary connection.[12] This proved fortunate when Apple began exercising its rights over the dock connector, suing an unlicensed accessory maker. Thus, the iControlPad team were forced to adapt to use the Bluetooth connection for the iPhone,[13] and it was this version which finally became available for order in February 2011.[14]

Settings[edit]

To use the following, when the iControlPad is powered off, hold down the corresponding button(s) and start for ~3 seconds (until the light blinks rapidly 3 times). When switching between modes, the connection with the paired device needs to be reset: remove / unpair the iControlPad, then pair it again after switching modes. If required, the PIN code to pair with the iControlPad is 1234.

start + y - Serial (SPP) mode. This is the standard / default.

start + x - HID joystick mode. Useful on newer android and for pairing with windows.

start + x + y - HID gamepad mode. Similar to joystick mode, potentially more functionality.

start + a - HID keyboard mode. Supported on iPhone.

start + a + b - HID mouse mode. Analog nubs can be used as a mouse, buttons to click.

start + b - HID keyboard and mouse. Buttons are keys, nubs move mouse. Can't 'click'.

start + a + x + b - iCade mode

start + a + x - Keyboard (experimental)

Supported apps[edit]

Apple iOS[edit]

Title Developer Release date Notes
Atari's Greatest Hits a b Atari 06 Apr 2011 Supported since launch.[15]
Compression HD a Little White Bear Studios 17 May 2010 Supported since version 1.3.[16]
HungryMaster a xionchannel 02 Jul 2011 Supported since version 1.12.[17]
iMAME4All a c David Valdeita 16 Aug 2010 Supported since version 1.7.[18][19]
IronStar Arena a Appracatappra 6 May 2011 Supported since version 02.00.[20]
Mos Speedrun a Physmo 06 Apr 2011 Supported since version 1.4.[21]
Sideways Racing a Bjango 23 May 2011 Supported since version 1.0.2.[22]
Shuttle Scuttle a Embraceware 17 May 2012 Supported since version 1.1.
Velocispider a Retro Dreamer 31 May 2011 Supported since version 1.2.[23]
"Flashback: The Quest for Identity" a Manomio 18 Aug 2011 Supported since version 1.5.[24]

Multiplatform[edit]

Title Developer Release date Platform Notes
GBC.emu a Robert Broglia 23 Apr 2011 Android, iOS, webOS Supported since launch.[25]
MD.emu a Robert Broglia 28 Jun 2011 Android, iOS, webOS Supported since launch.[citation needed]
NES.emu a Robert Broglia 09 Feb 2011 Android, iOS, webOS Supported since 1.3.13.[26]
PCE.emu a Robert Broglia 27 Aug 2010 Android, iOS, webOS Supported since 1.3.13.[27]
Snes9x EX a Robert Broglia 16 Mar 2011 Android, iOS, webOS Supported since launch.[28]

Future releases[edit]

Apple iOS[edit]

Title Developer Release date Notes
Commodore 64 Manomio 05 Sep 2009 Support expected in next update.[29]
iAmiga Manomio TBA Support expected at launch.[29]
Interstellar Force David Molnar 10 Mar 2011 Support expected in next update.[30]
No Gravity a [realtech VR] 24 Mar 2011 Support now available for iOS/Android and HP webOS.[31]
  • ^a Supported via iControlPad's iCade mode.

Reception[edit]

Reception for the iControlPad has been mostly positive. Register Hardware noted that while "patience and geekery" were required to get the controller working, the iControlPad "almost perfectly solves the touchscreen game control conundrum".[32] Gadgetoid homed in on the device's usefulness for classic gaming, remarking that it was "awesome [...] for emulation on the go".[2] TouchArcade's reviewer said of playing games with the iControlPad that "the experience feels great", but that "[he couldn't] recommend that the typical gamer run out right now and grab one," due to its limited support on the iTunes App Store.[33]

Early reviews were mixed on the quality of the controls, with DroidGamers describing them as "very loose",[5] while, conversely, Register Hardware said "the analogue nubs and face buttons work extremely well".[32] The controls' responsiveness was later improved by replacing the original rubber keymat with a larger one. In their review, Gadgetoid lauded the inputs as having "a great tactile feel and a liberal amount of travel with a good response."[2]

iControlPad 2[edit]

A successor, the iControlPad 2, was successfully funded via Kickstarter in October 2012. As of November 2013, it has been cancelled, after over a year of delays, allegations of fraud and unanswered questions regarding misuse of funds by the project creator, Craig J V Rothwell. An unknown member of the project team has stated that backers will be receiving partial refunds.

See also[edit]

  • Pandora, a handheld game console developed by the iControlPad team and others[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "iControlPad Quick Start Guide". iControlPad Ltd. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "iControlPad Review". Gadgetoid. July 9, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  3. ^ Kwan, Michael (2008-12-23). "Game for Real with iPhone iControlPad". Mobile Magazine. Pilato Private Consulting. Retrieved 2011-07-04. Naturally, you’ll still be able to take advantage of anything on the touchscreen [...] using the accelerometer, but having “real” gaming controls is a great option as well. 
  4. ^ Dotson, Carter (February 14, 2011). "Gaming on iOS is About to Get Physical With a Variety of External Joystick and Gamepad Solutions.". 148Apps. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  5. ^ a b Grace, Tom (April 13, 2011). "iControlPad for Android Review: It's as easy as A, B, X, Y...". DroidGamers. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  6. ^ "iControlPad - Add real gaming controls to your iPhone!". iControlPad Ltd. Archived from the original on March 16, 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  7. ^ Stevens, Tim (December 12, 2008). "iControlPad gamepad heads to production, warms hearts". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  8. ^ Wattanajantra, Asavin (2010-08-27). "iControlPad unofficial iPhone gamepad coming soon". CNET. Retrieved 2011-07-04. The device has been in development for some time. [...] A different form of the iControlPad appeared before in 2008 [...] 
  9. ^ Sorrel, Charlie (2011-02-09). "iControlPad for iPhone Finally Shipping, Adds Support for All Phones". Wired (magazine). Retrieved 2011-07-04. At long, long last the iControlPad – a hardware gamepad for the iPhone – can be bought. Well, almost. You can order today for a delivery next week [...] 
  10. ^ Patel, Nilay (November 8, 2009). "Latest iControlPad prototype bulks up, gets handled on video". Engadget. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  11. ^ Davies, Chris (August 23, 2010). "iControlPad for iPhone production parts now shipping". SlashGear. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  12. ^ Rothwell, Craig (September 29, 2010). "Something we kept secret ...". Twitter. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  13. ^ Davies, Chris (September 28, 2010). "iControlPad dumps Dock Connector for Bluetooth over Apple legal fears; Android BT confirmed". SlashGear. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  14. ^ Perkins, Samia (February 8, 2011). "iControlPad with Bluetooth Shipping This Month". SlashGear. R3 Media LLC. Retrieved 2011-07-04. The new iControlPad with Bluetooth is scheduled to ship February 16th. 
  15. ^ Foresman, Chris (April 6, 2011). "100 classic Atari games for iOS out now, iCade cabinet coming in June". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  16. ^ Dotson, Carter (June 30, 2011). "Compression HD Gets Support for iCade". 148Apps.biz. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  17. ^ "HungryMaster 1.12" (in Japanese). xionchannel. July 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  18. ^ Murph, Darren (July 10, 2011). "iMAME4All gains experimental support for iCade, iOS gamers gain infinite happiness". Engadget. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  19. ^ Valdeita, David. "imame4all - MAME for ALL iOS devices". Google Code. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  20. ^ "IronStar Arena for iCade". Appracatappra. July 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-17. 
  21. ^ "What we are up to.". Physmo. June 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  22. ^ "Version history for Sideways Racing, an iPad game". Bjango. Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  23. ^ Bowman, Gavin (July 27, 2011). "Velocispider V1.2 Out Now". Retro Dreamer. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  24. ^ Carnie, Stuart (August 18, 2011). "Flashback: Now with iControlPad support". manomio. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  25. ^ Broglia, Robert (April 23, 2011). "GBC.emu Updates". Ex Plus Alpha. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  26. ^ Broglia, Robert (February 28, 2011). "NES.emu Updates". Ex Plus Alpha. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  27. ^ Broglia, Robert (February 28, 2011). "PCE.emu Updates". Ex Plus Alpha. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  28. ^ Broglia, Robert (March 16, 2011). "Snes9x EX Updates". Ex Plus Alpha. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  29. ^ a b Patterson, Blake (June 18, 2011). "Manomio Demonstrates iCade Support for 'iAmiga' Emulator". TouchArcade. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  30. ^ "I'm working on adding ...". Twitter. July 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-19. 
  31. ^ Nogravity iPad2 + iCade.. YouTube. July 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-17. 
  32. ^ a b Bailey, Andrew (May 18, 2011). "iControlPad Bluetooth controller for mobile devices". Register Hardware. Retrieved 2011-07-19. 
  33. ^ a b Patterson, Blake (July 13, 2011). "A Close Look at the 'iControlPad' Bluetooth Control Accessory". TouchArcade. Retrieved 2011-07-19. 

External links[edit]