Talk:Gravis PC GamePad

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Does anyone know when the Gravis PC gamepad was released? There are some obvious similarities between it and the SNES controller (in particular, the Japanese version). I kind of wonder if one borrowed from the other...and if so, who borrowed from who...

I don't remember exactly when the Gamepad was first released, although I was the Product Manager for Advanced Gravis at that time and responsible for the Gamepad's development. The credit for the technical concept belongs to Dennis Scott-Jackson, the co-founder of Advanced Gravis along with his long-time friend Grant Russell. I still have the unopened first GamePad that came off the production line.

The SNES controller and virtually all others on the market at that time were looked at closely. These and a number of original ideas from the Gravis development team were presented to a product concept firm in North Vancouver, who refined the controllers shell into its final shape. The "GamePad" as it was originally spelled, was the first control pad for the PC and coined the name Gamepad which is synonymous with control pads today.

Following the PC version of the GamePad, we mated it up with our Macintosh joystick microprosessor control box and and developed the Mac Version of the GamePad -- the world's first fully programmable GamePad.

Ron Haidenger

According to this report: the Gamepad was introduced in November 1991. --Sportyboard (talk) 13:50, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia self-reference[edit]

WP:ASR#Community and website feature references is pretty clear about not discussing the Wikipedia project in articles. This is because it lends undue weight to Wikipedia itself in an article, which should be about the subject. Wikipedia tries to avoid self-promotion in articles not about the site itself. We can talk about Wikipedia on the Wikipedia page and potentially where it outside sources discuss it - for instance, when Stephen Colbert did a monologue about Wikipedia, that's acceptable.

The fact that the Gravis Gamepad is the model for the icon can be mentioned on the image page (well, at Commons where it was uploaded), but it's not relevant to the history of the gamepad itself. --SevereTireDamage 11:03, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Oh well, its fine now. Apparently that icon is part of a set, and someone added the reference to that, which was my main point in the first place, but they did it without mentioning wikipedia, so its all good now.Dylan Mather 19:56, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed paragraph on splitting port[edit]

Because a game port only allows for 2 buttons, but lets you connect 2 controllers using a splitter cable, the gamepad uses the 2 buttons for the unused second joystick feature to get a total of 4. This means that connecting a second gamepad, although possible, means each can only use 2 buttons. It also means games have to include support for this trick in order to make use of the 4 buttons, otherwise they will simply control any second player character available.

I removed this because it has entirely the wrong perspective. A game port, as designed, is to have 4 buttons and 4 axes. The 4 axes are typically for rudders, hat switches, throttles, and the like, and are completely independent of each other, but are abstracted as X and Y axes for joystick 1 and 2 (this is probably what causes the confusion, people think 2 joysticks = 2 players). There is no expectation for being able to split a game port in order to produce control sets for 2 players -- whether or not this is supported is entirely up to the game. Games do not have to use a "trick" to support 4 buttons for a single player. It would be more accurate to say that they use a "trick" to support two players, as they have to account for which controls are bound to which player. Ham Pastrami (talk) 04:04, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Uhh, you're wrong. It was designed for two joysticks. That's what everyone expected in 1981. Yes, 1981 as in the first IBM PC. Using the second joystick's inputs as additional buttons/axes on a single controller is in fact the later hack. That or the pinouts over at Game port and every pinout site on the web, and the pinouts and programming documentation in my 1991 vintage copy of The Programmer's PC Sourcebook are all wrong. I'm not reverting the edit however as I don't feel the information adds anything to this particular article. It probably belongs over at Game port if anywhere. (talk) 08:09, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
A matter of perspective, I guess. The port has 4 axes and 4 buttons; the design implies nothing more or less. It may have been marketed for 2 players because "that's what everyone expected in 1981"; it was a nice bullet point to have vs Atari. Bottom line is, using one device on the port requires no additional equipment. Using 2 devices requires a "special" splitter cable that apparently didn't come with most of these ports. Programming-wise, handling 2 players is more complex than handling one (the original point of the paragraph in question). I think by most definitions of "hack" it is pretty clear which is which. Ham Pastrami (talk) 08:48, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Seriously, just stop talking. (talk) 08:53, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Gladly, if your confusion has been satisfactorily addressed. Ham Pastrami (talk) 08:54, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Mac GamePad[edit]

There is no mention in the article of the Mac version of the original Gravis GamePad. (I see there's a short comment here in the discussion though.) I still have mine around for nostalgic reasons and this is what I can remember about it:

  • It uses an Apple Desktop Bus connector (which allows a few input devices, including keyboard and mouse, to be daisy-chained to the same port). Two gamepads could be connected at the same time and were recognised individually by the driver. Different icons were shown at system start-up depending on the number (0, 1 or 2) of gamepads plugged in.
  • Secondly the Mac gamepad had only one switch. When it was flipped the d-pad could be used to control the mouse cursor. Changing from right to left handed was done through the preferences panel.
  • The Mac gamepad worked by mapping each button to a series of up to 8 characters. The settings were application-specific so each game could have its own. In 1996 (i believe) Apple released InputSprocket as part of its GameSprockets set of libraries supporting, among other devices, the Gravis GamePad. In case a game supported it then InputSprocket could be used to map d-pad and buttons directly to "actions" within the game.

Sources: Apple's book on GameSprockets, GameSprockets download page. -- Tasnu Arakun (talk) 23:16, 12 November 2008 (UTC)