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The Bliss-Box 4-play Thread!

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Joy to key is the app you will want to use I think. I ended up converting from xpadder once I got a box

What did that process look like? Any shortcuts?

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Hey guys, anyone noticed some difficulty with dreamcast controllers? When I plug mine in, the first time or two it just seems to input random buttons. I have to unplug the blissbox 2-3 times, along with the controller, before it picks up properly. Bought a new dreamcast controller and have been having the same issue. I'm on the newest firmware, 1.56.1

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Things to consider when having Dream Cast issues.

does the problem occur when a rumble pack is in? Does removing it fix it?
does the problem occur when a mem pack is in? Does removing it fix it?
does the problem occur when a LCD pack is in? Does removing it fix it?
Does the DC have a blue or red label?
Is this an official OEM pad?

I have tested all of the above with no issues on 1.56.1. A few people have reported DC issues on the port facing (2:00). See if moving to a new port helps the issue.

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What did that process look like? Any shortcuts?

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No short cut unfortunately. I just set up joy to key with the same keys as xpadder. It didn't take too long. Pc games took the longest since many of them had custom controls instead of using a default

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No short cut unfortunately. I just set up joy to key with the same keys as xpadder. It didn't take too long. Pc games took the longest since many of them had custom controls instead of using a default

How stable and useable is bliss box, these days? I kinda gave up on it, before. Working on 8bitdo lately...

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3 hours ago, JoeC3109 said:

Hey guys, anyone noticed some difficulty with dreamcast controllers? When I plug mine in, the first time or two it just seems to input random buttons. I have to unplug the blissbox 2-3 times, along with the controller, before it picks up properly. Bought a new dreamcast controller and have been having the same issue. I'm on the newest firmware, 1.56.1

Never had an issue here. Standard OEM controller with VMU connected?

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2 hours ago, newoski said:


How stable and useable is bliss box, these days? I kinda gave up on it, before. Working on 8bitdo lately...

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I've no idea what kind of stability issues one could ever even have with this. What was your issue, exactly. Have five of em and never encountered any issues.

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Admittedly, I'm referring to early days... but even flashing firmware was a challenge...

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Ah, ok. Like pre-4-play bliss box? Back when they were all hand made maybe. The firmware update process is pretty painless these days thankfully. Still never had any issues though.

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Ya no issues really, flashing does take some love though. You have to press and hold the button like you life depends on it or you have to do it again but that's all

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yea, official controller. i actually don't have any vmu's though. Not sure if that would make a difference?

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13 minutes ago, JoeC3109 said:

yea, official controller. i actually don't have any vmu's though. Not sure if that would make a difference?

Should work with or without. I always play with though.

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Bit of Bliss box history here... may relate to your issue. Read last paragraph to skip the history part.

 

Little may know but the Bliss-Box runs at 12mhz. This is not enough to code in c to use the Dream Cast(DC) . It must be done in assembly.  As a matter of fact, if the clock was 11.999999999~ the assembly would not have enough time and the Bliss-box would not be able to read it.  When Bliss-Box started we had zero intentions of supporting all of these controllers. In fact it was only intended to interface with the big 4.  n64, gc, psx, and (s)Nintendo. After learning I decided to take on this challenge.  In 07 this happened.  The fact that the DC required 12mhz was merely a coincidence. 

So whats with the DC? The DC uses two hand shakes on two wires at the same time. Normally you do a 3 or two (sometimes one) wire communication.  You send a single on one (talk to me) or (listen to me) and send data on the other. In the case of DC you send one bit of data on wire one, and at the same time wires two says read this bit at this mark. Then they swap.... Love to go in to great detail for anyone that wants to know. Though here is the catcher. Not only does it complicate thing by doing this, it does this at an incredible speed. It is so tight that you have 97ns per bit, and at 12mhz that is about 6 clock cycles.  So if you were writing code, that means 6 lines of ASM code per bit.  Well using something like an if statement is going to cost you about 4 lines of ASM code. So yeah, its damn tight. The only way to make this happen was to assume the bits would be ready and just time it all out guessing when to read bits. The correct way is to wait for wire one to say I'm ready, and read line 2, then switch. That would have required 12 clocks (lines of ASM). 

So what does all of that drivel  mean? It means, you can not sneeze... Well the code can't anyways. Point is this. If USB has some sort of tolerance, and as far as I know it does not, it may make things hard for the dream cast to work. In sufficient power to the Bliss-Box or 4-play would be a primary target.  Anything that might change the condition that a Bliss-Box needs to operate could be your issue.  Of course we do not know of any issues yet.  So there, a bit of Bliss-Box history and a long winded answer.

 

 

 

 

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On that note, are you getting the same results with different USB ports or different systems?

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12 hours ago, ulao said:

Bit of Bliss box history here... may relate to your issue. Read last paragraph to skip the history part.

 

Little may know but the Bliss-Box runs at 12mhz. This is not enough to code in c to use the Dream Cast(DC) . It must be done in assembly.  As a matter of fact, if the clock was 11.999999999~ the assembly would not have enough time and the Bliss-box would not be able to read it.  When Bliss-Box started we had zero intentions of supporting all of these controllers. In fact it was only intended to interface with the big 4.  n64, gc, psx, and (s)Nintendo. After learning I decided to take on this challenge.  In 07 this happened.  The fact that the DC required 12mhz was merely a coincidence. 

So whats with the DC? The DC uses two hand shakes on two wires at the same time. Normally you do a 3 or two (sometimes one) wire communication.  You send a single on one (talk to me) or (listen to me) and send data on the other. In the case of DC you send one bit of data on wire one, and at the same time wires two says read this bit at this mark. Then they swap.... Love to go in to great detail for anyone that wants to know. Though here is the catcher. Not only does it complicate thing by doing this, it does this at an incredible speed. It is so tight that you have 97ns per bit, and at 12mhz that is about 6 clock cycles.  So if you were writing code, that means 6 lines of ASM code per bit.  Well using something like an if statement is going to cost you about 4 lines of ASM code. So yeah, its damn tight. The only way to make this happen was to assume the bits would be ready and just time it all out guessing when to read bits. The correct way is to wait for wire one to say I'm ready, and read line 2, then switch. That would have required 12 clocks (lines of ASM). 

So what does all of that drivel  mean? It means, you can not sneeze... Well the code can't anyways. Point is this. If USB has some sort of tolerance, and as far as I know it does not, it may make things hard for the dream cast to work. In sufficient power to the Bliss-Box or 4-play would be a primary target.  Anything that might change the condition that a Bliss-Box needs to operate could be your issue.  Of course we do not know of any issues yet.  So there, a bit of Bliss-Box history and a long winded answer.

 

That was very interesting drivel ulao, thank you. Would a hardware change help matters in a future revision? Or does throwing more mhz at it not help much?

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One possible idea is to add a 16mhz on newer models but that would not help the current units. Also code would not be backward compatible. Though I don't think this is an issue with the current DC code in the way described above. What it would address is allowing 3rd party DC controller to work.  A better option would be a DC to ps2 adapter but you loose peripheral support. 

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This is very interesting and helpful, I appreciate that. I'm gonna try switching to another USB port and see if it helps my issue. I've tried my controllers (official with Blue label) on all the ports with the same issue. Though what you describe ulao makes perfect sense.

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Finicky USB ports are the bane of my existence. I've never had your issue with my 4-Plays but anytime I've been faced with USB pors acting weird I uninstall device drivers, let Windows reinstall them, and disconnect from the electrical source entirely. After the last few Windows updates I also had issues with Windows defaulting to "allow windows to turn this device off to save power" with certain devices.

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Random thought but how can you check for the save power option? My card reader hasn't worked since the Windows 10 update, the card reader is compatible, it's got to be a driver issue, seems like a widespread problem. Is this the same issue you think?

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13 minutes ago, ninja2bceen said:

Random thought but how can you check for the save power option? My card reader hasn't worked since the Windows 10 update, the card reader is compatible, it's got to be a driver issue, seems like a widespread problem. Is this the same issue you think?

 

So the first thing I used to check was if a full power cycle (ie. unplugging then replugging after all the voltages have dropped to zero) fixed the issue. Now I first head to Device Manager -> right click the device -> Power Management. For USB specifically can also check advanced power settings and ensure selective suspend is disabled for USB devices.

I find Windows routinely re-activates the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" option and I get the impression the threshold input/ouput power requirement Windows thinks it needs to see to keep a device awake doesn't exactly have the best fidelity right now.

 

Untitled-1.png

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Blue labels. 

In the past they have been know to give issues, especially if you are in Europe. AS for these Europe types,  the only fix is to get me one... In the case of Europe, and I believe, they came off another assembly line. This line introduced little differences is resistance that causes the effect I was explaining. These are very fixable IMO but not without me having one here. If this is you, let me know if you can help the community back. 

 

 

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How compatible is Bliss Box with RetroArch these days? A detailed reply would be greatly appreciated

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There was rather big news a month ago or so on that.  It may have not reached this thread in respect for HS. Though after 1.55, Bliss box supports retro arch and emulation station for the pi where previously is didn't. Also the RetroArch team has a BB in had and are working on an internal mapping for it. 

 

The main issue was BB was always a dual device (mouse+gamepad). Since some linux kernels could not decode that, we dropped that support. 

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There was rather big news a month ago or so on that.  It may have not reached this thread in respect for HS. Though after 1.55, Bliss box supports retro arch and emulation station for the pi where previously is didn't. Also the RetroArch team has a BB in had and are working on an internal mapping for it. 
 
The main issue was BB was always a dual device (mouse+gamepad). Since some linux kernels could not decode that, we dropped that support. 

Could you elaborate on the changes that make it compatible with retroarch? Very exciting news! Also, what is BB?

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