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Author Topic: Design and layout  (Read 7655 times)

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Offline DarkestEx

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Design and layout
« on: October 22, 2015, 11:16:52 pm »
In this topic I would like to discuss the design and layout of the microcat.

adekto made this drawing a few days ago:

The green boxes would go on the back and I was thinking about putting headphones jack and usb port on the top.
Also the row of four button ontop might be replaced by two buttons.

What button layout would you suggest? And how do you like the overall shape?


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Offline Ivoah

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2015, 11:19:07 pm »
I would suggest removing the four buttons on the top and replacing them with two trigger buttons, adding a start and select button in the middle on the bottom, and replacing the four buttons on the left with a d-pad. Maybe you could use a hacked up SNES controller as a case?
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Offline DarkestEx

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2015, 11:23:37 pm »
I would suggest removing the four buttons on the top and replacing them with two trigger buttons, adding a start and select button in the middle on the bottom, and replacing the four buttons on the left with a d-pad. Maybe you could use a hacked up SNES controller as a case?
Well we need one power button and one menu button. I am no fan of the useless select and start buttons.
About the trigger buttons, we probably can't as we want to have the PCB compatible with both case designs that we planned.
But I think we can leave some footprints for trigger buttons there so that people can add them themselves. But they wouldn't be standard. Or we might do a version with them.
Don't get me wrong, we have more than enough IO pins for almost any number of buttons.
Still we need our own case. I am not interested hacking up 50+ SNES controller cases :P
Anyways, thanks for suggesting :)
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Offline Ivoah

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2015, 11:25:50 pm »
I would suggest removing the four buttons on the top and replacing them with two trigger buttons, adding a start and select button in the middle on the bottom, and replacing the four buttons on the left with a d-pad. Maybe you could use a hacked up SNES controller as a case?
Well we need one power button and one menu button. I am no fan of the useless select and start buttons.
About the trigger buttons, we probably can't as we want to have the PCB compatible with both case designs that we planned.
But I think we can leave some footprints for trigger buttons there so that people can add them themselves. But they wouldn't be standard. Or we might do a version with them.
Don't get me wrong, we have more than enough IO pins for almost any number of buttons.
Still we need our own case. I am not interested hacking up 50+ SNES controller cases :P
Anyways, thanks for suggesting :)

While I agree that the select button is pretty useless, the start button isn't, unless you have some other button for pausing the game.
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Offline DarkestEx

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2015, 11:27:22 pm »
I would suggest removing the four buttons on the top and replacing them with two trigger buttons, adding a start and select button in the middle on the bottom, and replacing the four buttons on the left with a d-pad. Maybe you could use a hacked up SNES controller as a case?
Well we need one power button and one menu button. I am no fan of the useless select and start buttons.
About the trigger buttons, we probably can't as we want to have the PCB compatible with both case designs that we planned.
But I think we can leave some footprints for trigger buttons there so that people can add them themselves. But they wouldn't be standard. Or we might do a version with them.
Don't get me wrong, we have more than enough IO pins for almost any number of buttons.
Still we need our own case. I am not interested hacking up 50+ SNES controller cases :P
Anyways, thanks for suggesting :)

While I agree that the select button is pretty useless, the start button isn't, unless you have some other button for pausing the game.
That's what the menu button is going to do. It will pause the game and open an OS menu at any time. In it you can return to the console main screen, reset the game, change the volume, disable wifi, see the battery level and go back to the game.
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Offline 123outerme

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2015, 12:30:18 am »
Looks good enough to eat! No seriously, I'm so hungry...
Jokes aside, looks really good! I agree that it might need a D-Pad or at least the thing that Playstation X  (where X is an integer between 1 and 4) controllers with the weird arrow things. The four top buttons look all right to me. As long as they have a different shape or something than the group of four buttons, I think it'll look great. Maybe you want to make a 3d model in Sketchup or something like that?
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Offline Araidia

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2015, 01:42:34 am »
  • I think the  D-Pad is a must because people are so used to it
  • Wouldn't the headphone jack be better on the bottom instead of the top? I wouldn't want to have to worry about a headphone cord getting in the way. You could really just put the USB port anywhere, but the top still seems to be a good idea.
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Offline Max Leiter

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2015, 04:00:57 am »
Agree with Araidia, a D-Pad would be super awesome. Personally I don't care about headphones, but it should definitely have a speaker/port

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2015, 04:10:38 am »
No speaker is planned because of space constraints, that's why there is a headphone jack.
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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2015, 07:04:11 am »
I like the idea so far. As for Start and select, I am fine without them, as long as there is an intuitive way to get back to the menu. Final Fantasy II and III on SNES don't even use Start for pause, after all (they use X or Y, IIRC).

I would suggest removing the four buttons on the top and replacing them with two trigger buttons, adding a start and select button in the middle on the bottom, and replacing the four buttons on the left with a d-pad. Maybe you could use a hacked up SNES controller as a case?
I agree about the trigger buttons, and does the console really need two? Because most old games only used one on each side.

  • I think the  D-Pad is a must because people are so used to it
  • Wouldn't the headphone jack be better on the bottom instead of the top? I wouldn't want to have to worry about a headphone cord getting in the way. You could really just put the USB port anywhere, but the top still seems to be a good idea.
I agree about those, especially the d-pad. Only having joysticks would be annoying for 2D games.

Agree with Araidia, a D-Pad would be super awesome. Personally I don't care about headphones, but it should definitely have a speaker/port
I think the issue is that there isn't enough space left for speakers. Besides, most walkmans and MP3 players lacked speakers anyway.



Also I can't stress this enough: Make sure that it is not easy to hit the power button by accident. On the PSP this was incredibly annoying to play a game, only to have the PSP shut off due to accidentally pulling the power button upwards.
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Offline DarkestEx

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2015, 07:30:41 am »
Looks good enough to eat! No seriously, I'm so hungry...
Jokes aside, looks really good! I agree that it might need a D-Pad or at least the thing that Playstation X  (where X is an integer between 1 and 4) controllers with the weird arrow things. The four top buttons look all right to me. As long as they have a different shape or something than the group of four buttons, I think it'll look great. Maybe you want to make a 3d model in Sketchup or something like that?
Sure we will make a 3D model in either blender or Solid Works.

  • I think the  D-Pad is a must because people are so used to it
  • Wouldn't the headphone jack be better on the bottom instead of the top? I wouldn't want to have to worry about a headphone cord getting in the way. You could really just put the USB port anywhere, but the top still seems to be a good idea.
Well we might redesign the bottom a little and put it on the bottom.
Then I might just put both, headphones Jack and mini USB down there.

Agree with Araidia, a D-Pad would be super awesome. Personally I don't care about headphones, but it should definitely have a speaker/port
Sure, but we have very limited capabilities when it comes to manufacturing dpad tops.
Initially we were using an 8 way dpad with allowd pushing it down for enter, but we got rid of it for multiple reasons.

I like the idea so far. As for Start and select, I am fine without them, as long as there is an intuitive way to get back to the menu. Final Fantasy II and III on SNES don't even use Start for pause, after all (they use X or Y, IIRC).

I would suggest removing the four buttons on the top and replacing them with two trigger buttons, adding a start and select button in the middle on the bottom, and replacing the four buttons on the left with a d-pad. Maybe you could use a hacked up SNES controller as a case?
I agree about the trigger buttons, and does the console really need two? Because most old games only used one on each side.

  • I think the  D-Pad is a must because people are so used to it
  • Wouldn't the headphone jack be better on the bottom instead of the top? I wouldn't want to have to worry about a headphone cord getting in the way. You could really just put the USB port anywhere, but the top still seems to be a good idea.
I agree about those, especially the d-pad. Only having joysticks would be annoying for 2D games.

Agree with Araidia, a D-Pad would be super awesome. Personally I don't care about headphones, but it should definitely have a speaker/port
I think the issue is that there isn't enough space left for speakers. Besides, most walkmans and MP3 players lacked speakers anyway.



Also I can't stress this enough: Make sure that it is not easy to hit the power button by accident. On the PSP this was incredibly annoying to play a game, only to have the PSP shut off due to accidentally pulling the power button upwards.
Well I will add the footprints for the trigger buttons, but I night not fit them eventually depending on the way we manufacture the cases (3D print under 100 units, laser cut >= 100).
We probably can't afford making a mold to form the cases.

We don't have joysticks at all.
But we might support external ones (if we have enough spare pins).

About speaker, yes we lack space. Also nobody is having sound turned on anyways when using a speaker. Its just adding about 5 euros and requiring space for a mostly unused feature.

About the power button, I will for sure make the console display a warning when pressing it while playing and asking whether you really want to power down having your game not saved.
In the main menu I don't plan showing it though.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 07:32:21 am by DarkestEx »
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Offline adekto

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2015, 04:22:52 pm »
wel here is a concept render (not fully acurate, like the wifi will be on the botem but its mainly to show that the true hole parts cant interfear with that bourd)

Offline Snektron

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2015, 04:24:04 pm »
Ohh that looks pretty sweet :) You know what would be cool? To make straps on it so you can wear it like a watch.
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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2015, 05:08:56 pm »
Just make sure that buttons aren't too close to each others. Else only people with small hands will be able to play games.
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Offline DarkestEx

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Re: Design and layout
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2015, 05:17:31 pm »
Just make sure that buttons aren't too close to each others. Else only people with small hands will be able to play games.
Sure we will try to make it fit in different hand sizes.

I think we need to remove the trigger buttons and the two buttons in the top right as we can't afford losing these board areas that we now need for power regulators.
5 of them we need (3 of them require their own chip and 4 their own inductor coils).
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