Lefthanded Video Games

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Thad
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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:24 pm

Got my one-handed controller. Haven't spent much time with it yet (just tested to make sure all the buttons are working) but this should open up basically every turn-based SNES game, anyway. (Or Game Boy, come to think of it, since I've got a Super Game Boy 2.)

I'm curious to check out the early Mystery Dungeon games, but IIRC they autosave after every step. That seems like it might be rough on an SD card, right? That's why they changed it in the DS version of Shiren.

I fired up Torneko and wondered if there was something wrong with how it displayed on a flash cart, but...nope, apparently the first line of the intro text is impossible to read on an emulator, too.


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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Brentai » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:57 pm

Thad wrote:Got my one-handed controller.


Crap, I forgot all about the X-Box Adaptive Controller until you said that. Always wondered how well that thing works.

An even less cost effective suggestion, if you ever wanted to give VR a whirl, now would be a good time. The inherent motion based controls usually don't require much finger motion unless you're playing a shooter, it's mostly in the arms and a little bit of wrist.
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Thad
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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:56 am

Thanks; I'm aware of those options but looking at cheaper solutions for the moment. Will keep them in mind in case this winds up being more of a long-term problem, though.

In the meantime, I've got the one-handed ASCII controller for the SNES, and I saw somebody on eBay selling the PS1 version for $10 so I ordered one of those too. (I never did finish the Arc the Lad Collection.) Since I've got PlayStation controller adapters for PC and Dreamcast, I might be able to use it on those as well.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:28 pm

Okay, I've figured out what's bugging me about this controller.

There's no way to orient it with the buttons laid out in the right configuration. If you look at it, it's like
BY
AX
Which is fine, except if you're holding it with the D-pad facing up, then the buttons are on the bottom and that means it's actually the mirror of that:
YB
XA
Which is, obviously, wrong. And you can rotate the D-pad, but any way you rotate it is wrong. There's no way to get it to a standard SNES button layout.

I expect with some practice I'll get the muscle memory down, but it just seems like a weird choice.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:00 pm

How about Baldur's Gate or Planescape: Torment with the left half of a Steam Controller? Are touchpad / stick / gyro / 2 triggers, 1 grip, and the Select button enough?

To put it another way, do you need the keyboard, or are they playable with just the mouse?

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby KingRoyal » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:03 pm

Those are definitely playable with just the mouse, since you can interact with all the UI elements with a mouse and navigate by clicking.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:09 pm

Got my PS1 ASCII Grip controller.

It was $10 on eBay and appears to have been new in box. Either someone has gone to a lot of effort to counterfeit original packaging for an obscure accessory, or ASCIIware made entirely too many of these things and they're still out there, new in box, selling for bargain-basement prices. I suspect the latter, and this may have something to do with why the company doesn't seem to exist anymore.

Anyway, my PS2 is not hooked up to my CRT; it's currently hooked up to my main TV via an Open Source Scan Converter. So before I tested this, I had to try and remember how the fuck the OSSC works. And find its remote. And take out the dead, acid-leaking batteries from the remote, and clean it. And then fuck around with cabling to figure out why the OSSC still wasn't getting a signal from the PS2. And then test the controller. And then grab a game that uses all the buttons to test them, and witness something no human being should ever have to witness, Mega Man Legends 2 stretched to 16:9.

So at this juncture I remembered I have a MAME box hooked up to my CRT TV, and it occurred to me that if I set up RetroArch and hooked the controller up to it by way of PS1-USB adapter, I'd be able to use it as a general-purpose emulation controller. And that since this would allow me to remap buttons, this might actually be better than using the SNES ASCII Grip on a real SNES, because this way I could remap R to one of the triggers so that it's actually possible to hold down R while hitting a diagonal in Shiren.

At some point during all of this, I discovered that the wireless trackball connected to my MAME box also had leaky batteries, so I had to clean it out too, and also had to reach under some furniture to retrieve the ball because it rolled down there.

Anyway, once I actually fired Shiren up on the MAME box, I noticed that the colors and ratio appeared wrong. After some long and boring research, I finally found the answer, which also explains why I've never been able to get this thing to output 240p: I'm using an old ATI graphics card with an S-Video output, and from what I'm seeing on the Interwebs it turns out those ports only output at 800x600 and then downscale it to 640x480. The one I have doesn't actually have a dedicated S-Video port; it's the 2600XT that came with certain old models of Mac Pro. It's got two DVI outputs and uses a dongle to convert the output to S-Video. But y'know, now that you mention it, it sure looks like 800x600 downscaled to 640x480.

I've seen some indications that the DVI-I ports might work with a DVI-to-YPbPr adapter but haven't been able to confirm. Not sure if that would have the same issue with outputting at 800x600 or not.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:29 am

As I was futzing about trying to figure out how to get my Retroarch box to output to 240p (tl;dr it really doesn't appear to be feasible without a separate VGA-YPbPr transcoder), I realized I already have a device that can run Retroarch at 240p and uses a one-handed controller hooked up to my CRT: my Wii.

I haven't taken the time to try getting Retroarch set up on it yet, but it seems like if I can remap the buttons, then it should work just fine for most any turn-based 8- or 16-bit game. Not sure how well it handles GBA, PS1, N64, etc. (I know the official Virtual Console emulator did great with N64 games so it seems like emulators for lower-spec machines should work okay.) But D-pad, A, B, +, -, should probably be enough for most RPGs, with 1 and 2 filling in for extra functions in a pinch if needed.

Something to look into, anyway, if I get bored with Earthbound, Shiren, and Azure Dreams (which I haven't played yet but I got a copy on eBay and fired it up to make sure it runs).

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Sat Mar 14, 2020 2:36 am

While I'm checking out 32-bit Konami RPGs, are the Vandal Hearts games any good? I remember renting the first one from Blockbuster and being pretty nonplussed by it, probably because I played it after I'd already played Final Fantasy Tactics. I hear the second one's better and adds some complexity.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby JD » Sat Mar 14, 2020 4:39 am

I just remembered that Pokemon Sword/Shield has a Casual Controls mode which lets you play with one hand.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby KingRoyal » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:09 pm

Thad wrote:While I'm checking out 32-bit Konami RPGs, are the Vandal Hearts games any good? I remember renting the first one from Blockbuster and being pretty nonplussed by it, probably because I played it after I'd already played Final Fantasy Tactics. I hear the second one's better and adds some complexity.


I loved Vandal Hearts, though I played it before I played Tactics. It's job system is less robust, but there's still complexity, and the story is fun with some engaging twists. And there are some genuinely good battlefields later in the game that'll test your tactical abilities.

Note: This is from having played the game when I was 13.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Friday » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:13 pm

Vandal Hearts is a perfectly fine game, even a good one, that is completely and utterly overshadowed by FFT in every possible way.
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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:20 pm

Nintendo Now Lets You Remap Controls on the Switch's Joy-Cons

I still don't have a Switch, but this seems like it'd probably open up a lot of games for lefthanded play.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:07 pm

Bought a used Magic Trackpad on eBay. Not sure I can make it my regular pointing device, but I spent a few hours yesterday playing Disco Elysium with it, lefthanded. It worked great for that; I have an awkward time using a standard mouse lefthanded but didn't have any trouble using the trackpad that way.

At the very least I expect I've got more mouse-driven isometric RPGs in my future with this thing. Maybe it's time to finally check out Baldur's Gate.

As far as general use: KDE's gesture support is pretty limited; it supports two-finger scroll, tap-to-click, two fingers for right-click and three for middle-click (or vice-versa if you prefer). No pinch or rotate or any of that stuff; there are third-party workarounds but they sound like the kind of thing I'm not really that interested in fucking around with.

Again, I don't know if I can use it as my daily driver (in part because I spend so much time now switching between my desktop and my work laptop, and re-pairing a Bluetooth device every time I do that sounds like a real PITA), but at minimum it's a useful controller for certain types of games.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:42 pm

Thad wrote:there are third-party workarounds but they sound like the kind of thing I'm not really that interested in fucking around with.


Thad, are you... okay?
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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:21 pm

My interest in tweaking shit sometimes collides with my disinterest in trying to manage basic UI features through unsupported third-party utilities, my ambivalence about control schemes that exist because some guy saw Minority Report, and my sheer horror at sentences like "Touchegg is a multitouch gesture program, that runs as a user in the background, recognizes gestures, translates them to more conventional types of events and/or performs custom actions in response to them."

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Brentai » Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:33 pm

Short version: "I don't want other people tweaking my shit."
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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:22 pm

If I'm gonna use some kind of ugly-ass hack to implement a basic input feature, it better be my ugly-ass hack.

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Re: Lefthanded Video Games

Postby Thad » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:23 pm

...and of course the damn touchpad inexplicably quits working within a week.

Works on Windows (sort of; there's no official driver out of the box and it's not recognized as a touchpad, so none of the gestures work, but it pairs and I can move the pointer and left-click), so it's definitely a problem with my computer, not the trackpad itself. KDE sees it when I set it to pairing mode, but never connects. (Not a general Bluetooth problem, either, as I'm still able to connect to my phone.)

Too bad; I like the thing and would like to get it working. I'm still looking into maybe getting the newer model, which I should be able to wire up and avoid all this Bluetooth tomfoolery, and then not feel too bad about buying two because someday in the next couple of years I expect to go back to the office and it'll be useful to have a second touchpad then.

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