[Coco] Re: What it is, and Hi-Res Interface Musings - was RE: What's this?

Michael Crawford mrmikecrawford at rogers.com
Sun Aug 27 20:32:19 EDT 2006

Anyone looking for the Rat Graphics Package... let me know, I have a 
clean/unhacked .DSK image of it.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Andrew" <keeper63 at cox.net>
To: <coco at maltedmedia.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2006 7:00 PM
Subject: [Coco] Re: What it is,and Hi-Res Interface Musings - was RE: What's 

> Thought I would post my own reply on this...
> Like everyone else said, it is a high-resolution joystick interface 
> adaptor, which plugs into the cassette and joystick port, then a single 
> joystick plugs into the other end, etc (like everyone else said).
> There was a small review of it in the October 1987 issue of the Rainbow 
> (page 130) - it originally sold for $9.95. In the February 1988 issue of 
> the Rainbow, there is an article by Duane M. Perkins called "Programming 
> for the Hi-Res Joystick Interface" (page 122), which presents both the 
> machine language code and a BASIC program which POKEs it in and uses it in 
> a simple manner.
> I don't know if these devices are rare or not - probably about equal with 
> other CoCo equipment, maybe a little more rare as there wasn't much Radio 
> Shack software that took advantage of it. Most software that did was made 
> by third parties (such as CoCo Max III). Interestingly, there are also 
> other Hi-Res interface adaptors, which came out after the Tandy model.
> One of them was "made" and sold by HAWKSoft. I put "made" in quotes 
> because I have it here in front of me, and one side of the case has 
> "TANDY" on it, and on the other side is a printed label for HAWKSoft, 
> reading "HAWKSoft Dual Hi-Res Joystick Adapter" - underneath the label, 
> the original Radio Shack label is visible.
> On one end is the two cables to plug into the joystick and cassette ports. 
> On the other end is the port to plug in the joystick or mouse (indeed, 
> using one of these with the dual-button mouse is a dream). Here is where 
> it gets interesting, and is likely why it is "rebadged" by HAWKSoft: On 
> one side of the adaptor is a 4-pin DIN plug - I don't have my manual to 
> this adaptor handy, so I don't know what this is for. On the side where 
> the cables are, are three switchs. One, in the middle of the case (between 
> the cables) is a simple slide switch - this may be a standard switch (ie, 
> found on the RS adaptor as well), or it may have been added. The other two 
> switches are round lever toggles, which do not appear on the standard RS 
> adaptor. If I remember correctly, the toggles are for using it with 
> different programs, and the slide switch is for bypassing the interface. 
> Ultimately, it looks like this adaptor is a modified version of the 
> standard Tandy interface.
> I just rummaged thru my boxes of stuff, seeing if I could find the manual, 
> and all I could come up with was some hand written notes I had made 
> myself. I tend to wonder if it came with a manual at all. I have never 
> thrown away any of my CoCo stuff, and I found many other manuals from the 
> same time period (15-20 years ago), like my CM-8 manual and many others. 
> Anyhow, I figure that if there was a manual, why would I have hand written 
> notes? Anyhow, my scrawled notes read that if you have both toggle up, it 
> is for "ColorWare (CoCo Max)", both down is Low-Res. If the "left" one is 
> up and the "right" one is down (looking toward the switches, TANDY logo UP 
> and HAWKSoft label down), then that is the "Tandy" mode. No idea what the 
> opposite is for (if anything). Also, the port on the side is a passthru 
> port for the cassette interface, and the slide switch is an enable/disable 
> for the adaptor - on is to the right, so when the switch is in this 
> position, the adaptor is usable, otherwise the cassette interface is used.
> Something I wonder about is whether the other position might be for 
> Diecom's Rat Graphic Design package? I know that package used its own 
> custom mouse and/or dongle as a copy protection measure - does anybody 
> have this package? Does anybody know if this package is available for 
> download somewhere (since Dave Dies let us know all of Diecom's stuff is 
> PD, a download should be legal)?
> Also, some other things I was pondering on about the joysticks and 
> high-res interfaces for the CoCo: Number one, does anybody know if it is 
> possible to hook up a standard two-button serial mouse to the bit-banger 
> serial port or RS-232 pak? In theory, the RS-232 pak should almost be a 
> "no-brainer", since it is a standard RS-232 port - you would just need to 
> program a driver to read the port and interpret the results - but what 
> about the bit-banger port? Has anybody done this?
> Secondly, has anybody ever tried to "increase" the resolution of the 
> standard joystick port in software? What I mean by this is by using 
> "dynamic scaling", similar to mouse acceleration used by PCs (I think). 
> Basically, you read the values from the joystick port (0-63 on both axes), 
> and you compare "this value" with the "next value", and adjust the scalar 
> value to multiply by based on the difference. Thus, if you move the mouse 
> quickly while reading the port, the differences in successive reads will 
> be large, so you multiply by a larger value (up to 15), if the differences 
> are small, you multiply by small amounts (down to 1). Maybe you could also 
> use the differences just to note and tell "where/which way" the joystick 
> is being moved, and adjust in that manner (some form of predictive 
> read-ahead positioning algo?), also taking into account the differences 
> and multiplying properly as above.
> Another idea I was thinking about was the possibility of hooking up a 
> standard PC or Nintendo game-pad (albeit with a ton of hacking on the 
> internals) to the CoCo. Even a simple Atari joystick could be fun. Another 
> idea would be to somehow build an interface adaptor for a standard serial 
> mouse to the joystick interface...
> -- Andrew L. Ayers
>    Glendale (Phoenix), Arizona
> -- 
> Coco mailing list
> Coco at maltedmedia.com
> http://five.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/coco 

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