6.1. Introduction To Game Port/ Joy Stick
Nowadays the most common analogue joystick type is PC analogue joystick. This joystick model was presented by IBM together with their first IBM PC computer. The joystick is just a basic analogue joystick with two buttons. The original joystick interfacehad circuit for connecting two joysticks, but had only one joystick connector. A specialY-cable was needed if there was need for two joysticks at the same time. Later time somemanufacturers put two connectors to their interface card and some card manufacturersimplemented only one joystick input. Fortunately most of the card nowadays have optionfor two joysticks like the original IBM joystick card.The joystick interface card was designed to be as simple and cheap as possible. The cardconsisted only of bus interface electronics and four monostable multivibrators (all in on558 chip). Those monostable multivibrators were simple timer circuits which put out apulse with width directly proportional to the joystick resistance value. The pulse widthwas then measured using software loop. This has caused anormous amounts of problemsto game programmers when computers have become faster and faster all the time. Onfaster machines, the joystick routine in the software does not read the joystick signalproperly resulting in a timing problems. Some dedicated joystick cards are designed tovary the joystick signal so the software can properly detect the joystick and process thedata.
The joystick consists of two potentiometers with variable resistance value between 0Ohm and 100 kohm (in some joysticks up to 150 kohm). The potentiometer resistanceshave the minimum values when the joystick is at the top left position. One end of thepotentiometer is connected to +5V pin and the center pin is connected top the analogueinput of the joystick. The other end of the potentiometer is left not connected toanywhere.There are two commonly used ways how PC analogue joystick stick mechanism isconstructed. Some joystick convert the stick position to linear motion, whcih thenchanges the position of the slider in about 100 kohm linear potentiometer. More popularconstruction is to use normal axial potentiometers and the joystick movement directlyturns those potentiometers. Some joystick used special 100 kohm potentiometer whichcan only turn that 60..90 degrees which joytick can turn. The more common constructionis to use the standard 470 kohm (lin) 270 degree potentiomer and use about one fourth of the scale from the beginning (in this way getting 0..120 kohm value range). Usually thosepotentiometers are normal carbon slider potentimeters which do not last long in intensegaming.