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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:37 am 
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I'm itching to try to write a Logo interpreter, but first I'd need a way for the user to type in a program. Which video game consoles had a QWERTY keyboard? I can think of only a few:
  • VideoBrain Family Computer
  • Odyssey2
  • CreatiVision
  • Nintendo Family Computer (DA15 peripheral, for Japan only)
  • Dreamcast
  • PlayStation 2 (USB)
  • Seventh generation and later (USB)

There was supposed to be a "Workboy" organizer with a keyboard for the original Game Boy. It was previewed in Nintendo Power, but it never reached stores.

Was a keyboard ever released for the PC Engine? Or would it have made it too much PC and not enough Engine? Perhaps Hudson and NEC wanted to emphasize the "Turbo" part, and "TurtleGrafx-16" would have undermined that.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:28 pm 
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It was more a matter that keyboards on consoles back then really didn't make sense at all (and these days they only make sense with the browser since almost nothing else really supports them).

The Saturn had a keyboard with a rather easy protocol, so there's that. On Japan you had proper keyboards, in the US there was just an adapter to turn PS/2 keyboards into Saturn ones (that said, those are probably much easier to get). Given that the Saturn's I/O port is basically Mega Drive's with a different shape (i.e. the same 9 lines are there) I imagine this won't be much of a trouble to adapt to other systems.

The Atari 2600 had this. Ew. (although I suppose you could grab three or four keypads and use your own labels, then somehow multiplex between them)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:19 am 
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Have you tried a C64 or one of the 8-bit Atari computers?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:37 am 
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The PCE had an unreleased keyboard for its unreleased Modem/BASIC/Graphics editor:

Image

http://www.chrismcovell.com/TsushinBooster/index.html

Incidentally, the emulator Mednafen supports the PCE keyboard's protocol, since the Tsushin Booster ROM had detection code for it.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:28 am 
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Yeah, mednafen supports the keyboard in emulation. I wanted to make a tracker program for the PCE (on the real hardware) that could use it (that, and a Dungeons of Daggorath port). I was thinking a modern keyboard to PCE keyboard scan code converter. Maybe something akin to an atmel mcu. The PCE already has an official mouse; the two would be great together.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:28 pm 
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Gamecube had one. It looks hilarious, because it's in the middle of a controller.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:45 pm 
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ccovell wrote:
Incidentally, the emulator Mednafen supports the PCE keyboard's protocol, since the Tsushin Booster ROM had detection code for it.

Huh, are the scancodes for it known?

This reminds me about how the keypad protocol on the Mega Drive looks like it could have been originally intended for the keyboard, since it has room for 80 keys (the keyboard shown in the Beep magazine had 72, the keypad has 24), and the organization of the used keys doesn't seem to follow any pattern (so it's not just wasted space from using scanlines). On top of that it shares the same device ID in the ROM header ("K").

EDIT: also found my documentation on the keyboard protocol used by XBand (Mega Drive), which takes PS/2 keyboards through an adapter, but unless you have the adapter it's probably not worth it (getting the Saturn adapter and then rewiring that would be much easier).


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:19 pm 
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Sik wrote:
ccovell wrote:
Incidentally, the emulator Mednafen supports the PCE keyboard's protocol, since the Tsushin Booster ROM had detection code for it.

Huh, are the scancodes for it known?

Tomaitheous can fill more in probably, but the keyboard acts like a PCE Tap with 5 controllers all attached, each with different keypresses. PCE games with the proper code can detect the keyboard's signature and map its reading to the keyboard.

Emulating it was more or less a matter of emulating the detection protocol, and then using the Tsushin Tool
Image
to see what character each button press appeared as.

The keyboard was modeled after the PC-8801 keyboard (Thumb Shift standard), so it had special "thumb shift" keys which needed remapping to English (and/or JIS) keyboards.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:20 pm 
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The Sega Keyboard http://segaretro.org/Sega_Keyboard is compatible with Sega SG-1000, SG-1000 II and Mark III, but not with Master System.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:30 pm 
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Pokun wrote:
The Sega Keyboard http://segaretro.org/Sega_Keyboard is compatible with Sega SG-1000, SG-1000 II and Mark III, but not with Master System.

How can something which works on the Mark III not work on the SMS?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:39 pm 
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A couple of ways. The Western SMS BIOS does a checksum of a cartridge, while the JP SMS doesn't.

Also, the joystick port's data/direction lines are handled differently between the regions, making some of the peripherals incompatible too.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:40 pm 
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Actually, in this case it has to do with the fact that the keyboard uses a port that's missing in later models (it uses an 11-pin port if I recall correctly). I thought it was missing on the Mark III too, though. I didn't mention it before because I'm not sure if the pin count would make it feasible to use with the PCE (through an adapter).

As for incompatibilities, yeah, there's the firmware thing (Mega Drive doesn't have the firmware but also won't work with Mark I/II stuff due to missing video modes). As for the I/O ports, it should work from Mark III to Master System (not the other way): the issue is that the former has the pin direction hardwired (except for two of them) while the latter allows assigning the direction for all of them.


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