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2 Gravis Gamepads Possible?

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First post, by enaiel

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I bought 2 Gravis Gamepads (not the Pro version) for my DOS only machine, since they scream "DOS", unlike other joysticks that are more suited for Windows games. But I'm having a hard time getting 2 of them to work in multiplayer games like Lotus. I have a YMF744 PCI card with a gameport, and an integrated SBPro with a gameport as well. At first I tried to use two gameports, one at port 201 and the other at port 202, but only the one at port 201 would work. Then I read this thread which suggested that most games only check port 201 so I would need a Y-Splitter cable to connect 2 gamepads. I purchased such a cable (pics below), but it only partially works. One gamepad works fine, but in the second gamepad only the D-pad works, the buttons don't respond. Since the cable is designed especially for such a function, my questions are:

  1. Is the cable faulty? It looks clean, and I even sprayed it with a contact cleaner and compressed air, but no luck.
  2. Do the YMF744 and the integrated SBPro both not support dual joysticks? I find that hard to believe.

Any other explanations? Has anyone been successful in running Lotus with 2 Gravis Gamepads?

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Socket 370 / VIA C3 1.0 GHz / S3 Trio64V2/DX + Trident Blade3D / SBPro + YMF744 + AWE64

Reply 1 of 23, by imi

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there are only 4 digital inputs for buttons on a gameport.

the gravis gamepad probably uses the analog X/Y inputs for the dpad and the 4 buttons for well the buttons, there are 2x analog X/Y inputs on the gameport, hence why the dpad on the second gamepad works probably.

for using two of them you'd need a seperate gameport card.

I'd have assumed that both gamepads would work but only with 2 buttons each, maybe the cable is designed to only have the secondary X/Y on the second connector idk.

Reply 2 of 23, by cyclone3d

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If I remember correctly, there should be switches on the gamepads to switch between single player, player 1, and player 2. I only have the gamepad pro so not 100% sure about this.

When hooking up two gamepads to a single port, you will only get the use of 2 buttons on each gamepad when configured properly. Even the Gravis Eliminator Gameport card seems to say that you will only get 2 buttons per controller when using that dual port card.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 3 of 23, by enaiel

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@imi

I already tried with 2 gameports and it did not work either. Games seem to be only looking at port 201 as per the thread I linked in the first post, which is why I got the splitter cable.

@cyclone3d

I only need 2 buttons. The non-Pro version does not have any player select button unfortunately.

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Socket 370 / VIA C3 1.0 GHz / S3 Trio64V2/DX + Trident Blade3D / SBPro + YMF744 + AWE64

Reply 4 of 23, by enaiel

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I used TMScope from this thread and I'm able to test both gamepads fully if they are in different gameports. Too bad no game works that way.

When I tested both gamepads in the same port using the splitter cable, TMScope does not detect the buttons from the second gamepad either. Looks like a defective cable 🙁

Socket 370 / VIA C3 1.0 GHz / S3 Trio64V2/DX + Trident Blade3D / SBPro + YMF744 + AWE64

Reply 6 of 23, by enaiel

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imi wrote on 2020-10-29, 23:37:

you could try and rewire the cable so you get two buttons each

But why would a cable designed to do just that need to be rewired to do what it was designed for? Did they ship a defective cable? Or did the seller slip a MIDI splitter in the box for a Joystick splitter?

Socket 370 / VIA C3 1.0 GHz / S3 Trio64V2/DX + Trident Blade3D / SBPro + YMF744 + AWE64

Reply 8 of 23, by cyclone3d

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I would say the joystick splitter is not made properly.

It may only work properly with gamepads/joysticks that only have 2 buttons each.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 10 of 23, by enaiel

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2020-10-30, 00:22:

It could just be used for keeping two joysticks always connected and used one at a time. Like a game pad and flight stick and only used one at a time

But the back of the box says:

Note: Game port or sound card must support two controllers for the Y adapter to allow two game input devices to operate simultaneously.

cyclone3d wrote on 2020-10-30, 01:32:

I would say the joystick splitter is not made properly.

It may only work properly with gamepads/joysticks that only have 2 buttons each.

The back of the box also has a pic of a Joystick and a Gamepad connected simultaneously, but I agree that the splitter is not made propertly.

dionb wrote on 2020-10-30, 02:08:

Not sure about those cables, but I have no trouble with Gravis Gamepads with my ISA dual gameport card.

Good to know that. Then I will most probably look out for another cable. Anyone have any experience with this one: https://www.pccables.com/JOYSTICK-SPLITTER.html

Socket 370 / VIA C3 1.0 GHz / S3 Trio64V2/DX + Trident Blade3D / SBPro + YMF744 + AWE64

Reply 12 of 23, by Jorpho

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enaiel wrote on 2020-10-29, 18:28:

But I'm having a hard time getting 2 of them to work in multiplayer games like Lotus.

The obvious thing to do would be to check the manual, but I can't seem to find one for the DOS version. There's http://www.replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.2172 , but all it says is "If Player Two selects the joystick, then he should have the joystick plugged into port 1 (0 on ST)", which is not helpful.

What other games have you been looking at?

chrismeyer6 wrote on 2020-10-30, 00:22:

It could just be used for keeping two joysticks always connected and used one at a time. Like a game pad and flight stick and only used one at a time

Or it could be used for keeping a joystick and a MIDI device connected; I think those use entirely different pins (though I could be wrong).

In any case, there's certainly no shortage of useless junk cables out there that serve no purpose. (Cables with USB-A male connectors on both ends, for instance. Or the useless VGA-to-RCA things.)

Reply 14 of 23, by renejr902

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I know that a few gameport only support 1 gamepad 1 axis and only 2 buttons. Be sure to try your Y-cable with both soundcard you have. Try each soundcard separately in your system ( Just test with 1 soundcard in your system for testing) with the Y-cable. If that doesnt work i have no idea. Y-Cable work fine with 2 gamepad and 2 buttons for each, with one soundcard in a system, if the gameport on it support 2 axis and 4 buttons.

Reply 15 of 23, by enaiel

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I ran TMScope with one gamepad in each gameport, and I was able to test all 4 buttons of each gamepad, so I know there is no problem with either the gamepads or the gameports. So it has to be a cable problem. Unfortunately no games support 2 gameports, but only 2 joysticks in one gameport 🙁

Socket 370 / VIA C3 1.0 GHz / S3 Trio64V2/DX + Trident Blade3D / SBPro + YMF744 + AWE64

Reply 16 of 23, by renejr902

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enaiel wrote on 2020-10-31, 00:12:

I ran TMScope with one gamepad in each gameport, and I was able to test all 4 buttons of each gamepad, so I know there is no problem with either the gamepads or the gameports. So it has to be a cable problem. Unfortunately no games support 2 gameports, but only 2 joysticks in one gameport 🙁

Im not 100% sure your cable is defect because if my memory is good from 1995, i think i could not get 2 gravis gamepad working with a Y-splitter cable. But all others gameport gamepad from any other brand work with the Y-splitter cable. When i was young i had 5 or 6 differents gameport gamepad or joystick controllers.

Now i have 4 of them but no more Y-splitter cable.

Reply 17 of 23, by Jorpho

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enaiel wrote on 2020-10-29, 20:50:

I only need 2 buttons. The non-Pro version does not have any player select button unfortunately.

I don't know where you found your image, but I took a look at the package for my old Gravis pad just now, and it does not suggest that switch is for toggling auto-fire. It's really kind of unexpected that two-player mode would be passed up in favor of that.

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And to further clarify: the inputs for "joystick 1" and "joystick 2" are normally found on completely different pins of the game port.
https://allpinouts.org/pinouts/connectors/inp … ck-pc-gameport/

Reply 18 of 23, by firage

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Yeap, gameports provide two X/Y sets of directional inputs and four buttons in total. The gamepad's button mode switch sets the two extra buttons up as turbo fire, and then it should only use two per controller.

I suppose it is just a matter of having the properly wired splitter. On yours one of the Y ports doesn't connect the buttons (?).

My big-red-switch 486

Reply 19 of 23, by Jorpho

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firage wrote on 2020-10-31, 23:13:

Yeap, gameports provide two X/Y sets of directional inputs and four buttons in total. The gamepad's button mode switch sets the two extra buttons up as turbo fire, and then it should only use two per controller.

Maybe some pads out there work that way, but there's nothing about turbo-fire on the packaging for my gamepad. I am assuming that there are simply DOS games out there that are written to use four-button gamepads, and that those games do not support two joypads connected with a Y-cable.

So, in that case, the gamepad's button switch would simply control whether the red and yellow buttons are configured to send signals along the pins for Joystick 1 or for Joystick 2.

Or it could be that the splitter takes care of everything.