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NeGcon

nefco.net, negcon controller
The neGcon "neh-gee-con", from the Japanese "nejiru", 捻る, "to twist" is a third-party controller for the PlayStation manufactured by Namco

Contents

  • 1 Design
  • 2 Mechanism
  • 3 Use
  • 4 Clones and compatible systems
  • 5 Variants
  • 6 Reception
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References

Designedit

The neGcon was an unusual design in that the left and right halves of the controller were connected by a swivel joint and thus the halves could be twisted relative to each other The full extent of this twist was available to the console as an analogue measurement

Also unusual for its time were the buttons The regular PlayStation controller of the time featured all-digital controls with a D-Pad on the left; R1, R2, L1, and L2 shoulder buttons; triangle, circle, square, and X buttons on the right; plus select and start buttons in the center area of the controller The neGcon removed the L2 and R2 buttons as well as the select button The neGcon replaced the digital circle and triangle buttons with digital A and B buttons, and also replaced the R1 shoulder button with a digital R shoulder button The neGcon featured the digital D-Pad as one area similar to competing console's controllers and unlike the plus-shaped configuration of the official PlayStation controller

The remaining buttons received more elaborate treatment The X and square buttons were replaced with analogue Ⅰ and Ⅱ buttons These buttons were in a recessed well and had approximately 7mm of travel The user's thumb could be rested on the edge of the well, with the tip reaching over the edge to press the Ⅰ and Ⅱ buttons This allowed the tip of the thumb to be accurately pivoted to depress the Ⅰ and Ⅱ buttons varying distances This allowed very precise control with little learning The L shoulder button was also analogue, with about 5mm of travel The R shoulder button had a 5mm throw like the L shoulder button but activated only a digital sensor

Mechanismedit

Interior of 1st gen model

The neGcon worked by means of gears turning the shafts of potentiometers This system greatly reduced the logic required in the controller important at the time compared to a quadrature encoder-based system by removing the need for self-calibration and converting relative position to absolute position The center pivot of the neGcon utilized a ring-gear driving a pinion on the shaft of the potentiometer, while the 3 analogue buttons each employed a rack driving similar pinions These systems were large, with two potentiometers in the left half of the controller for the L shoulder button and center pivot and two potentiometers in the right half of the controller for the Ⅰ and Ⅱ buttons Lack of space inside the unit precluded an analogue R shoulder button However, extended use caused the swivel joint to wear2

Useedit

The neGcon's design was prompted by Namco's desire to accurately replicate the dual-lever controls of their arcade game Cyber Sled on the PlayStation3

The design of the neGcon, while initially seeming very unwieldy, was in fact very good for racing gamescitation needed The analogue Ⅰ and Ⅱ buttons were typically used as the accelerator and brake, and the swivel in the middle was used as steering input

The neGcon could be gripped with the fists facing forward and the thumbs upwards, as if holding the edges of a bowtie steering wheel Twisting the arms at the elbows would turn the hands around a circle, as well as twist the wrists relative to each other, producing steering input Although this was the most natural way to use the controller, the twisting of the right wrist would move the thumbs a bit and inadvertently modulate the gas and/or brake inputs Because of this, most users would migrate to a different grip over time, one where the right hand stayed stationary and modulated the gas and brake, while the left hand twisted the left half of the controller to modulate the steering

Examples of racing games that took advantage of the neGcon are the original PlayStation iterations of the Ridge Racer series Ridge Racer Type 4 also supported the Namco Jogcon, Gran Turismo, Motor Toon Grand Prix 2, Destruction Derby, Colin McRae Rally, TOCA Touring Cars, Rally Cross, V-Rally and the Pole Position games on Namco Museum volumes 1 and 3, as well as Ridge Racer V on the PlayStation 2 The WipEout series including Wipeout Fusion on the PS2 also supported the neGcon The number of non-racing games which supported the neGcon was limited, almost strictly confined to Namco's Ace Combat series which also carried over to PS2 Tempest X3, based on the rotary-controlled Tempest arcade game, is also supported4 Although the neGcon was not strictly protocol-compatible with the standard PS1 controller, Sony's libraries seemed to support the neGcon as a standard controller even at launch Because of this, a neGcon could be used in most games that didn't require the use of R2, L2 or select buttons It even worked in the built-in ROM memory card librarian and CD player programs However, due to the long throw of the Ⅰ and Ⅱ buttons, the neGcon was not a top-quality substitute for a regular PS1 controller In particular, games that required rapid button pressing of the square or X buttons were difficult to play well

Gran Turismo 3 and 4 for the PS2 do not support the neGcon This had the effect of breaking compatibility with neGcon-compatible steering wheel controllers for the most part though Le Mans 24 Hours and World Rally Championship set the control mode to "digital" allowed for compatibility GT3 and GT4 are compatible with the standard PS2 DualShock 2 which provides analog throttle and brake input For finer control than the short-throw DualShock 2 buttons offered, a user could use a Logitech-produced wheel which was specifically produced for these games The Logitech wheels were large and non-portable but were well matched to the Gran Turismo games

Clones and compatible systemsedit

Many 3rd-party steering wheel controllers were produced for the original PlayStation which pretended to be neGcons at a protocol level This allowed these accessories to be used with the large number of neGcon-compatible racing games, the first of which shipped concurrently with the PS1 as a launch title The popularity of these neGcon-compatible steering wheel controllers greatly exceeded that of the neGcon itself

Namco's volume controller and the identical retro controller packaged with Puchi Carat was a paddle controller for the PlayStation and it is partly compatible with the neGcon Turning the dial outputs the same analog signal as twisting the neGcon, and its two buttons match the neGcon's A and B buttons This means that a neGcon can be used in its place, for example in the game Puchi Carat

Variantsedit

There is also a black version of the neGcon This is rarer than the standard white version It is also considered more ergonomic

Receptionedit

According to Electronic Gaming Monthly, upon release in Japan the neGcon "received rave reviews from the gaming press because of its unusual design, shape and method of control"5

See alsoedit

  • Jogcon

Referencesedit


  1. ^ "Namco neGcon Controller" The Centre for Computing History 
  2. ^ Sawh, Michael 2012-03-23 "20 Worst game accessories ever: 9 NeGcon" t3com Future Publishing Limited 
  3. ^ "Cybersled" Maximum: The Video Game Magazine Emap International Limited 5: 50 April 1996 
  4. ^ ""Video Game Peripheral List" at Bobby Tribble's web page" Homecomcastnet 1998-08-16 Retrieved 2013-12-04 
  5. ^ "In Total Control: Companies Take Aim at Gamers with New Gadgets" Electronic Gaming Monthly Ziff Davis 80: 16–18 March 1996 

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    29.10.2014


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