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Q&A FAQ (In progress) - Updated 04/15/02

Q (from Brian) : I just got my new Hotrod SE and it works great. One question: I noticed that the left joystick is mapped to the arrow keys on the keypad - not the regular arrow keys that are the normal default for ROMs. The joystick is actually mapped to num8, num6, num2 and num4. I can obviously change all my games to these keys, but it doesn't make sense why it would have come like that. Do you have any suggestions?
A : IMHO, the buttons are mapped to the numpad keys to keep some compatibility with older keyboard which doesn't have the four arrow keys

Q (from DMA) : I'm curious as to how you hacked the dijoy.cfg file to work with the hot rod. I own an i-pac with my own homemade keyboard, but I don't use the numpad directional keys, I use the actual arrow keys and would like to setup impact to use them.
A : Impact is outdated, use Zinc instead ;)
A2 : Ok, I hacked the dijoy.cfg file with a hexadecimal editor, and changed the default keyboard ascii codes with the hotrod ones ... A lot of work consisted in figure out the structure of the cfg file

Q : Has anyone had any experience daisy-chaining a 2nd joystick with the HotRod, or know why it would or wouldn't run into this same problem if I were to use an I-Pac instead of a keyboard hack?
A : The I-Pac would probably work with the Hotrod SE, since it is a keyboard pass through. Using an I-Pac, or another encoder is a better idea than a keyboard hack.

Q : How can I reproduce an overlay like the one on Hanaho's Hotrod ?
A : The material Hanaho uses is called GE Lexan 10 mil Suede/Mat Polycarbonate. It comes in clear transparent rolls, and the printers print the graphics (silk screen) on the back side of this. By printing the graphics on the back it insures that the graphics WILL NOT rub off. Once it's dry a 3m adhesive is added, then cut, packaged and shipped to me.

Q : Whenever I press the top middle button (button 2?) on Player 1 the damn thing always jumps to the 'FILE' button at the top of the window
A :
What you're describing sounds like you're running a game/emulator in a window. This has only happened to me when I'm running certain emulators in a window. FinalBurn used to do this with me also if I played it in a window (unless you pressed Escape to toggle the Options bar off or played in full screen), but most emus don't normally give you that option. Usually, going to full screen solves this problem, but if that's not an option or it doesn't work for you then you'll have to re-map the HotRod's keys (you only have to re-map the buttons that are acting up, btw).

As for what they were thinking when they chose the keys, my guess is they were trying to avoid ghosting problems (I know what you mean, though...many times I have wished they had stayed far away from L. Ctrl and ALT).

Q : My System doesn't recognize my HotRod
A : The HotRod consists into a PS/2 keyboard encoder and a passthru for a keyboard. Therefore, there is no need for Windows to detect it since it acts like a keyboard.

Q : I would like to map the 'ESC' key on my HOtRod in order to quit MAME. What could I do ?
A : Just map the ESC key by pressing both P1 & P2 start buttons at the same time ...

Q : Playing 4-way games is a real pain (Mame)
A4 : If you think the sticks are too short, you can replace the supers with competitions very easily. Don't know if it will satisfy sensitivity issues
A5 : Download my special MAME version, 8MAME !!

Q : AdvanceMAME doesn't recognise my HotRod anymore, even if I add the hotrodse=1 in my cfg, what's goin'on ?
A1 : AdvanceMAME doesn't support the HotRodSE anymore. You'll have to reconfigure all buttons manually. However, you can download the NeoGeo cfg pack in the files section, so that all neogeo games will have the normal 4-button layout plus, as a bonus, three hotkeys !!!
Here's a interesting post from Prophet of retrogames about this : http://www.geocrawler.com/archives/3/14936/2001/11/150/7021334/

Older Q&A's

Q : I changed my computer/motherboard and my HotRod doesn't work anymore !
A1 : Did you plug all cables correctly ?
A2 : Since you changed your computer or motherboard, changing the passthru cables might help.

Q : I can't map 1st player top-middle button !
A : This button corresponds to the 'Alt' key. This key isn't recognized by all emulators (i.e NeoRageX). So, you have to download my config-files or try to hack yourself the confg files ...

Q : When I play any of the dos version of some emulators, if i hit a few buttons simultaneously, it will switch back to my desktop. This doesnt happen with a Win32 based emulator
A : Disable some of the Windows shortcut keys in the shortcut of your DOSMAME shortcut icon.

Q : Sometimes when I go into a game the joystick moves up and down or left and right by itself.
A1 : Get the latest Service Pack for your operating system.
A2 : Get Win2k SP1 or higher, use DirectInput for keyboard.
A3 : Try going into the properties panel in Mame32 and switching the input device from Keyboard to Hotrod SE.
A4 : Disable all joysticks under Mame32 *AND* Windows.

Q : When I'm playing a game my character 'locks up' as if one particular key is held down. If I rapidly shake left/right on the joystick it 'unlocks' the keypress
A1 : Installing Win2k SP1 or higher can fix things a little bit.
A2 : Use DirectInput for keyboard w/ SP1 to eliminate ghost keyboard/hotrod
A3 : If you're using a Dell or Compaq computer, this could be a problem within the keyboard controller so it's not a software/config problem.
A3 : If your hotrod makes your computer "beep" and causes buttons to "stick", this is a problem with your motherboard and not the hotrod/keyboard driver etc. I know for a fact that the hotrod does not work well with the "intel Tabor II BX System Board".
This system board is a Pentium II or Pentium III system board that uses the Intel 440BX chipset. It was used by Dell and Gateway during Summer to Winter 99. The BIOS (even the last version released, is very limited, and doesn't allow you to set key buffers etc.) *If you have one of these boards DON'T buy a hotrod as it will just irritate you! (2 player games are a joke on this type of board)*.
There's however a solution : there are PS2 to USB adapters available here and there, but also at HanaHo. On the other hand, the ECS K7VZA board is perfect for the hotrod and is a pleasure to play on !
A4 : When this happens to me, after going back to windows to type, I found the 'lock' keys were inverted - i.e. If numlock was 'on' it had the effect of not being on - similarly for capslock and scroll lock. To fix it, I just had to press the left shift key - NOT on the hotrod, but on the keyboard. Any time I play now, I unplug the keyboard from the hotrod - and have since NEVER had the 'sticking' happen again! Perhaps it has something to do with propagating the 'numlock' signal through the hotrod all the time? (Numlock is always turned on during bootup).
[courtesy of John Mc G. and Conway Ho]

Q : Playing 4-way games is a real pain (Mame)
A1 : Enable 'Steadykey' option in your mame.ini or mame.cfg file
A1 : You can disassemble the stick and underneath the joystick there is a rubber thingy that if you flip around will change the joystick to 4 way... not the easiest method as it involves disassembly. *UPDATE* Check this out for a step by step how-to
A2 : Go into the game settings for your four way game and set the controls -- for absolute left -press enter to enter the command sequence and quickly input left, up, up, down, down which will translate into left - not up not down... if you do this for the 4 directions, you won't have the NE type problems anymore.
A3 : <From Mame 0.37 beta 14 whatsnew.txt>
- Changed 4-way emulation on a 8-way joystick to "sticky" mode. This makes Lady Bug and other 4-way games more playable. Explanation here
[Jeoff Krontz]

Q : Arg !I I can't map the coin 1 - coin 2 buttons to left & right flippers in VPinMAME !!!
There's not a unique solution and the 'bug' which prevents setting your HotRod is not configuration related !
The problem is that keys are hardcoded into .vbs filetables, so you'll have to edit these .vbs files for each table in order to get things to work !

1st step :
You'll have to configurate your HotRod in "preferences > keys" in Visual Pinball as you wish (left flipper=3, right flipper=4, plunger= ...)

2nd step :
Edit the .vbs file and search for these lines (or search only for 'coin' until you get something similar to this) :

Private Const keyInsertCoin1 = 4 '(3) Insert coin in slot 1
Private Const keyInsertCoin2 = 5 '(4) Insert coin in slot 2

Now, change them to

Private Const keyInsertCoin1 = 46 '(C) Insert coin in slot 1
Private Const keyInsertCoin2 = 42 '(LSHIFT) Insert coin in slot 2

46 and 42 being the ASCII scancodes for the keyboard (these values stands for the two down-left player buttons on the joystick).
You can put any values you want (decimal mode, not hexadecimal)

3rd step :
Save and play !

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