Switch & Emulation News: n0rx0r mods Nintendo Switch Joy-Con with a capactive trackpad instead of an analogue stick and RetroArch 1.8.7 released with fullspeed Neo Geo CD on the Vita, basic networking on the 3DS and more!
This time around, we have something a little different as n0rx0r managed to replace a Joy-Con’s analogue stick with a capactive trackpad in order to combat the boredom brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll also be looking at the release of RetroArch 1.8.7 in this article which brings some welcome additions and improvements.
n0rx0r mods a Joy-Con with a capactive trackpad instead of an analogue stick
Due to the disruption and lock-downs brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, n0rx0r (Matteo Pisani) decided to do something creative with his time and this culminated in a brand new way to control the Nintendo Switch!
Through a post on Medium that comes with various images, Matteo Pisani describes the process of creating the capactive trackpad mod for the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con which involved:
- Sketching what the modded Joy-Con would look like while also making a tongue-in-cheek pros list which features the infamous Joy-Con Drift issue
- Opening up a Joy-Con to figure out how it works then drawing schematics on KiCad to design the new components needed in order to drive the capactive touchpad in place of the analogue stick
- Afterwards, tests were performed with the aforementioned components through Arduino which allowed Matteo to figure out how the Switch interfaces with the analogue joystick and the button included within
- At this point, a working solution was devised but this was shrinked down so as not to detract from one of the Switch’s main selling points which is handheld gaming
- An enclosure was created for the capactive touchpad in which the circuitry could be housed together with a top cover
- Testing was then performed which showed the modded Joy-Con working perfectly!
While n0rx0r acknowledges that his mod will only appeal to a niche market, he stated that if there’s enough demand, he would happily produce a small batch through the crowd-funding website Tindie.
You may read more about how n0rx0r’s mod came to be by reading this Medium post.
RetroArch 1.8.7 released with full-speed Neo Geo CD emulation on the Vita, basic networking on the 3DS and more
Switching focus over to emulation, RetroArch 1.8.7 has been released just 11 days after RetroArch 1.8.6’s release. For those still in the dark about it, RetroArch is an all-in-one emulation solution that combines together various emulators and game engines (called cores) while presenting a common interface, a wide range of features while also providing support for various platforms and hacked consoles including Windows, macOS, the PSVita, the Switch, the 3DS, the PlayStation 3 and many many more.
This update, which is not as major compared to some others, still packs in some punch and its release post mentions the following changes:
- The NeoCD (Neo Geo CD) core on the PSVita now runs at full-speed provided that the console is overclocked (it’s unclear whether the 444 or 494MHz mode is being referred to)
- The 3DS version of RetroArch has obtained support for basic networking and Cheevos (RetroArch’s achievement-like notifications)
- The Wii U’s port has obtained working graphics widgets resulting in OSD notifications no longer being plain yellow text
- Some significant netplay regressions introduced in RetroArch 1.8.5 were fixed
- This could have been a reason for why this release came so quickly after RA 1.8.6
- The MaterialUI driver, which is used as the default user interface on mobile devices, has received a new way to view playlists that provides a desktop-like experience in a landscape orientation
- Cheevos are no longer initalised when they’re disabled and the ‘Use Global Core Options’ is now disabled by default
- It’s now possible to use the menu configuration and configuration file directories as fall-backs for storing shader presets when the Video Shader directory can’t be written to
Other than RetroArch, some standalone emulators have been released over the past 2 days namely YabaSanshiro 3.2 Beta 2 and No$GBA 3.02. On the PSVita front, CustomBootSplashBMP has been released by Team CBPS member ‘teakhanirons‘ which is a fork of Princess of Sleeping’s CustomBootSplash that takes 960×544 24-bit BMP files as input rather than files generated by a special convertor.