An I/O controller for virtual pinball machines: accelerometer nudge sensing, analog plunger input, button input encoding, LedWiz compatible output controls, and more.

Dependencies:   mbed FastIO FastPWM USBDevice

Fork of Pinscape_Controller by Mike R

/media/uploads/mjr/pinscape_no_background_small_L7Miwr6.jpg

This is Version 2 of the Pinscape Controller, an I/O controller for virtual pinball machines. (You can find the old version 1 software here.) Pinscape is software for the KL25Z that turns the board into a full-featured I/O controller for virtual pinball, with support for accelerometer-based nudging, a real plunger, button inputs, and feedback device control.

In case you haven't heard of the concept before, a "virtual pinball machine" is basically a video pinball simulator that's built into a real pinball machine body. A TV monitor goes in place of the pinball playfield, and a second TV goes in the backbox to serve as the "backglass" display. A third smaller monitor can serve as the "DMD" (the Dot Matrix Display used for scoring on newer machines), or you can even install a real pinball plasma DMD. A computer is hidden inside the cabinet, running pinball emulation software that displays a life-sized playfield on the main TV. The cabinet has all of the usual buttons, too, so it not only looks like the real thing, but plays like it too. That's a picture of my own machine to the right. On the outside, it's built exactly like a real arcade pinball machine, with the same overall dimensions and all of the standard pinball cabinet hardware.

A few small companies build and sell complete, finished virtual pinball machines, but I think it's more fun as a DIY project. If you have some basic wood-working skills and know your way around PCs, you can build one from scratch. The computer part is just an ordinary Windows PC, and all of the pinball emulation can be built out of free, open-source software. In that spirit, the Pinscape Controller is an open-source software/hardware project that offers a no-compromises, all-in-one control center for all of the unique input/output needs of a virtual pinball cabinet. If you've been thinking about building one of these, but you're not sure how to connect a plunger, flipper buttons, lights, nudge sensor, and whatever else you can think of, this project might be just what you're looking for.

You can find much more information about DIY Pin Cab building in general in the Virtual Cabinet Forum on vpforums.org. Also visit my Pinscape Resources page for more about this project and other virtual pinball projects I'm working on.

Downloads

  • Pinscape Release Builds: This page has download links for all of the Pinscape software. To get started, install and run the Pinscape Config Tool on your Windows computer. It will lead you through the steps for installing the Pinscape firmware on the KL25Z.
  • Config Tool Source Code. The complete C# source code for the config tool. You don't need this to run the tool, but it's available if you want to customize anything or see how it works inside.

Documentation

The new Version 2 Build Guide is now complete! This new version aims to be a complete guide to building a virtual pinball machine, including not only the Pinscape elements but all of the basics, from sourcing parts to building all of the hardware.

You can also refer to the original Hardware Build Guide (PDF), but that's out of date now, since it refers to the old version 1 software, which was rather different (especially when it comes to configuration).

System Requirements

The new config tool requires a fairly up-to-date Microsoft .NET installation. If you use Windows Update to keep your system current, you should be fine. A modern version of Internet Explorer (IE) is required, even if you don't use it as your main browser, because the config tool uses some system components that Microsoft packages into the IE install set. I test with IE11, so that's known to work. IE8 doesn't work. IE9 and 10 are unknown at this point.

The Windows requirements are only for the config tool. The firmware doesn't care about anything on the Windows side, so if you can make do without the config tool, you can use almost any Windows setup.

Main Features

Plunger: The Pinscape Controller started out as a "mechanical plunger" controller: a device for attaching a real pinball plunger to the video game software so that you could launch the ball the natural way. This is still, of course, a central feature of the project. The software supports several types of sensors: a high-resolution optical sensor (which works by essentially taking pictures of the plunger as it moves); a slide potentionmeter (which determines the position via the changing electrical resistance in the pot); a quadrature sensor (which counts bars printed on a special guide rail that it moves along); and an IR distance sensor (which determines the position by sending pulses of light at the plunger and measuring the round-trip travel time). The Build Guide explains how to set up each type of sensor.

Nudging: The KL25Z (the little microcontroller that the software runs on) has a built-in accelerometer. The Pinscape software uses it to sense when you nudge the cabinet, and feeds the acceleration data to the pinball software on the PC. This turns physical nudges into virtual English on the ball. The accelerometer is quite sensitive and accurate, so we can measure the difference between little bumps and hard shoves, and everything in between. The result is natural and immersive.

Buttons: You can wire real pinball buttons to the KL25Z, and the software will translate the buttons into PC input. You have the option to map each button to a keyboard key or joystick button. You can wire up your flipper buttons, Magna Save buttons, Start button, coin slots, operator buttons, and whatever else you need.

Feedback devices: You can also attach "feedback devices" to the KL25Z. Feedback devices are things that create tactile, sound, and lighting effects in sync with the game action. The most popular PC pinball emulators know how to address a wide variety of these devices, and know how to match them to on-screen action in each virtual table. You just need an I/O controller that translates commands from the PC into electrical signals that turn the devices on and off. The Pinscape Controller can do that for you.

Expansion Boards

There are two main ways to run the Pinscape Controller: standalone, or using the "expansion boards".

In the basic standalone setup, you just need the KL25Z, plus whatever buttons, sensors, and feedback devices you want to attach to it. This mode lets you take advantage of everything the software can do, but for some features, you'll have to build some ad hoc external circuitry to interface external devices with the KL25Z. The Build Guide has detailed plans for exactly what you need to build.

The other option is the Pinscape Expansion Boards. The expansion boards are a companion project, which is also totally free and open-source, that provides Printed Circuit Board (PCB) layouts that are designed specifically to work with the Pinscape software. The PCB designs are in the widely used EAGLE format, which many PCB manufacturers can turn directly into physical boards for you. The expansion boards organize all of the external connections more neatly than on the standalone KL25Z, and they add all of the interface circuitry needed for all of the advanced software functions. The big thing they bring to the table is lots of high-power outputs. The boards provide a modular system that lets you add boards to add more outputs. If you opt for the basic core setup, you'll have enough outputs for all of the toys in a really well-equipped cabinet. If your ambitions go beyond merely well-equipped and run to the ridiculously extravagant, just add an extra board or two. The modular design also means that you can add to the system over time.

Expansion Board project page

Update notes

If you have a Pinscape V1 setup already installed, you should be able to switch to the new version pretty seamlessly. There are just a couple of things to be aware of.

First, the "configuration" procedure is completely different in the new version. Way better and way easier, but it's not what you're used to from V1. In V1, you had to edit the project source code and compile your own custom version of the program. No more! With V2, you simply install the standard, pre-compiled .bin file, and select options using the Pinscape Config Tool on Windows.

Second, if you're using the TSL1410R optical sensor for your plunger, there's a chance you'll need to boost your light source's brightness a little bit. The "shutter speed" is faster in this version, which means that it doesn't spend as much time collecting light per frame as before. The software actually does "auto exposure" adaptation on every frame, so the increased shutter speed really shouldn't bother it, but it does require a certain minimum level of contrast, which requires a certain minimal level of lighting. Check the plunger viewer in the setup tool if you have any problems; if the image looks totally dark, try increasing the light level to see if that helps.

New Features

V2 has numerous new features. Here are some of the highlights...

Dynamic configuration: as explained above, configuration is now handled through the Config Tool on Windows. It's no longer necessary to edit the source code or compile your own modified binary.

Improved plunger sensing: the software now reads the TSL1410R optical sensor about 15x faster than it did before. This allows reading the sensor at full resolution (400dpi), about 400 times per second. The faster frame rate makes a big difference in how accurately we can read the plunger position during the fast motion of a release, which allows for more precise position sensing and faster response. The differences aren't dramatic, since the sensing was already pretty good even with the slower V1 scan rate, but you might notice a little better precision in tricky skill shots.

Keyboard keys: button inputs can now be mapped to keyboard keys. The joystick button option is still available as well, of course. Keyboard keys have the advantage of being closer to universal for PC pinball software: some pinball software can be set up to take joystick input, but nearly all PC pinball emulators can take keyboard input, and nearly all of them use the same key mappings.

Local shift button: one physical button can be designed as the local shift button. This works like a Shift button on a keyboard, but with cabinet buttons. It allows each physical button on the cabinet to have two PC keys assigned, one normal and one shifted. Hold down the local shift button, then press another key, and the other key's shifted key mapping is sent to the PC. The shift button can have a regular key mapping of its own as well, so it can do double duty. The shift feature lets you access more functions without cluttering your cabinet with extra buttons. It's especially nice for less frequently used functions like adjusting the volume or activating night mode.

Night mode: the output controller has a new "night mode" option, which lets you turn off all of your noisy devices with a single button, switch, or PC command. You can designate individual ports as noisy or not. Night mode only disables the noisemakers, so you still get the benefit of your flashers, button lights, and other quiet devices. This lets you play late into the night without disturbing your housemates or neighbors.

Gamma correction: you can designate individual output ports for gamma correction. This adjusts the intensity level of an output to make it match the way the human eye perceives brightness, so that fades and color mixes look more natural in lighting devices. You can apply this to individual ports, so that it only affects ports that actually have lights of some kind attached.

IR Remote Control: the controller software can transmit and/or receive IR remote control commands if you attach appropriate parts (an IR LED to send, an IR sensor chip to receive). This can be used to turn on your TV(s) when the system powers on, if they don't turn on automatically, and for any other functions you can think of requiring IR send/receive capabilities. You can assign IR commands to cabinet buttons, so that pressing a button on your cabinet sends a remote control command from the attached IR LED, and you can have the controller generate virtual key presses on your PC in response to received IR commands. If you have the IR sensor attached, the system can use it to learn commands from your existing remotes.

Yet more USB fixes: I've been gradually finding and fixing USB bugs in the mbed library for months now. This version has all of the fixes of the last couple of releases, of course, plus some new ones. It also has a new "last resort" feature, since there always seems to be "just one more" USB bug. The last resort is that you can tell the device to automatically reboot itself if it loses the USB connection and can't restore it within a given time limit.

More Downloads

  • Custom VP builds: I created modified versions of Visual Pinball 9.9 and Physmod5 that you might want to use in combination with this controller. The modified versions have special handling for plunger calibration specific to the Pinscape Controller, as well as some enhancements to the nudge physics. If you're not using the plunger, you might still want it for the nudge improvements. The modified version also works with any other input controller, so you can get the enhanced nudging effects even if you're using a different plunger/nudge kit. The big change in the modified versions is a "filter" for accelerometer input that's designed to make the response to cabinet nudges more realistic. It also makes the response more subdued than in the standard VP, so it's not to everyone's taste. The downloads include both the updated executables and the source code changes, in case you want to merge the changes into your own custom version(s).

    Note! These features are now standard in the official VP releases, so you don't need my custom builds if you're using 9.9.1 or later and/or VP 10. I don't think there's any reason to use my versions instead of the latest official ones, and in fact I'd encourage you to use the official releases since they're more up to date, but I'm leaving my builds available just in case. In the official versions, look for the checkbox "Enable Nudge Filter" in the Keys preferences dialog. My custom versions don't include that checkbox; they just enable the filter unconditionally.
  • Output circuit shopping list: This is a saved shopping cart at mouser.com with the parts needed to build one copy of the high-power output circuit for the LedWiz emulator feature, for use with the standalone KL25Z (that is, without the expansion boards). The quantities in the cart are for one output channel, so if you want N outputs, simply multiply the quantities by the N, with one exception: you only need one ULN2803 transistor array chip for each eight output circuits. If you're using the expansion boards, you won't need any of this, since the boards provide their own high-power outputs.
  • Cary Owens' optical sensor housing: A 3D-printable design for a housing/mounting bracket for the optical plunger sensor, designed by Cary Owens. This makes it easy to mount the sensor.
  • Lemming77's potentiometer mounting bracket and shooter rod connecter: Sketchup designs for 3D-printable parts for mounting a slide potentiometer as the plunger sensor. These were designed for a particular slide potentiometer that used to be available from an Aliexpress.com seller but is no longer listed. You can probably use this design as a starting point for other similar devices; just check the dimensions before committing the design to plastic.

Copyright and License

The Pinscape firmware is copyright 2014, 2021 by Michael J Roberts. It's released under an MIT open-source license. See License.

Warning to VirtuaPin Kit Owners

This software isn't designed as a replacement for the VirtuaPin plunger kit's firmware. If you bought the VirtuaPin kit, I recommend that you don't install this software. The VirtuaPin kit uses the same KL25Z microcontroller that Pinscape uses, but the rest of its hardware is different and incompatible. In particular, the Pinscape firmware doesn't include support for the IR proximity sensor used in the VirtuaPin plunger kit, so you won't be able to use your plunger device with the Pinscape firmware. In addition, the VirtuaPin setup uses a different set of GPIO pins for the button inputs from the Pinscape defaults, so if you do install the Pinscape firmware, you'll have to go into the Config Tool and reassign all of the buttons to match the VirtuaPin wiring.

VL6180X/VL6180X.h

Committer:
mjr
Date:
12 months ago
Revision:
109:310ac82cbbee
Parent:
90:aa4e571da8e8

File content as of revision 109:310ac82cbbee:

// VL6180X Time of Flight sensor interface

#ifndef _VL6180X_H_
#define _VL6180X_H_

#include "mbed.h"
#include "BitBangI2C.h"


#define VL6180X_IDENTIFICATION_MODEL_ID              0x0000
#define VL6180X_IDENTIFICATION_MODEL_REV_MAJOR       0x0001
#define VL6180X_IDENTIFICATION_MODEL_REV_MINOR       0x0002
#define VL6180X_IDENTIFICATION_MODULE_REV_MAJOR      0x0003
#define VL6180X_IDENTIFICATION_MODULE_REV_MINOR      0x0004
#define VL6180X_IDENTIFICATION_DATE                  0x0006  // NB - 16-bit value
#define VL6180X_IDENTIFICATION_TIME                  0x0008  // NB - 16-bit value
 
#define VL6180X_SYSTEM_MODE_GPIO0                    0x0010
#define VL6180X_SYSTEM_MODE_GPIO1                    0x0011
#define VL6180X_SYSTEM_HISTORY_CTRL                  0x0012
#define VL6180X_SYSTEM_INTERRUPT_CONFIG_GPIO         0x0014
#define VL6180X_SYSTEM_INTERRUPT_CLEAR               0x0015
#define VL6180X_SYSTEM_FRESH_OUT_OF_RESET            0x0016
#define VL6180X_SYSTEM_GROUPED_PARAMETER_HOLD        0x0017
 
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_START                       0x0018
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_THRESH_HIGH                 0x0019
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_THRESH_LOW                  0x001A
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_INTERMEASUREMENT_PERIOD     0x001B
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_MAX_CONVERGENCE_TIME        0x001C
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_CROSSTALK_COMPENSATION_RATE 0x001E
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_CROSSTALK_VALID_HEIGHT      0x0021
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_EARLY_CONVERGENCE_ESTIMATE  0x0022
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_PART_TO_PART_RANGE_OFFSET   0x0024
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_RANGE_IGNORE_VALID_HEIGHT   0x0025
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_RANGE_IGNORE_THRESHOLD      0x0026
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_MAX_AMBIENT_LEVEL_MULT      0x002C
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_RANGE_CHECK_ENABLES         0x002D
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_VHV_RECALIBRATE             0x002E
#define VL6180X_SYSRANGE_VHV_REPEAT_RATE             0x0031
 
#define VL6180X_SYSALS_START                         0x0038
#define VL6180X_SYSALS_THRESH_HIGH                   0x003A
#define VL6180X_SYSALS_THRESH_LOW                    0x003C
#define VL6180X_SYSALS_INTERMEASUREMENT_PERIOD       0x003E
#define VL6180X_SYSALS_ANALOGUE_GAIN                 0x003F
#define VL6180X_SYSALS_INTEGRATION_PERIOD            0x0040
 
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_STATUS                  0x004D
#define VL6180X_RESULT_ALS_STATUS                    0x004E
#define VL6180X_RESULT_INTERRUPT_STATUS_GPIO         0x004F
#define VL6180X_RESULT_ALS_VAL                       0x0050
#define VL6180X_RESULT_HISTORY_BUFFER                0x0052 
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_VAL                     0x0062
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_RAW                     0x0064
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_RETURN_RATE             0x0066
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_REFERENCE_RATE          0x0068
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_RETURN_SIGNAL_COUNT     0x006C
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_REFERENCE_SIGNAL_COUNT  0x0070
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_RETURN_AMB_COUNT        0x0074
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_REFERENCE_AMB_COUNT     0x0078
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_RETURN_CONV_TIME        0x007C
#define VL6180X_RESULT_RANGE_REFERENCE_CONV_TIME     0x0080
 
#define VL6180X_READOUT_AVERAGING_SAMPLE_PERIOD      0x010A
#define VL6180X_FIRMWARE_BOOTUP                      0x0119
#define VL6180X_FIRMWARE_RESULT_SCALER               0x0120
#define VL6180X_I2C_SLAVE_DEVICE_ADDRESS             0x0212
#define VL6180X_INTERLEAVED_MODE_ENABLE              0x02A3
 
// gain settings
enum VL6180X_ALS_Gain 
{
    GAIN_20 = 0,    // 20
    GAIN_10,        // 10.32
    GAIN_5,         // 5.21
    GAIN_2_5,       // 2.60
    GAIN_1_67,      // 1.72
    GAIN_1_25,      // 1.28
    GAIN_1,         // 1.01
    GAIN_40,        // 40 
};

// identification
struct VL6180X_ID 
{
    uint8_t model;              // model number
    uint8_t modelRevMajor;      // model revision number major...
    uint8_t modelRevMinor;      // ...and minor
    uint8_t moduleRevMajor;     // module revision number major...
    uint8_t moduleRevMinor;     // ... and minior
    struct
    {
        uint8_t month;          // month 1..12
        uint8_t day;            // day of month 1..31
        uint16_t year;          // calendar year, 4-digit (e.g., 2016)
        uint8_t phase;          // manufacturing phase, 0..7
        uint8_t hh;             // hour, 0..23
        uint8_t mm;             // minute, 0..59
        uint8_t ss;             // second, 0..59
    } manufDate;                // manufacturing date and time
};

// range statistics
struct VL6180X_RangeStats
{
    uint16_t returnRate;        // return signal rate
    uint16_t refReturnRate;     // reference return rate
    uint32_t returnCnt;         // return signal count
    uint32_t refReturnCnt;      // reference return count
    uint32_t ambCnt;            // ambient count
    uint32_t refAmbCnt;         // reference ambient count
    uint32_t convTime;          // convergence time
    uint32_t refConvTime;       // reference convergence time
};

class VL6180X
{
public:
    // Set up the interface with the given I2C pins, I2C address, and
    // the GPIO0 pin (for resetting the sensor at startup).  
    //
    // If 'internalPullups' is true, we'll set the I2C SDA/SCL pins to 
    // enable the internal pullup resistors.  Set this to false if you're
    // using your own external pullup resistors on the lines.  External
    // pullups are better if you're attaching more than one device to the
    // same physical I2C bus; the internal pullups are fine if there's only
    // one I2C device (in this case the VL6180X) connected to these pins.
    //
    // Note that VL6180X's I2C address is always 0x29 at power-on.  The
    // address can be changed during a session, but there's no way to save
    // the value persistently on the VL6180X, so it always resets to 0x29 
    // on the next power cycle.  As a result, I see little reason to ever
    // change it during a session.
    VL6180X(PinName sda, PinName scl, uint8_t addr, PinName gpio0,
        bool internalPullups);
    
    // destruction
    ~VL6180X();

    // Send the required initialization sequence.  Returns true on
    // success, false on failure.
    bool init();

    // set up default settings
    void setDefaults();
    
    // Start a distance reading, returning immediately without waiting
    // for the reading to finish.  The caller can poll for the finished
    // reading via distanceReady().
    void startRangeReading();

    // Get TOF range distance in mm.  Returns 0 on success, a device
    // "range error code" (>0) on failure, or -1 on timeout.
    //
    // 'tMid' is the timestamp in microseconds of the midpoint of the
    // sample, relative to an arbitrary zero point.  This can be used
    // to construct a timeline of successive readings, such as for
    // velocity calculations.  'dt' is the time the sensor took to
    // collect the sample.
    int getRange(
        uint8_t &distance, uint32_t &tMid, uint32_t &dt, 
        uint32_t timeout_us);
    
    // get range statistics
    void getRangeStats(VL6180X_RangeStats &stats);

    // set continuous distance mode
    void continuousDistanceMode(bool on);
    
    // is a sample ready?
    bool rangeReady();

    // get identification data
    void getID(VL6180X_ID &id);

protected:
    // READOUT_AVERAGING_SAMPLE_PERIOD setting.  Each unit represents
    // 64.5us of added time beyond the 1.3ms fixed base period.  The
    // default is 48 units.
    static const int averagingSamplePeriod = 48;

    // I2C interface to device
    BitBangI2C i2c;
    
    // GPIO0 pin for hard reset
    DigitalInOut gpio0Pin;
    
    // device address
    uint8_t addr;
    
    // current distance mode: 0=single shot, 1=continuous
    bool distMode;
    
    // range reading is in progress
    bool rangeStarted;
    
    // sample timer
    Timer sampleTimer;

    // time (from Timer t) of start of last range sample
    uint32_t tSampleStart;

    // read registers
    uint8_t readReg8(uint16_t regAddr);
    uint16_t readReg16(uint16_t regAddr);
    uint32_t readReg32(uint16_t regAddr);

    // write registers
    void writeReg8(uint16_t regAddr, uint8_t data);
    void writeReg16(uint16_t regAddr, uint16_t data);
};
 
#endif