Quantum3D(TM) Announces New Version of Game Control Interface (GCI) for Coin- Op, LBE and Vis-Sim Markets (PR Newswire; 01/27/98)
New GCI Features Improved Form Factor as Well as Support for Microsoft(R) DirectInput(TM)
ATEI, LONDON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ Quantum3D(TM), Inc. announced at the Amusement Trades Exhibition International (ATEI) show that it has developed a second generation Game Control Interface (GCI(TM)) for PC-based coin-op, kiosk, location based entertainment and visual simulation applications. This new generation of GCI provides a unique, low-cost subsystem designed to interface coin-op and industrial input/output control devices personal computers that run Microsoft Windows(R) 95, Windows NT(R) and DOS(R). Compliant with the JAMMA standard for coin-op I/O, GCI is also a reference-level hardware peripheral in the current version of the Open Arcade Architecture (OAA) platform specification. More information on the OAA platform specification may be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.openarcade.com.
The GCI bridges the gap between traditional arcade style controls such as analog joysticks, steering wheels, buttons and coin-mechanisms and Intel architecture PCs. The GCI allows both arcade and consumer game developers to design video games for "out-of-home" venues without worrying about the specific electrical, mechanical, and software aspects of coin-op I/O devices which greatly increases developer productivity and reduces publishers' time to market. This new GCI version features an improved form factor that simplifies PC integration, as well as enhanced hardware and software capabilities that improve system responsiveness while increasing the numbers and types of controls that may be supported concurrently.
The new version of GCI includes support for Microsoft(R) DirectInput(TM) the input component of Microsoft DirectX(TM) (both DX3 and DX5). This new software capability will further enable PC game developers targeting Windows 95 to bring their consumer level games to the coin-op market. Thadapter, Direct Input and GCL driver software binaries, test programs, wiring harness design guide, and a Quantum3D Gameframe(TM). Actually a family of realtime input development stations that enable developers to prototype the actual look and feel of their final game. The Gameframe series was designed for Quantum3D by Streak Technology, a leading manufacturer of arcade cabinets. Gameframe provides developers with arcade-style layouts of Happ Controls, Inc. player and coin-mech controls-configured in a transportable module that greatly simplifies and adds considerable fidelity to the coin-op human interface development effort. Gameframe configurations currently offered by Quantum3D include three of the most popular coin-op game genres: Driving, Flying, and 2-Player/First Person Perspective.
"Quantum3D's game control interface will speed up development time," says Matt Wasnick, producer at HanaHo APC. "The enhanced GCI will allow developers to utilize credit and input/output information with a variety of devices on our ArcadePC systems."
The new GCI features a unique form factor that enables the unit to fit into either a PCI or ISA bus slot for mechanical attachment only. Communications between the GCI and the PC are via a standard RS-232 serial interface, using a 14-byte packet protocol that is optimal for 16550A UART controllers the standard for Intel architecture PCs. Power for the GCI is provided via a 4-pin Molex style disk driver power connector which is also a standard for PCs. And since the GCI does not actually interface to the PCI or ISA bus for either power or signals, the unit may also be mounted elsewhere within the coin-op game cabinet externally to the PC.
The GCI supports a wide variety of I/O devices and system control features, including eight analog inputs, two optical device inputs, 16 discrete inputs, four discrete outputs, eight dedicated coin-op signals, eight dedicated security/alarm inputs, a programmable watch dog controller/register and a 128- byte non-volatile EEPROM for OEM customization. With these I/Os, the GCI nominally supports the following devices: analog and digital joysticks, steering wheels, buttons, optical guns and trackballs, coin/token mechanisms and bill acceptors. Expansion modules for coin/ticket dispensers, force feedback devices, and other special input/output devices will be available later in 1998.
Pricing and Availability Quantum3D will sell GCI in three formats: as a standalone product, as part of a coin-op integrators' bundle that includes a Quantum3D Obsidian(TM) 100SB realtime 3D accelerator, or as part of a Quantum3D Quicksilver(TM) integrated visual computing system. The unit MSRP for the standalone GCI is $250. Integrator pricing for 100+ unit quantities for the coin-op bundle that includes the GCI and Obsidian 100SB-4440V is $1,000 representing a savings of more than 50% than if purchased separately. The pricing for the GCI Developers Kit is $2,795. The GCI and GCI Developers Kit are currently in Beta testing. Both products will be generally available later this quarter. Qualified developers may apply to enter the GCI Beta program by contacting Quantum3D.