Bliss-Box - 4-Play - One Adapter for Many Controllers
Connect any console controller to a computer with up to four players at once. This is the ultimate console controller adapter.
Re-launched scheduled for March 2015
.: What is the 4-Play?
The 4-Play is a universal console-to-USB controller adapter with 4 controller ports which allow up to 4 players to play at the same time on the Windows, Mac, Linux, or the PS3 with almost any controller of their choosing. It uses adapter cables which allow a variety of console controllers to plug into the 4-Play's universal controller port. This allows the 4-Play to support a wide variety of controllers on one USB adapter.
Before the 4-Play, players had to buy USB adapters for each console port. These USB adapters can be had cheaply but still add up the cost quickly. Some of these adapter required drivers and none of them map the buttons in the same way. The 4-Play solves this problem by allowing the player to buy one adapter and a number of low cost cables. for each controller port.
With the 4-Play almost any console controller in the history of gaming can now be used on Windows, OSX, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android, and even the PS3! In fact, the 4-Play does not require the installation of software drivers by the user. It's a plug-and-play device right out of the box. Any operating system that is USB aware and can support USB hubs will work with the 4-Play.
The 4-Play already supports these 17 controller ports:
- Virtual Boy
- Nintendo 64
- Wii Remote Expansion Port (Nunchuck, Classic Controller, etc.)
- PlayStation (1 and 2)
- DB9 (Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Atari 2600, etc.)
- Sega Saturn
- Sega Dreamcast
- DH15 (Atari 5200, Neo Geo, etc.)
- Atari Jaguar
- TurboGrafx-16 Full
- TurboGrafx-16 Mini
- Apple Pippin
More controller ports can easily be added to the 4-Play's repertoire. All that's needed is a new adapter cable and a firmware update which can easily be applied from your PC via the 4-Play's USB port. The number of controllers that the 4-Play could theoretically support is practically limitless. See the Feature List section for a more exhaustive list of what this amazing device is capable of.
.: Using the 4-Play
The 4-Play comes ready to use. No extra assembly is required. Simply connect the 4-Play to the computer via USB. Then plug the controller into its corresponding adapter cable. Plug the cable into the 4-Play, and you're ready to go.
You can now use almost any controller ever made on your computer, Raspberry Pi, or PS3. Old games can be played on emulators the way you remember them: with their original controller. You can even use old school controllers with their excellent D-pads on modern games which require very precise input. Now your multi-emulator arcade machine can support as many controllers as it does games, and all from one simple device.
.: Feature List
- Full Emulation - A huge variety of controllers are fully supported out of the box. Even more complex features like the PS2's pressure sensitive buttons are already implemented. For a very detailed list of what is currently supported, see our full Compatibility List. This list is periodically updated and added to as we gain more insight from our beta testers and continue to work on the firmware.
- Multiplatform - Use your 4-Play on almost any modern operating system. The 4-Play works on Windows, OSX, Linux, Raspberry Pi, and the PS3.
- Out of the Box Ready - The 4-Play needs no software drivers to be installed by the user. Simply plug the 4-Play in and set your emulator or game to use the 4-Play's controller inputs.
- Auto Pause - When a controller is unplugged, the 4-Play automatically pauses the game.
- Auto Pause Detection (Hot Swapping) - The auto pause detection feature makes it easy to switch between controllers mid-game. The 4-Play will auto pause your game while you switch, and you can continue playing when you're ready. The 4-Play automatically detects the new controller.
- Global Button Mapping - The 4-Play's internal button mapping is set up so that buttons on different controllers match each other's layout as exactly as possible. This makes Hot Swapping easier and more intuitive. Of course you can remap the inputs any way you like in your game or emulator. Here are the details on our global mappings.
Force Feedback - Controller rumble works on a wide variety of controllers. The currently supported force feedback controllers are the Nintendo 64, GameCube, PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, and Dreamcast.
Note: To improve this feature we recommend you plug the power adapter into the 4-Play. This adapter is included in the Mega Set, but is sold separately for other sets since it is not required to use the 4-Play.
- UDLR Mode (D-Pad Only Mode) - This puts the 4-Play into a D-Pad only mode which allows the player to use the D-Pad to play a game which requires the analog stick. To activate this mode simply hold Left Shoulder, Right Shoulder, and Pause/Start Button. This causes the 4-Play to interpret the D-Pad inputs to their corresponding analog stick inputs. You can switch this mode off with the same button combo. This allows you to hot swap to non-analog controllers while playing an analog game. This mode is also controller port specific, so Player 1 on the 4-Play can use this mode while other players are in whatever mode they choose.
- Upgrades - The 4-Play can be easily updated via USB with a firmware file which can be downloaded from our website. This allows new features and controllers to be added via a simple firmware upgrade. Each 4-Play controller port has its own firmware chip so multiple firmware versions can be used if desired.
- Developer API - The 4-Play will have an API with which emulator developers can communicate directly with the 4-Play and swap data back and forth. This will allow developers to natively support some of the more advanced features of the 4-Play. For example, developers could use this API to see exactly which controllers are currently connected to the 4-Play for display on the screen or automatic custom remapping. They could natively support saving to the controller's memory card, and even write images to the Dreamcast controller's LCD screen. Support for the GameCube's Gameboy Advanced Link could be added. The possibilities are endless.
.: Kickstarter Exclusive Offerings
The Kickstarter reward version of the 4-Play will have a special translucent purple case for that nice, old-school look reminiscent of the Gameboy Color. It will also be the only version of the 4-Play to utilize the HDMI connector for it's universal controller ports. HDMI is a stronger connector and the cables can be extended more easily. We're calling it the "Torizo Edition" in reference to the notorious enemy in the old SNES classic, Super Metroid.
As for what we'll use in the production version of the 4-Play which we hope to see on store shelves someday, the DisplayPort connector has been selected instead of HDMI because of heavy royalty costs required to use HDMI in mass manufacturing. Don't worry though, we'll still provide the HDMI adapter cables for the replacement of defective or damaged cables. For more questions about the differences between the Kickstarter and future versions of the 4-Play, please see the FAQs section below.
.: The Goal
The 4-Play's design is already complete and our beta testers are helping with the final development of the firmware as we speak. The last remaining barrier to getting the 4-Play to the player is the manufacturing cost. We have found a fabricator to manufacture the 4-Play, but to get the final cost of the product to a reasonable figure the manufacturer requires a large order. Large orders are expensive and Bliss-Box doesn't have the cash to place such a large order on its own. This is why we need your help! Bliss-Box is so close to bringing this awesome product to the market, and crowd funding seems like the perfect solution for a small startup like Bliss-Box.
.: Stretch Goals
- $155,000 - The Single-Play - If this stretch goal is met Bliss-Box will release a single player version of the 4-Play. In addition to all the amazing features of the 4-Play, the Single-Play will add support for all versions of the Xbox (Original, 360, and One). Because none of the Xboxes support USB hubs, the 4-Play could not support these platforms. Hopefully we can reach this stretch goal for you Xbox fans out there!
- $160,000 - Drive Bay 4-Play - For those of you building gaming PCs, why not use a spare drive bay to house a 4-Play for all your PCs controller needs? You'll be able to do just that if this stretch goal is reached.
.: Reward Details
All rewards (except where mentioned otherwise) will be in full retail packaging and include at least 4 adapter cables so no extra purchases are necessary in order to use the 4-Play. The MEGA Pack includes a power adapter that allows the force feedback to work at full capacity. The power adapter is not necessary to use the 4-Play so it is only provided for the MEGA Packs, but for those who want to use the full power force feedback, don't worry. Power adapters can be purchased separately.
.: Choosing Your Adapters
If you've chosen a reward tier which requires you to choose which adapters you want you'll be prompted to fill out a survey. At this time please specify which adapters you'd like to receive. If you do not fill out the survey you will get Sega adapters by default. When filling out the survey, please use the exact naming scheme below (without the description after the dash of course) so that we can handle your request properly:
Sega - For all db9 controllers except the vectrex.
TurboGrafx-16 Full - This is the common port.
TurboGrafx-16 Mini - This is the mini port. Check your controller. PlayStation
Neo Geo - For all dh15 like connectors.
.: "Build Your Own" Rewards Explained
These cables are fabricated for the 4-Play adapter, but could be used for other projects when paired with the HDMI breakout board pictured below. The HDMI connector offers a small, durable, and convenient interface, and this board is readily available on the internet for a cheap price. When paired with our adapter cables it provides a nice way to connect many different controllers to a device of your own.
Our cables are available in a wide variety of rare, hard to find ports such as the PC-FX, Virtual Boy, and Pippin controllers. The wiring schematics for the cables will be publicly available on the our webpage. Check out the "Build Your Own" rewards if you're interested in using our adapter cables for DIY projects. Remember, these rewards DO NOT include the 4-Play device. Only the adapter cables are included, and the retail 4-Play sold after the Kickstarter will use a DisplayPort connector instead of the HDMI connector to lower the cost of the final unit. These "Build Your Own" rewards are for enthusiasts who'd like to use Bliss-Box's adapter cables in their own projects, and we wanted to offer rewards to those who would be interested in that sort of endeavor.
Support will be provided for the 4-Play via our website and on the forums. If the problem is found to be hardware related, the manufacturer will handle your issue and help you get a replacement 4-Play or adapter cable. All firmware issues will be handled by Bliss-Box.
.: The History of Bliss-Box
Bliss-Box started back in 2007. I was looking all over the market for a product that could adapt all the controllers I wanted to the PC for use with emulation, but I couldn't find anything that did what I wanted. I also didn't want to spend tons of money buying all these adapters separately, and there were many controllers I couldn't find adapters for at all.
One day I stumbled onto the work of Raphael at Raphnet and it set me on my journey to create the first Bliss-Boxes myself. I posted about my work online, and soon others were asking me to create custom versions for them. Soon enough the orders for Bliss-Boxes were more than I could handle, so I decided it was time to make a manufactured product to solve this problem for everyone once and for all. The Kickstarter is the final phase of this long journey.
The development of the 4-Play has been an ordeal in and of itself. Because I was dead-set on creating the 4-Play without the use of drivers, I met some difficult limitations early on. You see, the 4-Play uses a USB standard called HID (Human Interface Device). The wonderful thing about this standard is that if a system supports USB, it supports HID. This is what gives the 4-Play its incredibly cross-platform support.
However, there are some limitations with the standard that I had to grapple with early on. How would I transfer the inputs fast enough on a USB 1.1 interface? How would I support complex operations like memory pack saving which are not supported by HID?
Over years of toil I am proud to say that all of these problems have been tackled with the help of Mike at Etonnet and the long hours I've spent writing the code for the firmware. It required some clever tricks, but all the features I had hoped to achieve for the 4-Play have come to fruition or will soon. I hope that someday players will be able to enjoy the 4-Play as much as I have enjoyed developing it.
.: The Future
Bliss-Box has so many more projects we want to work on. From the production of the Single-Play to solving the LCD light gun problem, we're determined to continue the forward march of emulation and games preservation as well as enjoy modern games in ways that were impossible before. The success of this Kickstarter would bring Bliss-Box to a future we thought was much further away. We thank all our backers for their help in making this possible.
.: Open Source
Check out the project page for Bliss-Box and other projects and people that made the 4-Play possible:
Risks and challenges
In many ways this project is already a success. We have a fully working version of the product which is currently in beta testing to finish the firmware development, and we've found a manufacturer to actually build a batch of 4-Plays for the Kickstarter campaign. Our main obstacle is acquiring the capital to actually place an order from our mass-manufacturer, and to finish designing the final retail version of the 4-Play for store shelves (see the FAQs for an explanation of the differences between the Kickstarter 4-Play and the final retail version).
Mike Zhao at Etonnet has agreed to help design the final retail version of the 4-Play. Many prototypes have been tested and we're well on our way to finishing that as well. Mike is one of the easiest people I have ever worked with. He has helped us every step of the way and we truly appreciate his efforts.
For many projects it’s about money or popularity. This is not what Bliss-Box is about. We're gamers and our passion has driven us to address this shortcoming in emulation. It has been achieved with great success, and now we hope we can bring it to you with your help.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (34 days)