Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Quiz game buzzers revisited

About a year ago I picked up a set of "Buzz! Buzzers" USB quiz buttons in a charity shop, and I've been trying to figure out how to do something useful with them.

The main idea was to build a simple setup for running a quiz game, of course. Except I got busy doing other things, no longer work in education, etc. However, I think it's still a possibility for e.g. quizzes at SF conventions, so (having decided not to give them to a charity shop) I've done some more thinking about how to make this work, preferably on my iBook G4 since that's my laptop.

The Buzz! Buzzer units have four controllers connected to a single USB cable. Each controller has a big button for "hit the button fast" rounds and four smaller buttons for multiple choice rounds. They're recognised as joystick buttons 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, and 16-20 on a Windows PC, with the first button on each controller the big one.

It turns out that the USB Overdrive X program (shareware) can detect them on a Mac and convert the button presses into keystrokes. What I want to write is a program that will either see who pressed the main controller button first, or record the first button each player presses for a multiple choice round.

My starting point for this is this article

which mentions Chipmunk Basic, a very small Basic for macs. I've installed it and it works OK, as does the sample program in the article.

What I was hoping here is that someone here might have some old Basic program listings for this purpose that I can try to adapt to work with this combination of hardware and software, since I'm no great fan of reinventing the wheel.


later - forgot to say that the basic program does work with the big red buttons on the controllers. I suspect that getting the multiple choice buttons to work properly won't be so easy.

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