MiSTer Lightguns Via SNAC

Lon Seidman recently released a video discussing SNAC, the “Serial Native Accessory Converter” for the MiSTer FPGA project.  It’s a very basic overview of the concept, but I think it’s an excellent introduction for people looking to get started.

I also agree 100% with his recommendations:  SNAC is only necessary with peripherals that rely on the original timings of the console and at the moment, light guns for use on CRT’s is the only scenario most people would need SNAC for.  Here’s a basic “cheat sheet” of what you’d need for the most common use case:

  • Just playing games on MiSTer = USB Adapter/Hub and pretty much any USB controller.  Check this list for the lowest lag controllers:
  • Using original controllers on MiSTer = Low latency USB adapter.  My favorites are the Daemonbite from Mick Gyver and the Raphnet, but there’s a few others out there.  Check their latency on the database linked above – The lag is so low, it should be considered “zero” for everything except light guns.
  • Using a Wiimote as a light gun on both a CRT and flat-panels = Video coming soon 🙂
  • Play original light gun games on a CRT with their original gun controllers = SNAC solution.  At the moment, the best option is a single main SNAC adapter, plus a second adapter that accepts the original controller.

There is one scenario in which I’d recommend using a SNAC adapter as a main controller:  If you want CRT light gun support for your favorite console and you’re on a budget.  I’ve seen plenty of people pick up a cheap USB wireless keyboard for configuration and to launch games, as well as something like an NES SNAC solution.  This will allow them light gun support on CRT’s, as well as use of original controllers on any display.  While you’re limited to using SNAC for only one player, I think this is a great solution for people who want to try out everything MiSTer has to offer when connected to a CRT and will help them decide which adapters they’d like to invest in next.

If you’d like more info on controller adapters and the MiSTer project, I’d highly recommend checking out an interview Artemio did with Mick Gyver and Porkchop Express:

Also, if you’d like more general info about the MiSTer project, Lon and I recently did a panel at Retro World Expo discussing it.  While it’s mostly beginner-focused, it was still a fun chat with Lon, so experts might appreciate it as well for that:

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