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Bringing old gear online for fun and profit.

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  • Bringing old gear online for fun and profit.

    So, every year I try and bring old crap to Defcon for people to try their hands at, and there's something that simply is magical about having several people that are hacking away around the keyboard of a vintage machine conversing with eachother. I do not wish to do this via emulation and take the easy way out... so I want to use real hardware (illogically).

    Might be a Commodore 64, might be the 5x86/133 that I still have not built yet for the conference, or something completely different, I don't know yet.

    While casting the video and audio in a somewhat latency free way is a small challenge (I mean I COULD just stick a camera infront of a CRT, but it would not be ideal, so I would likely be using video capture instead that I've been playing with), it certainly I think can be done using OBS virtualcam through jitsi, discord, or other ways (twitch would add too much lag in my opinion for a fluid experience), a much larger problem would be how to replicate this 'nerds sitting around a computer sharing/passing around a keyboard/controller' experience I enjoy being a catalyst of. Discord would likely work for the talking part, but how to do the keyboard interface and exclusive control that could be passed to people....

    Perhaps some sort of web app that could map a keyboard would be in order. That would not work for mice/joysticks unless there was some kind of hid passthrough to patch in whatever the user wanted to use. There would have to be a timeout in case someone hangs control of it, and a way to 'pass the control' to someone else in a easy manor (perhaps a voting system? IDK!). Then there's the issue of actually mapping the controls to a physical device. While it would be fun to just solder a bunch of relays to a defunt and failing c64 keyboard, there's probably a much better and easier way... Especially for AT/PC.

    Has anyone done something like this before or have resources that a beginner could use to hack some kind of shared and horrible interface, client side web app, and server side passthrough app together?

  • #2
    Shitty terrible MS paint rendition of what I intend if I did not state things properly.

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    • #3
      So, I had looked into this, There are projects for a Arduino to control the C64 keyboard, you can use a analog router IC to handle that, Also, there is a project called https://computernewb.com/collab-vm/ that does VNC and does a kind of wait in line system where you can click in, wait for your turn, then you get 40 seconds to do what you are going to do. then it moves to the next person. Also as a vote reset option so if the machine hardlocks you can reset it.

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