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USB Missile Launcher NZ – Development Update 12 January 2007

Posted by David Wilson in USB Missile.

Good News:

Huge success tonight. I at last have been able to read data back from the DreamCheeky Rocket Launcher. This means that I can detect when the launcher has reached a point beyond which it should not travel (i.e. full up, full left, full right, full down).

There is some work to do now to actually use the information that I have above, though that should be relatively straight forward now.

I have also impletemented two preference options as requested by YOU!

  • Disable the camera – so that it doesn’t come on when the program starts
  • Reverse of arrow keys (well the left and right anyway).

Bad News:

I will be away for a week or so shortly. No e-mail, no Internet!

I do not have any time now to complete the DreamCheeky USB changes. This will unfortunately have to wait.

Better News:

My faulty machine, as reported below, was diagnosed as requiring a new motherboard, but was fortunately covered by the Apple Repair Extension program for the eMac. It was estimated to be 2 weeks before the parts were available and this should be about the same time I get back from holiday.

All the best.

Aim Carefully!



1. Chad Trexler - 28 January 2007

I got my dad a missile launcher (the Dream Cheeky one) for Christmas and set it up for him with your app on his Powerbook G4 (Aluminum). He’s now having problems with the software having really long lag times between when you click the aim buttons (or any others) and when the missile launcher actually moves. It doesn’t happen all of the time, but it happens enough that he rarely uses it because it doesn’t work properly. Any ideas on what might be wrong and how to fix it?


2. David Wilson - 28 January 2007

Hi Chad….

Firstly, thank you for the comments. The feedback is appreciated (good or bad).

Secondly… I have had a few reports of issues (2 really odd) in the last 4-6 weeks. And I have not received enough evidence that has allowed me to diagnose a fault (that doesn’t me that there isn’t one). In one of the cases the software would not work on what I thought was a high spec machine.

Thirdly… My main development machine died between Christmas and New Year – and it’s still in the shop waiting for parts and that’s meant that I really have been unable to do any development for almost a month now. 😦

OK, onto diagnosing the issue with your dad’s machine and the DreamCheeky launcher.
– One of this issues I had was trying to run the software on a 400MHz G4 tower. It hasn’t run well. Slight movement of the launcher and the spinning beachball.
– I did find evidence in the system.log or console.log file (can’t remember which) of a USB transaction timeout. The implication here is that I haven’t coded things correctly (maybe – I’m still learning the USB side of things).
– What are the spces of your dad’s powerbook? (memory and cpu speed).
– Can you run the “Console” program – it’s in the utilities folder – click the “logs” button in the top left of the window. Look at either the system.log file or the console.log file.
– Now run the rocket launcher software and ask the launcher to move about…
– see if anything appears in either of the log files and send me the output please.

I have a new machine now that has enabled me to carry on with the development work (I’ve had the machine for 2 days now). The new version of the software currently in development has the following changes:
– updated kext drivers for DreamCheeky and the USB Missile Launcher (may make a difference in your case, then again, may not)
– Added preference option to reverse arrow keys
– Added preference option to disable camera on startup
– Added USB feedback from DreamCheeky (now detects when the Rocket Launcher has reached the end of its travel limits)

What I want to do now (preferably before the next release):
– I want try communicating with the launchers at their interface level rather than the device level – this may be a resolution to the USB communications (beachball – USB Transaction timeouts) that some people are encountering.
– I want to add in more USB error code detection

3. spodumene - 30 January 2007

Super awesome program! I’m using your windows version and it is 1000% better than the dreamcheeky version. Any chance you might get this update implemented for windows? The MFG software locks up on my main box (running 2003 server so i can use all 4gb ram) but works decent on a different XP box. Your version works great, but i fear the “click…click” when i hold the button down too long. Also, have you considered adding command line support, DDE, etc so other apps can interact with it? that would take it to a whole new level of awesome!

4. spodumene - 30 January 2007

( p.s. “Launcher.exe /fire” could have devastating consequences when combined with a task scheduler… imagine the possibilities )

5. spodumene - 30 January 2007

p.p.s. i just realized that the windows version i downloaded was from a comment and actually ported by someone totally separate.. oops!

6. David Wilson - 31 January 2007


err… yes. As you realised I have not written a Windows version of the Launcher software. However others have. I have setup a windows page on this web site where people can comment and sahre.


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