Controller reading code
This page contains example code for reading the NES controller.
See also: Controller reading
The result byte buttons should be placed in zero page to save a cycle each time through the loop.
; we reserve one byte for storing the data that is read from controller .zeropage buttons .res 1
When reading from JOYPAD* what is read might be different from $01/$00 for various reasons. (See Controller reading.) In this code the only concern is bit 0 read from JOYPAD*..
JOYPAD1 = $4016 JOYPAD2 = $4017
This is the end result that will be stored in buttons. 1 if the button was pressed, 0 otherwise.
This subroutine takes 132 cycles to execute but ignores the Famicom expansion controller. Many controller reading subroutines use the X or Y register to count 8 times through the loop. But this one uses a more clever ring counter technique: $01 is loaded into the result first, and once eight bits are shifted in, the 1 bit will be shifted out, terminating the loop.
; At the same time that we strobe bit 0, we initialize the ring counter ; so we're hitting two birds with one stone here readjoy: lda #$01 ; While the strobe bit is set, buttons will be continuously reloaded. ; This means that reading from JOYPAD1 will only return the state of the ; first button: button A. sta JOYPAD1 sta buttons lsr a ; now A is 0 ; By storing 0 into JOYPAD1, the strobe bit is cleared and the reloading stops. ; This allows all 8 buttons (newly reloaded) to be read from JOYPAD1. sta JOYPAD1 loop: lda JOYPAD1 lsr a ; bit 0 -> Carry rol buttons ; Carry -> bit 0; bit 7 -> Carry bcc loop rts
Adding support for controllers on the Famicom's DA15 expansion port and for player 2's controller is straightforward.
.zeropage buttons1: .res 1 buttons2: .res 1 .code readjoy: lda #$01 sta JOYPAD1 sta buttons2 ; player 2's buttons double as a ring counter lsr a ; now A is 0 sta JOYPAD1 loop: lda JOYPAD1 and #%00000011 ; ignore bits other than controller cmp #$01 ; Set carry if and only if nonzero rol buttons1 ; Carry -> bit 0; bit 7 -> Carry lda JOYPAD2 ; Repeat and #%00000011 cmp #$01 rol buttons2 ; Carry -> bit 0; bit 7 -> Carry bcc loop rts
DPCM Safety using Repeated Reads
If your code is intended to be used with APU DMC playback, this code will need to be altered. The NES occasionally glitches the controller port twice in a row if sample playback is enabled, and games using samples need to work around this. For example, Super Mario Bros. 3 reads each controller's data at least two times each frame. First it reads it as normal, then it reads it again. If the two results differ, it does the procedure all over.
One controller example:
readjoy_safe: jsr readjoy reread: lda buttons pha jsr readjoy pla cmp buttons bne reread rts
Because repeated rereads can take a long time, another way is to just use the previous frame's button press data if the results differ. Note that this is a compromise: if the player presses or releases a button between the two reads, this will interpret that as a corrupt read. Unfortunately, there's no way for it to tell the difference.
DPCM Safety using OAM DMA
Because DPCM reads may only occur on an odd cycle, it is possible to get glitch-free controller reads by timing all $4016/$4017 reads to fall on even cycles. This is made possible by the behavior of OAM DMA: the first cycle after an OAM DMA is guaranteed to be an even cycle.
This is a relatively new technique, and is not entirely supported by emulators.
lda #OAM sta $4014 ; ------ DMA ------ ldx #1 ; even odd <- strobe code must take an odd number of cycles total stx controller1 ; even odd even stx $4016 ; odd even odd even dex ; odd even stx $4016 ; odd even odd even read_loop: lda $4017 ; odd even odd EVEN <- loop code must take an even number of cycles total and #3 ; odd even cmp #1 ; odd even rol controller2, x ; odd even odd even odd even (X = 0; waste 1 cycle and 0 bytes for alignment) lda $4016 ; odd even odd EVEN and #3 ; odd even cmp #1 ; odd even rol controller1 ; odd even odd even odd bcc read_loop ; even odd [even]
Note that this example routine only reads two controllers and does not take enough time to span more than one DPCM fetch. If extending this to read more bits or other types of controllers, care must be taken so that all CPU write cycles are aligned, and double-write instructions like ROL need to align the writes so that the resulting fetch delay is an even number of cycles, and never odd.
To reject opposing presses (Up+Down and Left+Right), which are possible on a worn Control Pad:
lda buttons1,x and #%00001010 ; Compare Up and Left... lsr a and buttons1,x ; to Down and Right beq not_updown ; Use previous frame's directions lda buttons1,x eor last_frame_buttons1,x and #%11110000 eor last_frame_buttons1,x sta buttons1,x not_updown:
To instead reject all diagonal presses, simulating a 4-way joystick:
lda buttons1,x and #%00001111 ; If A & (A - 1) is nonzero, A has more than one bit set beq not_diagonal sec sbc #1 and buttons1,x beq not_diagonal ; Use previous frame's directions lda buttons1,x eor last_frame_buttons1,x and #%11110000 eor last_frame_buttons1,x sta buttons1,x not_diagonal:
Calculating Presses and Releases
To calculate newly pressed and newly released buttons:
lda buttons1,x eor #%11111111 and last_frame_buttons1,x sta released_buttons1,x lda last_frame_buttons1,x eor #%11111111 and buttons1,x sta pressed_buttons1,x
It is helpful to define the buttons as a series of bit flags:
BUTTON_A = 1 << 7 BUTTON_B = 1 << 6 BUTTON_SELECT = 1 << 5 BUTTON_START = 1 << 4 BUTTON_UP = 1 << 3 BUTTON_DOWN = 1 << 2 BUTTON_LEFT = 1 << 1 BUTTON_RIGHT = 1 << 0
And then buttons can be checked as follows:
lda buttons and #BUTTON_A | BUTTON_B beq notPressingAorB ; Handle presses. notPressingAorB:
- Forum post: Blargg's DMC-fortified controller read routine
- Forum post: Rahsennor's OAM-synchronized controller read
- Forum post: Drag's bitwise DMC-safe controller reading
- Super Mario Bros. 3 controller reread method
- Forum post: Rahsennor's OAM-synchronized controller read
- Forum post: as of May 2016, Nintendulator and Nestopia do not accurately emulate OAM-synchronized controller reading.
- Forum post: demonstration of how ROL instruction affects alignment for OAM DMA synchronized controller reading.