An intro to FAST Pinball hardware serial connections¶
Connecting your computer to a FAST Pinball controller is simple. Just plug it in via USB and virtual serial port(s) automatically appear. You can immediately open a serial terminal application and start sending commands—blinking lights and reading switches in seconds. No drivers needed!
Because there are no drivers, you don't need to download or compile anything. Any device that can handle a high-speed serial connection is fine. This could be a full computer, like a Mac, Windows, or Linux machine, or a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or almost anything else you want to use. You can write your pinball software in any programming language you want, with no wrappers or helper libraries needed. The FAST hardware platform handles the hard work. You handle the fun parts!
These docs are for software developers writing their own game framework from scratch!
If you're a pinball maker who just wants to build a pinball machine and not write all your own software from scratch, then you'll want to use the open source Mission Pinball Framework which is simpler to use and will get you flipping quickly! This programming documentation that you're reading now is for computer geeks who want to write their own pinball software from scratch.
The commands and messages sent back-and-forth between your computer and the FAST hardware are called the FAST Serial Protocol (FSP).
FAST Controllers have multiple "endpoints" on the other end of the serial connection. For example, when you plug in a FAST Neuron Controller, three serial ports will appear. One is used to communicate with the I/O Loop (the I/O boards that control switches and drivers), one is used for the Expansion Bus (used for LEDs and servos), and one is used for the Display Bus (used for DMDs and segment displays).
If you want to see this multi-port connection process in action, check out our tutorial and walkthrough for setting up a FAST Neuron Controller
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