Forums > MaxMSP

modifying USB gamepad controllers

June 8, 2006 | 4:28 am

I have heard here and there that there are
some of you out there who’ve investigated
opening up and modifying USB videogame
controllers for your own purposes. While it
has sounded interesting in general, the
Max beginner’s workshop in Chicago has moved
me to ask the question here generally.

Have you personally "bent" videogame controllers
for use via the hi object to construct your
own interfaces? While I’m generally curious
about these, I’d be more interested in what online
resources that describe this process you might be
aware of. I suppose it’s possible that Nic Collins
may deal with this sort of thing in his new book
"Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware
Hacking", but my copy is, apparently, still on
order with the publisher.

I’ll be happy to collect and format/forward
this information, should I receive any. Please
feel free to contact me directly via email.

Thanks,
gregory taylor


June 8, 2006 | 8:46 am

The guys at STEIM were doing this big-time when we were there a year
or two ago, and they’ve probably made quite a bit of progress since
then.

– N.

nick rothwell — composition, systems, performance — http://
http://www.cassiel.com


June 8, 2006 | 9:08 am

Gregory Taylor wrote:
> Have you personally "bent" videogame controllers
> for use via the hi object to construct your
> own interfaces? While I’m generally curious
> about these…

I wouldn’t call it "bend", but I used an airstick to track the position
of my bass. I attached it without modification to the bottom of the bass
and connected it directly to my powerbook.
This was way more easy to achieve than attaching accelerometers
connected to a Toaster interface, which I tried first…

For buttons, I was never so much interested in game controlers, as
keyboards (computer and Midi) usually have enough of those ergonomically
designed. Some game controllers do have interesting alternative
controls, and seem to incorporate them into a usable user interfaces. I
do have a P5 glove, though didn’t do too much with it yet…

For bending a gamepad to create something like a faderbox, I was never
encouraged, as I could get a used Pocketfader for 60 euros (that was
really cheap…). It might be faster/cheaper to find a used
Midicontroler than building your own out of a game pad which probably
has only 2 to 4 continuous controls…. (This is only true if you
incorporate this ancient format called "Midi" anyway)

If you have a certain unusal sensor, then I guess this will be
interesting to bend it into a hi controller.
Maybe the question would be: which sensor would you like to use, and has
somebody attached it successfully to a gamepad…

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com


June 8, 2006 | 9:11 am

http://ultimatetoma.mamito.com

click on sensor project in the menu

the new release will be at the end of july (i hope)

i made the project, but my friend did the electronic handwork

:-)

tom


June 8, 2006 | 3:00 pm

When I need a wireless sensor interface, I take a wingman cordless gamepad
by Logitech.
It’s really cheap, has 5 analog inputs (2 joysticks and 1 fader) and 10
switchs (10 buttons). AND it’s wireless!!!

Just replace all the controlers by a stereo 1/8 jack.
Stereo because the analog inputs needs 3 wires, but the switches need only
2.
I plug my sensors directly in the 1/8 jacks.
Works only with resistive sensors, avoid active ones.

email me privatly if you want to see pics of my bent gamepads.
I sell them too if interested! But the "DoItYourself" way is easy.

Issue possible: a gamepad goes to sleep mode if inactive after a while.
THe analog sensors cannot wake it up, only the switches can do.

Nic Collins’ book has a chapter on gamepad hacks. It’s a really nice book,
giving up most of David Tudor’s tricks, contact mic thingies and more!

Have fun!
pc


June 8, 2006 | 4:59 pm

I must have missed this earlier – what is the title of the book? A
quick search of Nic Collins on Amazon doesn’t bring up anything useful.

thanks

David



June 8, 2006 | 8:21 pm

Yeah, I’ve tweaked a few joysticks. This is and has been the cheapest way of connecting switches and potentiometers to a music program, although the old (at least, I haven’t seen a new one for a while…) soundcards with a gameport were a way of connecting potentiometers directly.

It is truly as easy as it sounds, just open the thing up, look at where the variable resistors and buttons are connected and solder your own onto them. You can place other variable resistors in series or parallel to yours to use as trimmers.

ONE IMPORTANT ISSUE:
Although the [HI] object spits out values between something like (I don’t remember) 0 to 34000, it does so in steps. The cheap joysticks I bought with which to teach a course had twelve steps, which is not a very nice resolution. I never got around to testing if this was joystick-specific or interface-specific. Anyone know?

Dayton


June 9, 2006 | 6:10 am

I think the title is
Handmade Electronic Music the art of hardware hacking

http://www.bentfestival.org/bookparty.html

pieter


June 21, 2006 | 12:44 pm

I just modified an xbox controller so i can use it as USB-Device and i can use all inputs. driver: http://www.redcl0ud.com/xbcd.html
Im going to write a patch to use the D-pad to control the OpenGL enviroment.
The [hi] object doesn’t work as well as it could because the controller can sense the presure sensitivity and [hi] only senses 0 or 128.
The driver supports Raw-data output (00-FF) per channel, 20 channels and 2 channels for the ForceFeedback. Is there a way to use this data in Max?


June 21, 2006 | 2:15 pm

I don’t know anything about xbox controlers, I’m not sure the meaning
of the sentence "[hi] only sense 0 to 128" as well (my english’s
poor…), but I know [hi] can sense better than that (0 to 255 with a
logitech wingman cordless). Most of gamepads use 3.5Volt to power
their analog inputs, wich means if you’re using a 5volt sensor
circuit, you won’t reach its best range. Did it reached its range
before you hacked it?

Hope this can help!
pc


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