Rapid fire update brings many new features

[Shawn McCombs] has been spending some time refining his Xbox 360 rapid fire hack. This time around he’s got a lot more features, many of which we haven’t really seen before.

When we looked at the original project he had added an ATtiny85 which read a potentiometer to set the rapid fire speed for one of the buttons. This time around he’s opened up settings for individual weapons in the game. For instance, if you have a hand-gun and a rifle, you can set different rapid fire rates for each to account for the reload speed for those guns. He patched into the ring of LEDs on the controller in order to indicate which preset is currently chosen. There are three tactile switches on the underside of the controller too. One of them is a reset button which gets you back to your primary weapon and the default rapid fire rate. Settings for each weapon are saved to the EEPROM so you won’t lose them when the controller goes to sleep. Check out [Shawn's] description of the project in the video after the break.

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Reclaim the wireless controller module from a broken Xbox 360

If you’re one of the hordes whose Xbox 360 died the fiery death associated with the RRoD you may be wondering what to do with that multi-hundred dollar door stop you’re left with. Why not salvage the parts for other uses? If you’ve ever wanted to use your wireless controller with a computer here’s a way to pull out the RF module and reuse it.

The concept is simple enough, there’s a daughter-board in the Xbox 360 which hosts the RF module for wireless controller connectivity. Once you extract it from the carcass of the beast, you just need to find a way to read and push the data to your computer. Any USB enabled microcontroller will do, in this case an Arduino nano was chosen for the task. A bit of level converting was necessary to interface with the device, but nothing too involved.

It sounds like at first there was an issue with syncing a controller with the hacked module, but as you can see in the clip after the break that problem has been solved.

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Broken Xbox 360 converted into an arcade controller

xbox_360_arcade_controller

Like many Xbox 360s out there, [Aaron’s] console succumbed to the dreaded three red lights of death. Since it seemed to be unrepairable, there wasn’t a lot that could be done with it other than throw it out. Rather than be wasteful however, [Aaron] thought of a great way to reuse the console’s outer shell.

He’s a big fan of fighting games, and as everyone knows, this genre is best played with an arcade-style controller. The 360’s shell seemed to be just about the right size, so he gutted it and got busy constructing his own arcade controller. With the console cleared out, he installed all of his arcade bits, wiring them to a stripped third-party Xbox controller.

He installed a four port USB hub to the front of the console, enabling use of the 360’s USB ports, and rewired the power button to trigger the Xbox Guide button. A shiny coat of paint later, and he was ready to play.

Keep reading to see a short video of [Aaron's] arcade stick in action, and check out the picture gallery he put together of the controller’s construction.

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Hybrid control scheme using an Xbox game pad and Kinect

hybrid_game_control_using_kinect

The Kinect is an interesting beast. On one hand, it’s fantastic for hacking – a purpose for which it was not designed. On the other hand, it’s “just OK” when it comes to gaming – its entire reason for being.

One of the big complaints regarding the Kinect’s control scheme is that it’s no good for games such as first person shooters, where a large majority of the action involves walking, jumping, and aiming. For his Master’s project, [Alex Poolton] put together a fantastic demonstration showing how the Kinect can be paired with a standard Xbox controller to provide hybrid gaming input.

While you might expect a simple game that shows the fundamentals of the hybrid control system, he has put together a full fledged game demo that shows how this control scheme might be implemented in a real game. [Alex] admits that it’s still a bit rough around the edges, but there’s some real potential in his design.

Continue reading to see a video demonstration of [Alex’s] project in action, and be sure to check out his blog for news and updates on the project.

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Run unsigned code on any xbox

A ton of people sent in the latest development on the Xbox homebrew front. A console hacker that goes by the name of [GliGli] released a new exploit that boots any Xbox into a Linux loader.

The hack requires some hardware – in this case an Xilinx CLPD. The hack works by sending a tiny reset pulse (no word on what ‘tiny’ means) that glitches the hardware and gets around the hash checks during boot. If that’s not technical enough for you, check out the readme on the project’s github.

This isn’t a silver bullet to cracking Xboxen wide open. The glitch only has about a 25% chance of success for each boot. The glitch also take a few minutes to boot into unsigned code. This being said, the hack works on all 360s, including the slim models that can’t be opened up with the JTAG method.

Check out the demo of one of the beta testers demonstrating the exploit after the break. Again, thanks to everyone for sending this one in.

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“Extrem Konsolen Modding”

Not to be outdone by their North American counterparts, these German-speaking hackers have come up with a truly unique console mod. Although modding one system may be OK for most, the builders of this console decided to combine three systems into one clear plastic box. A stripped down Xbox360, Playstation3, and Nintendo Wii were all put together to form this “Extrem” system.

The build style should be very appealing to those interested in video game hardware. Combining the look of a tower PC with a clear plastic allows one to see all components in action. Since the box is lit up with electroluminescent lighting, one is able to show off this system in the day or at night. [Read more...]

extMEDIA: An XBMC disc changer interface

extmedia_dvd_bluray_changer_integration

A while back, [Ben Gilstad] built his first HTPC, loading XBMC on it to manage all of his digital media. He loved XBMC’s features and flexibility, but he needed a way to enjoy his DVD and Blu Ray collection on the device without too much hassle. Far before [Ben Heck] considered fitting his Xbox 360 DVD drive into a CD carousel, this [Ben] was busy hacking a Blu Ray player into his.

He bought a broken disc changer at a garage sale, and tore apart a standard SATA Blu Ray player in preparation for the optical drive transplant. An ATMega168 controls the changer’s mechanics, monitoring the carousel’s position and triggering the proper motors when discs need to be swapped out. The AVR currently takes its direction from the HTPC over its serial port via a UDP proxy as XBMC did not support a serial interface at the time he was building the changer.

The second half of [Ben’s] project is an XBMC add-on that he uses to manage his huge collection of optical discs. In order to get XBMC to recognize each disc as a valid ‘file’, he created a clever workaround involving blank WMV clips. This enables him to view his DVDs as if they were digital files on his hard drive, complete with cover art.

It’s a fantastic project, and [Ben] says that his system should be able to support any number of physical disc changers simultaneously, without much issue. Unfortunately the project went on hiatus when he lost his job, so it’s packed away in storage for the time being. Once he gets back on his feet however, he has a whole list of planned changes and improvements to work on – we can’t wait to see it once complete!

Keep reading to check out a video demonstration of his XBMC add-on in action.

[Read more...]

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