Life Sized Katamari Damacy Ball Controls Game But Isn’t Sticky


If you haven’t ever heard of Katamari Damacy we highly recommend you unite a copy of the game with that PlayStation 2 console that’s been collecting dust and then kiss the rest of your summer goodbye. The quirky game, driven by remarkably catchy background music (Na Naaaaah na na…), revolves around a ball that attracts objects of every kind to it. As you accumulate more stuff the ball goes from the size of a mouse to that of a house and then some. Perhaps the biggest appeal of the game is playing it with groups of people and that’s where this hack hits the mark. It brings the game outdoors to a festival in London with video projected on a wall and this life-sized ball as the controller.

The project uses the same electronics laid out by the original work coming out of NYC Resistor back in 2009. That project originally wanted to use a 36″ yoga ball but they couldn’t quite hit the mark. This attempt did make it happen. The ball was decorated in the style of the game (also note the presenters are in costume). Guts from an optical mouse detect the motion. This is processed by an Arduino board which then uses a digital potentiometer to mimic the joystick movements on a PS2 controller.

9 thoughts on “Life Sized Katamari Damacy Ball Controls Game But Isn’t Sticky

  1. Also if you want the (pretty much identical) katamari experience you can get Beautiful Katamari on xbox 360. Same devs, remarkably similar game, same quirky music! :)

  2. If you watch YT clip you can see people spinning the ball and game screen doing something completely different – this was my first reaction when seeing this post, that it will fail my expectations.
    When approaching controller like this you are priming yourself for Haptic interface. At the very least it should be proportional and low latency. This one fails to deliver any of those :(
    -not haptic, no force feedback, cant blame them ,they are working with what they get from the game
    -not proportional, translating proportional input to relative pad/joystick. This is how all console FPS games fail.
    -worst of all, its not responsive, you can see people spinning the ball while ingame ball sits still.

    Nice gimmick, kids will love it.

    1. We were working with a deadline, so we couldn’t make it perfect. At times you can see the ball being non-responsive in the video. This was not the case at the start of the event. We had an issue with the type of mice we had originally mounted on the stand and had to replace them, and they were held on with sticky-tack! :) So they were not screwed or really attached permanently that night. They were slightly out of position by the time the video was shot. Also, because the yoga ball was so bouncy, you had to be careful not to start it resonating too much. I assure you, that if you rolled the ball, it did move smoothly on the screen. We are planning to use it again, and will correct the issues we found. It was pretty fun still, and no one walked away unhappy from the experience.

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