The Nintendo GameCube in many ways defied expectations. It was purple, it had buttons shaped like beans, and it didn’t launch with a Mario game. What we got instead was the horror-adjacent ghost adventure game starring Mario’s brother — Luigi’s Mansion. The game was a graphical showpiece for the time, however, the camera angles were all fixed like an early Resident Evil game. Not satisfied with playing within those bounds, modder [Sky Bluigi] created a first person camera patch for the game that finally let players see why Luigi was so freaked out all the time.
The patch dubbed Luigi’s Mansion FPO (First Person Optimized) does a lot to drive home the game’s child-friendly, spooky aesthetic. Along with the ability to explore environments with a new lens, it provides the ability to turn the flashlight on and off manually if you want. Though the most impressive part of Luigi’s Mansion FPO is that it runs on real hardware. All that’s needed to play the mod is clean image of the North American release of Luigi’s Mansion and a .xdelta patching utility like Delta Patcher. GameCube games can be ripped directly to a USB thumb drive using a soft-modded Nintendo Wii console running Clean Rip or similar backup tool.
Luigi’s Mansion FPO actually provides a collection of patches that offer revised controls and increased field of view depending on which patch is used. The original game had inverted controls for aiming Luigi’s ghost vacuum, so the “Invert C-Stick Controls” patch will install a more modern aiming scheme where up on the right stick will aim upwards and vice versa. The “Better FOV” pulls the camera a little further back from where Luigi’s head would be while the original aiming scheme is retained. Though no matter which patch you decide to go with, a mod like this is always a good excuse to revisit a cult classic.
For another fresh GameCube mod check out this post about a Raspberry Pi Pico based modchip for the system.
Continue reading “Luigi’s Mansion First Person Mod Brings Spooky New Perspective”
There was a time when virtual reality seemed like it would remain in the realm of science fiction at least for the foreseeable future. Then we were blessed with products like the Power Glove and Virtual Boy which seemed to make it more of a reality, if not a clunky and limited one. Now, though, virtual reality is taking more of a center stage as the technology for it improves and more and more games are released. We can see no greater proof of this than the fact that some gamers are building their own custom controllers to interact with the virtual world in more meaningful ways, like this game controller specifically built for first-person shooter games.
The controller is based on an airsoft gun but completely lacks the ability to fire a projectile, instead using the gun as a base for building the controller. In fact, the gun’s operation is effectively reversed in order to immerse the player into the game by using haptic feedback provided by pressurized air. The air is pumped in to what would be the front of the barrel and is discharged through the receiver when a trigger pull is detected in order to generate a recoil effect. The controller includes plenty of other features as well, including the ability to reload ammunition, change the firing mode, and track motion thanks to its pair of integrated Oculus controllers.
All of the parts for this controller are either 3D printed or readily available off-the-shelf, making this an ideal platform for customization and improvement. There’s also a demo game available from Unity which allows for a pretty easy setup for testing. While the controller looks like an excellent way to enjoy an FPS virtual reality experience, if you’re looking for a more general-purpose controller we are also starting to see a lot of development on that end as well.
Continue reading “Haptic Feedback “Rifle” Lets You Take Aim In VR”
Is it really cheating if the aimbot you’ve built plays the game worse than you do?
We vote no, and while we take a dim view on cheating in general, there are still some interesting hacks in this AI-powered bot for Valorant. This is a first-person shooter, team-based game that has a lot of action and a Counter-Strike vibe. As [River] points out, most cheat-bots have direct access to the memory of the computer which is playing the game, which gives it an unfair advantage over human players, who have to visually process the game field and make their moves in meatspace. To make the Valorant-bot more of a challenge, he decided to feed video of the game from one computer to another over an HDMI-to-USB capture device.
The second machine has a YOLOv5 model which was trained against two hours of gameplay, enough to identify friend from foe — most of the time. Navigation around the map was done by analyzing the game’s on-screen minimap with OpenCV and doing some rudimentary path-finding. Actually controlling the player on the game machine was particularly hacky; rather than rely on an API to send keyboard sequences, [River] used a wireless mouse dongle on the game machine and a USB transmitter on the second machine.
The results are — iffy, to say the least. The system tends to get the player stuck in corners, and doesn’t recognize enemies that pop up at close range. The former is a function of the low-res minimap, while the latter has to do with the training data set — most human players engage enemies at distance, so there’s a dearth of “bad breath range” encounters to train to. Still, we’re impressed that it’s possible to train a machine to play a complex FPS game at all, let alone this well.
PC gamers consider their platform superior for the sheer processing power that can be brought to bear, as well as the inherent customisability of their rigs. Where they’re let down perhaps is in the typical keyboard and mouse interface, which tends to eschew fancy features such as haptic feedback which have long been standard on consoles. Aiming to rectify this, [Neutrino-1] put together a fancy haptic feedback system for FPS games.
The hack is quite elegant, using a Python app to scrape the GUI of FPS games for a health readout. The health numbers are gleaned using OpenCV to do optical character recognition, and the resulting data is sent to an ESP12E microcontroller over a USB serial connection. The ESP12E then controls a series of Neopixel LEDs and vibration motors, providing color and haptic feedback in response to the user’s health bar changing in game.
Using image recognition allows the system to be quickly reconfigured to work with different games, without the mess of having to learn different APIs for every different title. It’s a really fun way to quickly get a project interfacing with a piece of software that we’d love to see more of in future. It makes a nice complement to other hacks we’ve seen in this space, like the gaming mouse with recoil feedback. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Haptic Feedback For FPS Games Relies On OpenCV”
We didn’t think we’d see another hack involving the aging iPod Classic here on Hackaday again, yet [Franklin Wei] surprises us with a brand new port of Quake for the sixth-generation iPod released some thirteen years ago. Is Quake the new 90s FPS that’ll get put into every device hackers can get their hands on?
The port works on top of RockBox, a custom firmware for the iPod and other portable media players. This isn’t the first game on the device. A source port of Doom has been available for years. [Franklin] decided to use Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) to make his job easier. That doesn’t mean this was an easy task though, as [Franklin] describes very interesting bugs that kept him from finishing his work for about two years.
The first problem was that the GCC compiler he was using was apparently not optimizing time-critical sound mixing routines. [Franklin] decided enough was enough and dug into ARM assembly to re-write those parts of the code by hand. He managed to squeeze out a speed increase of about 60%. Even better, he ran into a prime example of a bug that would get triggered by a very specific sound sample length running through his code. Thankfully, with all of that sorted, the port is now released and we can all enjoy cramping our hands around tiny screens to frag some low-poly monsters.
If you need to repair your sixth-generation iPod before you can do that though, no need to worry since they seem to not be so hard to service by yourself. And if the battery life and disk space aren’t quite what they used to be, there’s also the option to bulk it up for winter. Check out the Quake port in action after the break.
Continue reading “Porting Quake To An IPod Classic Is No Easy Task”
Choices matter. You’ve only got one shot to fulfill the objective. A single coordinated effort is required to defuse the bomb, release the hostages, or outlast the opposition. Fail, and there’s no telling when you’ll get your next shot. This is the world that Counter-Strike presented to PC players in 1999, and the paradigm shift it presented was greater than it’s deceptively simple namesake would suggest.
The reckless push forward mantra of Unreal Tournament coupled with the unrelenting speed of Quake dominated the PC FPS mind-share back then. Deathmatch with a side of CTF (capture the flag) was all anyone really played. With blazing fast respawns and rocket launchers featured as standard kit, there was little thought put towards conservative play tactics. The same sumo clash of combatants over the ever-so inconveniently placed power weapon played out time and again; while frag counts came in mega/ultra/monster-sized stacks. It was all easy come, easy go.
Counter-Strike didn’t follow the quick frag, wipe, repeat model. Counter-Strike wasn’t concerned with creating fantastical weaponry from the future. Counter-Strike was grounded in reality. Military counter terrorist forces seek to undermine an opposing terrorist team. Each side has their own objectives and weapon sets, and the in-game economy can swing the battle wildly at the start of each new round. What began as a fun project for a couple of college kids went on to become one of the most influential multiplayer games ever, and after twenty years it’s still leaving the competition in the de_dust(2).
Even if you’ve never camped with an AWP, the story of Counter-Strike is a story of an open platform that invited creative modifications and community-driven development. Not only is Counter-Strike an amazing game, it’s an amazing story.
Continue reading “Counter-Strike At 20: Two Hackers Upend The Gaming Industry”
In first-person games, an effective way to heighten immersion is to give the player a sense of impact and force by figuratively shaking the camera. That’s a tried and true practice for FPS games played on a monitor, but to [Zulubo]’s knowledge, no one has implemented traditional screen shake in a VR title because it would be a sure way to trigger motion sickness. Unsatisfied with that limitation, some clever experimentation led [Zulubo] to a method of doing screen shake in VR that doesn’t cause any of the usual problems.
Screen shake doesn’t translate well to VR because the traditional method is to shake the player’s entire view. This works fine when viewed on a monitor, but in VR the brain interprets the visual cue as evidence that one’s head and eyeballs are physically shaking while the vestibular system is reporting nothing of the sort. This kind of sensory mismatch leads to motion sickness in most people.
The key to getting the essence of a screen shake without any of the motion sickness baggage turned out to be a mix of two things. First, the shake is restricted to peripheral vision only. Second, it is restricted to an “in and out” motion, with no tilting or twisting. The result is a conveyance of concussion and impact that doesn’t rely on shaking the player’s view, at least not in a way that leads to motion sickness. It’s the product of some clever experimentation to solve a problem, and freely downloadable for use by anyone who may be interested.
Speaking of fooling one’s senses in VR environments, here is a fascinating method of simulating zero gravity: waterproof the VR headset and go underwater.