Hackaday Links: Christmas 2009

It’s a Guitar Hero Christmas

Nope, we’re not adding Christmas songs to the game, but instead making the game part of the decor. [kumbaric] hung strings of lights on his garage door in the shape of this familiar gaming interface. The best thing is, you can actually play the game based on these lights. [Thanks Yuppicide]

Smallest… Snowman… Ever.

You can make one of these if you have an electron microscope and an ion beam on hand. This is the product of some clever folks at the National Physical Laboratory near London. This is a pretty fat snowman, 1/5 of a human hair across. By the way, you should have read the subtitle with the voice of Comic Book Guy (like we do when reading the tolls’ comments). [Thanks Matthias]

A little help please

[Andy] outdid himself with this creative decoration. Hanging a dummy from the gutter and placing a tipped over ladder beside it had some folks alarmed. The police asked him to remove the prop after they almost ran off the road while driving by. This was real enough that somebody actually came to the rescue, climbing to the top of the ladder before discovering the ruse. [Thanks Rob]

Lights that blow your mind

This video is from a 2007 display and features over 45,000 lights running on 176 channels. Individually controlled colors, fading effects, and music synchronization put on a show that will get you kicked out of your gated community. Admittedly this guy runs a business dealing in Christmas lighting displays, but that doesn’t diminish the sheer awesome of what he’s done. [Thanks Patrick]

Have a safe and happy Christmas. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that you get that new Weller you’ve been hoping for.

Instruments as games – games as instruments

instruments-as-games

Here’s a pair of diametrically opposed hacks. One makes use of a real instrument to play Rock Band, the other makes use of a game controller to play real music.

[Tim] lets us know that his friend figured out how to play Rock Band 2 on expert level by playing flute instead of singing. Of course this works because the game is just looking for the correct frequency for scoring. It makes sense that the vocal lines can be offset by an octave and still register correctly. We wouldn’t have thought of this ourselves but now that we’ve seen her success, we will try it (our instrumental skills far out pace our singing talents).

Seeing this sparks a correlation with Phone Phreaking, which started with a blind kid singing a tone into the receiver to make the remainder of his long distance call free. This was followed by Blue Boxes that allowed people without perfect pitch to play the tones electronically. It would be interesting to see what could have been done with a talented flute player (like the beat-boxing flutist) and one of those old phone networks.

On the other side of the coin, we have [Jordan’s] project in which she creates midi controllers using Wii drums from Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band. The Guitar Hero drums are velocity sensitive, a feature she’s using in her setup. The MIDI data takes into account how hard the drums are struck and the resulting sound reflects that. This particular writeup outlines her use of Osculator for the velocity sensitive system, but you can also check out the tutorial she wrote covering the use of JunXion with the Rock Band controller that we covered in the past.

Video for both of these control schemes is included after the page break. We love to see people break the guise of “I’m creating music by playing a video game” and actually use their musical talents in a new and interesting way.

Continue reading “Instruments as games – games as instruments”

Cheating RockBand (again)

Sure making a robot that plays the game RockBand for you seems a little cheap at first, but no human can possibly hit that 30 triplet note straight ending in a button mashing contest. To finally get his high score [Joe] made a setup to play the game for him, on the iPhone. We’ve seen some very different Guitar Hero hacks before, but none that had to get around the touch capacitance screen on the iPhone. What version of the game should be hacked next? We think Football Hero would be a good start.

[via Make]

Football Hero

footie

For Kasabian’s new single Underdog, they decided to do something original. After dreaming up a Guitar Hero style controller powered by soccer football players, they set out to make it happen. Using 5 wall mounted pressure sensors connected to a microcontroller, they hooked up the rig to a computer running Frets on Fire (an open source Guitar Hero clone) with a custom version of their single. After an afternoon of practice, the team was able to 5 star the song, and while this isnt the only or most complex Guitar Hero hack, we would love to have this in our house.

Video after the break.

Continue reading “Football Hero”

Real guitar + guitar hero

[Alan] isn’t very good at guitar. He says so himself. He’s not that great at guitar hero either. Was that medium difficulty? Let’s put aside his skill to talk about his controller. He has fused the guitar hero controller with a real guitar. The original guitar has retained its functionality, though the controller bits may get in the way if he jams really hard. With a flip of the switch, it turns into a guitar hero controller. You simply press the strings down at the frets where the buttons should be, while strumming the controller part.

Guitar Hero macro board

guitarheromacro

Doesn’t look like the Guitar Hero hacks will be slowing up any time soon. In this recent installment, [Thunderhammer3000] built a board to record Guitar Hero “songs”. It is wired inline with with the fret buttons and strum bar and records each of the key presses. Songs can be recorded at slow speed in practice mode and replayed at full speed. The board is Arduino compatible and has two optoisolator chips for collecting the button presses plus a small EEPROM for storage. The board fits easily inside the guitar body.

Banjo hero

banjo

We’ve posted a plethora of Guitar Hero style hardware hacks, but this one is completely different than the others. Behold, the Banjo hero. This unique controller was constructed from an old banjo and a guitar hero controller. Custom software was then built with custom songs for game play. We really wish we could see it in action. There are a couple videos available for download, but they are just pictures of the build process.

[via Boing Boing]