Stand and Deliver

The dance mat arrived on Wednesday and, despite initial problems because the game was on a blue disk, is now being used. But not by me. Before I’d willingly play a dancing game I’d have to be so drunk as to be a danger to myself and anyone else in the room.

So I’ve been pondering an old idea. It’s impossible to use the dance mat to control GT4 (trust me, I tried) but I reckon it could be used to control movement in a first person shooter. Add a hand held device to control aiming and firing and you’re a little closer to immersive gaming.

How would you do it? I can’t give you wiring diagrams or anything, but I do have a basic idea of how to go about it. First, you’ll need a cheapo PS2 controller to donate its right analogue stick and R1 button, and the circuit board and lead to go with it. You’ll need to fit these into something with a pistol grip. The simplest version would involve a mushroom head over the analogue stick that can be moved around with your thumb to shift POV- whilst the buttons on the dance mat control movement- and the R1 button wired up to the trigger.

The trickiest part is going to be wiring up the shooting and aiming control to the movement control. Even in this thought experiment I have more sense than to damage someone else’s controller, so no wiring into the dance mat lead. What is needed is a dongle. Dance mat leads go into the back of the dongle, which then combines them with the feeds from the hand control and passes the message to the Playstation. There are nine pins on a PS2 controller, far fewer than the possible combinations of controls, so this is also the point when you’d have to sit down with some sort of voltage meter to check what output corresponded to which actions and work out how to combine the signals from two sources so they’d make sense to the console. This is one of the reasons I’m suggesting the right analogue stick and R1 buttons for the pistol, the mat does have an R1 equivalent but no analogue controls, making confusion less likely.

Given a workshop I’d be half tempted to give this a go. As I don’t have one, I’m going to post this half formed idea and see if anyone can understand what I’m trying to say well enough to give it a go.

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