Modifying an RC Controller to Play Forza Horizon

I’ve always been fascinated by RC cars. The dynamics, the engineering, the speed… all wrapped up in a package that you can hold in one hand. Almost more than the cars themselves I’ve always loved the remotes. Ever since I watched Back to the Future and saw that awesome modded Futaba remote I’ve been captivated by the possibilities contained in one of those mystical black boxes. I was playing a racing game the other day when the idea came to me: what if I could modify an RC controller to control a racing game?

And just like that, I decided to convert an RC controller into a gamepad to play Forza Horizon 4.

(more…)

Twitch Chat OwO Browser Extension

The news is currently very bleak. Just the pandemic alone is enough to make you want to never read the news again. Thankfully there’s a solution: “Bweaking NuwuS” (@BBCBweaking), a Twitter account that posts news stories passed through an “UwU” kaomoji filter to make them “cutesy”. The result is some serious dark comedy, with posts about corruption, sickness, and death translated into something exceedingly saccharine.

After reading a bit about the automation behind the news account, I thought it would be fun to do something similar and make a browser extension to convert Twitch chat into “OwO”-speak on the fly.

(more…)

Making an OBS ‘Mute’ Indicator

I have a friend who likes to stream on Twitch, and he has a problem. Every hour or two he likes to be healthy and take a five minute break – standing up, stretching, going to the bathroom, etc. During this time he mutes his microphone and puts on some background music to keep the audience entertained. But when he comes back he frequently forgets to unmute his microphone so that the stream can hear him. It’s not unusual for him to be talking to himself for five minutes or more until some kind soul in chat speaks up and says “you know you’re muted, right?”

To help him and others who frequently forget to unmute their microphone, I decided to build a physical indicator for the mute status in OBS Studio.

(more…)

Making Firefly Armbands from The Last of Us

We are living in unprecedented times. There’s economic uncertainty, civil unrest, and a global pandemic that’s causing chaos and threatening our way of life. In 2020 these are the times we live in. But this also describes the events from The Last of Us, Naughty Dog’s widely acclaimed action-adventure survival horror game from 2013.

The game’s story follows Joel and Ellie, two survivors living in the post-pandemic United States. Ellie is a teenage girl who is immune to the cordyceps infection that has ravaged humanity; Joel is an older man who, twenty years later, is still reeling from the murder of his own daughter during the early days of the outbreak. He has been charged with taking Ellie to find the “Fireflies” – a rebel group that is working to find a cure.

In light of current events and in anticipation of the game’s sequel The Last of Us Part II releasing on June 19th, I decided to build my own “Firefly” armbands from the first game.

(more…)

DIY SparkFun Pro Micro with USB-A Port

Lately I’ve been working on a project that will use an Arduino to translate signals from a wireless receiver into USB HID inputs for my computer. I had the perfect microcontroller picked out too: the SparkFun Pro Micro, which uses the Arduino-compatible ATmega32U4 and has enough I/O pins for my project and then some. There’s just one problem – the Pro Micro doesn’t have a USB-A port to plug directly into a computer! Instead it has a micro USB-B port, and requires a short cable to connect it to a PC.

Luckily for me the Pro Micro, like many of SparkFun’s designs, is open source and licensed under Creative Commons Share-alike. So I decided to dive in and modify the design to create my own version of the Pro Micro with a USB-A port!

(more…)

Playing Spin Rhythm XD with a Modified DJ Hero Controller

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a new rhythm game. Unlike previous titles such as Guitar Hero or Rock Band that use multiple discrete buttons in order to match different notes, this game used a virtual wheel – an analog input to slide, spin, and tap along with the beat. To top it off the game featured an electronic music tracklist and was a blast to play.

The game is called Spin Rhythm XD, and it was designed to be played with a DJ MIDI controller. Having no such professional DJ-ing equipment handy I decided to do the next best thing: convert my old plastic Wii DJ Hero turntable into a controller for Spin Rhythm XD!

(more…)

Building McCree’s Belt Buckle from Overwatch

I decided to try my hand at building my own version of McCree’s belt buckle from Overwatch! I used references from the game in order to create a comprehensive digital model which I then 3D printed, smoothed, molded, cast, mounted to a buckle blank, painted, and weathered. Start to finish (and with lots of breaks in-between!), this entire process took me a little over three years to complete.

(more…)