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.

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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.

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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.

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McCree’s Belt Buckle: Conclusion

Phew. Three years (three years?!?) and a lot of sweat, sanding, and tears later, I finally have a finished belt buckle! To be honest it turned out much better than I expected. There are of course some issues with it and things I wish I could have done differently, but the final prop itself is fit, functional, and looks the part. I may be biased, but I really do think my version of McCree’s buckle is one of best I’ve seen.

It was quite a journey to get to this point, and there were lessons learned for every step along the way. The buckle is done! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and figure out what worked well for this build – and what didn’t.

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Building a DIY Stream Deck (Mini Macro Keyboard)

I’ve been doing a little streaming on Twitch, and a lot of streamers I follow have something called an Elgato Stream Deck. The Stream Deck is a small device with 15 buttons, each of which has its own customizable RGB icon. By configuring the bundled software, users can set button icons and macros to control your casting software, send messages in the stream chat, launch programs, and much much more.

Unfortunately the Stream Deck is out of my price range, at a whopping $149.99 retail.  Fortunately I think I can make something that replicates the basic functionality for a fraction of that price: what I’m calling a “Stream Cheap”.

Although I’m focusing on using this as a replacement for a Stream Deck, at heart this is really a custom macro keyboard. It could be used as a hotkey board for any program. I’m just using it for OBS and Twitch.

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DIY PC Footswitch Using a Sustain Pedal

A couple of years ago I picked up an inexpensive sustain pedal for an electric piano at a garage sale. The piano itself wasn’t much to look at, but the pedal intrigued me… it’s a basic on/off switch, but the pedal itself feels fairly robust and I thought it would be a handy switch to have around.

This past week I finally got around to doing something with it! I built a small box that converts the signal from the pedal into a keypress, allowing me to use this pedal as a foot-controlled hotkey for my PC.

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