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View Full Version : The Wii's got balls!


ArugulaZ
11-12-2008, 02:43 PM
Trackballs, that is. A clever hacked installed an incredibly tiny trackball into the face of a Wii controller, where the A button normally would be. There's no loss of functionality, however... the ball can be pushed down to simulate the tap of the A button. Here's the video of the mod in action:

http://www.dcemu.co.uk/the-blackberry-pearl-teaches-consoles-a-thing-or-two-170823.html

The hackers say this tech can be adapted to a wide range of consoles, including the Xbox 360. My question is this, though... can it replace the analog thumbsticks? If that's the case, can the thumbsticks be replaced with a dial spinner similar to the ones in really old arcade games like Breakout and Arkanoid? It might breathe a little life into Space Giraffe if I could play it with a real dial (not that crappy thing in MadCatz' supposed "Arcade" Pad).

djSyndrome
11-12-2008, 02:46 PM
A trackball can't directly replace a thumbstick because they are measuring two different series of parameters. Thumbsticks measure position, trackballs measure speed and direction. I guess you could put a limit on the maximum recorded speed of a trackball and equate that to a full directional press of a thumbstick, but it's still not the same.

That said, this is an awesome hack, and timely, as we were just discussing Marble Madness last week.

Patrick
11-12-2008, 10:55 PM
A trackball can't directly replace a thumbstick because they are measuring two different series of parameters. Thumbsticks measure position, trackballs measure speed and direction. I guess you could put a limit on the maximum recorded speed of a trackball and equate that to a full directional press of a thumbstick, but it's still not the same.

That said, this is an awesome hack, and timely, as we were just discussing Marble Madness last week.

Wouldn't you have to continually move the trackball at top speed to move your character?

No thanks.

djSyndrome
11-13-2008, 12:57 AM
Wouldn't you have to continually move the trackball at top speed to move your character?

Have you ever played Crystal Castles on an actual arcade machine?

BEAT
11-13-2008, 05:21 AM
I haven't, but I'm willing to believe that the trackballs on arcade cabinets are larger than your thumb.

I'm not excited at the prospect of analog sticks being replaced by trackballs, but the idea of some of the buttons being replaced by trackballs does capture my interest.

Patrick
11-13-2008, 08:54 AM
Have you ever played Crystal Castles on an actual arcade machine?

I've never even heard of crystal castles...

*google*

It's a game about a gem-stealing bear. Ok, so how does the trackball work in it?

Sprite
11-13-2008, 10:01 AM
That Sonic Arcade game with the trackball was fun the one time I played it. Yes, you had to maintain motion on the ball to keep going. Only in something like Sonic is that fun.

Matchstick
11-13-2008, 10:44 AM
It's a game about a gem-stealing bear. Ok, so how does the trackball work in it?

You use the trackball to move the bear. Think of trying to snag all the crystals in a layout by flipping a mouse over and moving the ball with your hand and you'll get the idea.

ArugulaZ
11-13-2008, 11:52 AM
It has dual benefits. Bently (yeah, that's the bear's name) can race out of the path of enemies with a hard spin of the trackball, and can be carefully repositioned with a light touch. It's the reason that the game never worked as well on home consoles... you can make tiny adjustments with an analog joystick, but fast movement doesn't translate nearly as well, and you don't get the satisfying tactile response of spinning a ball at high speeds.