Monthly Archives: April 2014

Project SDVX: Part 1

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Sound Voltex is an arcade rhythm game by Konami featuring analog devices (knobs), DJ-ing effects and a song list made up almost exclusively by independent artists. To get an idea of how awesome it is, see here, here, here, here, here and here. (These are all Niconico videos so if you prefer Youtube, here’s one.)

Unfortunately, there aren’t any Sound Voltex (often abbreviated SDVX) machines near where I live :(. To remedy this problem, I decided that I would try to build my own Sound Voltex controller. Custom-made Sound Voltex controllers aren’t anything new, so thankfully I was able to get a good idea of what I needed to do.

Luckily I don’t have to do anything on the software side, thanks to a game called K-shoot MANIA. To explain what K-shoot is, I like to use the analogy “DDR is to Stepmania as SDVX is to K-shoot MANIA” – it’s basically a recreation of the game for the computer. Unfortunately though, the creator of K-shoot doesn’t want any official beatmaps distributed via the internet, which is a bit of a shame.

But back to my SDVX controller. Sound Voltex has a total of 7 buttons and 2 analog devices, and the buttons are split up like so:

  • 4 large white square BT buttons,
  • 2 rectangular FX buttons,
  • 1 square start button.

A week or two ago, I started the project by purchasing some buttons via eBay – specifically the start button and FX buttons. They didn’t cost me that much – somewhere around $12 for the lot.

This is my first time doing anything like this, so I'm pretty excited

The FX buttons I got measure 50x33mm, while the start button measures 33x33mm. I based the dimensions off the plans linked in the description of this video. And yes the original FX buttons are black, but they light up red so I got red ones.

It’s my first time doing anything like this, so once the buttons arrived I hooked one of them up to my Makey Makey, hoping that I would be able to play the one-button game Canabalt with one big red button. And it worked.

The other side of the FX button

It didn’t take much to work out what plugs into where. There’s 5 metal contact spots at the base of the button, and as far as I can tell this is how they work:

  • The side two are used to light up the button. You can take out the LED inside, so how you connect the wires to these spots depends on which way you’ve got your LED.
  • The bottom-most pin (top-most in the picture above, since the button’s upside down) connects to ground.
  • For the remaining two pins, one only gets power when the button is pressed and the other always has power except when the button is pressed. You only need to connect to one of these.

I’ll have to figure out how to configure the button so that it lights up when pressed, but that shouldn’t be too hard.

If I connect the button to power it just lights up continuously

If I connect the button directly to power it just lights up continuously

As for the 2 analog devices and 4 BT buttons, well…

I have some rotary encoders and knobs coming in the mail, so hopefully I’ll be able to test them out soon. Rotary encoders can be turned round and round without limit, which is exactly what I need. I’ll have to do some Arduino coding to get them to work with K-Shoot though.

The BT buttons, on the other hand, is where my problem currently lies. They’re expensive – about $20 each expensive.

So currently I’m deciding between choosing an alternative (round buttons the same size are much cheaper for some reason, but don’t look as cool) and going over budget and into “My controller costs as much as a 3DS” zone. It’ll be a tough decision.

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