Introduction: Game Controllers

This instructable will teach you how to construct homemade game controllers for personal games, education aids, or anything you want.

This system uses 4 controllers which send signals to a central hub which holds an Arduino.

It was designed for use with a game called Fraction Smash that my group was developing for a class. Students would enter a fraction using the keypad to re-size their character and then hit the smash button to break through the door if they are the right size.

More info here:
http://pdi-studio5.wp.rpi.edu/fraction-smash/


Parts:

Keypad (3.95)
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8653

Buttons (1.49)
http://compare.ebay.com/like/120554574811?var=lv

Step 1: Cut Out Pieces

The first step is to cut out all the pieces to be used. In my design I used a CNC waterjet cutter for all the parts. You could also use a laser cutter for precision parts. If you don't have access to either a waterjet cutter or laser cutter you can cut the parts out of wood by hand. If that is your choice, I would recommend skipping the tabs and just using nails or screws instead.

The .DXF files are attached for automated processes.

All of the CAD files and assemblies can be found here:
http://pdi-studio5.wp.rpi.edu/files/2011/12/Fraction-Smash-CAD.zip

Step 2: Add Wires to Ethernet Keystones

This system uses Ethernet cables for the controllers to communicate with the hub. I used three wires on the Ethernet cable, power, ground, and data, although there is space for up to 8 wires if you need more room.

Keystones are easy to use. Simply place one wire in each slot and then push the plastic cap down on top. It may be too hard to do by hand so I used a pair of pliers to push it down. It is not necessary to strip the wire as the keystone will cut through the insulation for you to make a connection.

Step 3: Circuit

I used the same circuit for the keypad as this intructable:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-3-wire-Matrix-Keypad/

The green and white wires in the picture go to the keypad.

The only difference is that I added the arcade button (not shown) with a wire from positive through the button and then right to the output bypassing all the resistors.



Step 4: Contruction

I used super glue to attach all the parts together leaving only the top unglued to allow for maintenance.

The keystones can be pressed into the holes with a little force. Same goes for the keypad. Mine was a little tight so I sanded the edges of the plastic with a Dremel to get a better fit.

Next simply attach the arcade button and connect all the wires. The bread board has an adhesive layer on the back so it can stick in place which is very convenient. The placement of the breadboard and the orientation of the button are critical so that everything fits properly. I designed these to be as small as possible so there is not much extra room.

Step 5: Construction (cont'd)

The hub follows the same process as before.

I added a piece from a breadboard for the power and ground wires and the 4 data lines go into 4 separate analog inputs on the Arduino.

Step 6:

Now simply pop the front plates on and connect the Ethernet cables.

For more info on the project I used this for see here:
http://pdi-studio5.wp.rpi.edu/fraction-smash/

You can also find code there to use.


Thanks!

Comments

author
ceafin made it!(author)2016-10-11

Did any source code for the game itself ever make it to GitHub/GitLab/etc?

author
matthanson12 made it!(author)2016-10-11

I dont think so, the game wasnt very good anyways

author
jthomp2 made it!(author)2015-01-21

The link to additional project info is broken.

author
matthanson12 made it!(author)2015-01-21

Sorry this was a school project, they don't keep our stuff hosted forever I guess. If you have any specific questions I can help.

author
Specautomatics made it!(author)2011-12-16

Good idea!

author
DeusXMachina made it!(author)2011-12-12

Oh hey, you go to my (former) school! Just graduated in May, degree in Chemistry. Never touched the PDI classes, but I have engineer friends who did.

author
cornboy3 made it!(author)2011-12-10

It would be cool if the host was a teensy rather than an arduino because it would have usb hid support

author
boris_81 made it!(author)2011-12-09

GREAT JOB!!

I think you can save up some money ($23.8 to be exact) and space if instead of using the bread board, the resistance are soldered directly to the keypad.

author
matthanson12 made it!(author)2011-12-09

Haha, I did not actually pay for them, I borrowed them from our classroom.

If you look at this instructable you can see what I based the circuit off of:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-3-wire-Matrix-Keypad/

As you can see it is not just one resistor to each pin but a connected resistor ladder. It needs either a breadboard or a pcb to hold the circuit together. I am planning to make pcbs for them so I can return the breadboards :)

author
farmerboyk made it!(author)2011-12-08

Good idea!
I can see how this could be used for a (fake phone numbers) phone number guessing game, or math game! Favoriting!