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pjf (2464)

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I run Perl Training Australia [].

I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.

I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.

Journal of pjf (2464)

Monday August 20, 2007
03:39 AM

Building a stepmania machine

[ #34157 ]

Building a StepMania machine
My social demographic consists almost entirely of geeks. When I go to parties, activities intend to include Wii Tennis, boardgames, and physics debates. They usually don't involve much in the way of dancing. Overall, that's a good thing, because if I were to dance then anyone nearby with a camera is likely to record the moment in an attempt to squeeze $500 out of Australia's Funniest Home Videos. That's why I love the Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) style games so much; I can still look like a fool, but I can get points for doing so.

The simple addition of a couple of dance mats and a scoring system results in an amazing behavioural change. Songs which would previously had one silence the radio with a sledgehammer suddenly become "cool" and "groovy" with "interesting footwork" and "awesome combos". As such, I've been putting together my own StepMania setup. This post is primarily to record two painful experiences that I'd rather not have anyone else encounter.

The first involves video drivers. I'm using a mobile GeForce 7800 Go graphics card, and all the official drivers are ancient. Using drivers from Laptop Video 2 Go have always provided me with some relief here, however the more recent versions would install fine, but break the control panel. It seems this is a well-known problem, and an .ini fix is available for those wishing to try it. It didn't help me with all versions, but it helped me enough to get the control panel happening in 9424 release, which made stepmania happy to run on my TV's native resolution in fullscreen.

The second involves my purchase of a Super Joy Box 5 Pro, which are readily available on eBay, and sound awesome, allowing four playstation controllers to be converted to USB using a single box.

Do not buy the Super Joy Box 5 Pro. It is not awesome. It allows only a single controller to be attached; any more and they start interfering with each other, which makes all controllers but one effectively unusable. It appears that this isn't unique to this particular device; a number of the items from MayFlash have similar problems. I'd be very cautious before buying anything in the Super Joy Box series.

Instead of paying for some crapola from eBay that doesn't work, go read the StepMania page on USB adaptors and ignore the ticks. The ticks lie. Read the user comments; all USB adaptors suck, but some of them suck less. Play-Asia delivers to Australia and seems to have reasonable prices and postage. I've just ordered a EMS dual shooter from them, which seem to be highly recommended.

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  • I'm pleased to see I'm not the only Stepmania geek in Australia. I realised a couple of months ago that I'm always jumping and bopping to the beat of songs so I thought I'd couple that with my need for exercise and my terminal geekiness.

    I downloaded the Mac OSX version of Stepmania, ordered a cheap (US$25+US$33postage) USB dance pad from Step-Asia and while waiting for delivery started adding step files to some of my golden oldie MP3s. (I don't understand most of the music that seems to be around for DDR/

    • I don't understand most of the music that seems to be around for DDR/Stepmania, it doesn't seem to have any tune or words so how can you dance to it?

      Most of the music I listen to doesn't have words; it's there to keep half my brain amused while the other half is doing something important, like coding or writing or gaming. In the same way, I actually prefer my DDR/StepMania music to be lacking words; words are distracting, and if I listen to them I might make a mistake.

      Having said that, most of the m

      • I'm Sydney-based so maybe you could suggest to the SydPM people to organise a Stepmania comp to complement the Trivia quizzes: "Drink beer, answer questions, dance, pass out..." sort of thing :-)