Complete Sound Voltex or K-ShootMania Controller Build
Interested in one of the coolest and stylish rhythym games from Japan, but don't have an adequate controller to play it? Then what you need is to build yourself one!
Last Updated: Aug. 10, 2017
This article is the full complete version of what was split into five parts from the old articles. This article will be extremely long with information and details on building your own controller from scratch. Before you read on further, take a look at the project specifications to see if you will be able to make one yourself.
What is Sound Voltex or K-ShootMania?:
Sound Voltex is a Japanese rhythym game created by Konami. It is currently not released outside of Japan, but a developer known as Masaka created K-ShootMania to emulate the features that Sound Voltex had for Windows PC. The game-play of the game is almost identical to guitar hero or other button smashing rhythym games. Here is a video of what an official Sound Voltex game-play looks like and below it is a K-ShootMania video.
Lets get started:
Alright, so you have an idea of what the game is like! Firstly, since this game is not that popular it is difficult to buy a controller, but there are s few websites you can just buy a pre-made controller. You can buy controllers from Gamo2 or Virgoo. Both home-brew (or small business) controller makers are reputable and produce high quality controllers (I never bought one though, so I can't vouch for myself and only from the online consensus of others).
I do want to stress that if you don't have any experience in electronics or programming you may want to watch a few videos about the Arduino because that is the micro-controller that we will be using. I found this site: https://sdvxii.pancakeapps.com/#Parts to be helpful, but now they are https://sdvxdiy.github.io/. I based my purchases off the ones it recommended. Not everything on there though was ideal though. I had to look for a few alternative parts. I did get the same micro controller, but once I get everything to work, I may probably switch it out for a slightly powerful one with more general input and outputs pins because I want to add a few extra capabilities in the future,
What you need to buy:
Below is an image of the parts that you will need. You can buy cheaper parts of the buttons and the rotary encoders and encasement, but I was going for a premium quality controller, so I got the best parts. Most of the parts was bought on eBay. Also please be very careful in buying Arduino micro-controllers online because some of them are fake! Buy the real one.
Now for the tools, you will need a soldering iron, soldering wire, helping hands (maybe), wire cutter, wire stripper, and maybe any type of saw and nails or screws. It's important to have those tools because you will solder wires together to connect to the buttons and the Arduino micro-controller. The wire connectors are optional and you do not need them when you can solder!
The Design Process:
Now the first step you want to take is to create a blueprint of how you want to design your controller. This is extremely important because it will be your guide to actually building the controller. You must also take measurements because you don't want to mess it up. Take note of the buttons dimensions that you buy as well and factor in the size of each part into your design. The design I came up with for my controller is below, but wasn't the final design, although very similar.
The measurements in the above images weren't carefully recorded there, but in another blue-print which was lost somehow had careful measurements to the nook and cranny! You can also base your design off of the original controller top panel. A link: http://blog-imgs-42-origin.fc2.com/h/o/m/homingpuyo/rect3855-8.jpg
Once you get all the parts:
It is time to experiment! If you are new to this type of skill focus then start messing around with how the buttons works and how wiring works. You don't want to solder your parts and mess up because you will damaged them. Get familiar on current flow and voltage drops. A good way to experiment is by using a breadboard with simple LEDs, batteries, wires, and resistors.
After you have familiarised yourself with the components of the controller, it is time to start putting it together. At this part, you can either build the controller encasement first or start wiring things up to get it to work properly before you actually start soldering the wires to the button and so on.
Now you may be wondering about how to code the Arduino micro-controller. If you have zero experience in coding go to their website: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage
Now the code you want to load onto your Arduino using the Arduino IDE -- forgot to mention make sure you set the correct package info and model for your Arduino board to load the code onto! This is the code you want to copy and paste. Please read the code and you can change some of the variables to your likings if you do not like them.
Here is a diagram found online for wiring the button switches:
To better further your game-play with the controller, you may want to add a low-pass filter or a circuit to reduce the noise from the rotary encoders. Below is a schematic and pictures on how the wiring should look like if you want to add in capacitors for better knob accuracy. A capacitor of .1 uF or close should be sufficient to reduce the noise.
It was such a nightmare daisy-chaining, which is a wiring technique by combining similar wires such as ground together to one ground pin, all the buttons and rotary encoders together! In the above pictures I just crimped the wires together, but you should solder them as it is a more secure connection. I used a breadboard for the rotary encoders for output into a low-pass filter to reduce the noise and it goes into the Arduino. The entire thing is powered by a standard USB 2.0 which is only 5V!
Finishing Up The Controller:
Now that you have everything wired up and encased...
The above images show the older version or proto-type encasement of my own controller! A few weeks later my dad's friend was willing to do my actual metal encasement. I provided him a complete blue print with exact measurements and it came out just how I expected it to. Check it out!
The plexi-glass or synthesized glass is removable through the metal sleeves of the case. Isn't it beatiful? The lid is also easily open-able by just flipping it up, which is attached to hinges. The bottom also has rubber stands to prevent sliding on solid soft surfaces like a table.
Here are some tips and some issues I had with some components... Here's a good video for a technique using the jig saw: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20657714,00.html
The sizes vary for buttons, but it will be obviously different for your cut-outs if you get different buttons than I did. When I was looking for the screws for the rotary encoder, a good store to buy them are at Fastenal (where I live), other than that you can buy it online. The specific screws are machine type, they are M3-0.5 X 6 socket head cap screw. If you need a specific extra details it is, a class 12.9 black oxide finish. Don't forget to fasten the washers underneath of the top panel for the rotary encoders.
Finally, it is time for you to download the game and start configuring the controls to use your controller on it. Before I go onto the configuration, you may also wonder about how to acquire the maps for the game. In the newer version of K-ShootMania you can use the input-gate feature to directly download songs.
Setting-up K-ShootMania and Songs:
Once you have installed K-ShootMania from this site: http://www.kshootmania.com/download.html, it's time to download some songs! As mentioned before, you can get songs from the input-gate feature, but if you want more songs you can go to these sites too: https://github.com/Schinizer/kshootmaniasdvx, https://sites.google.com/site/ksh0hokansite/home/kshhokanko, and my favorite this one: https://pulsevar-ksm.tumblr.com/.
Once you have your songs downloaded and loaded into the song folder; you can also get custom skins! If you want the custom skin I have, which you can find on Google or this reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/kshootmania/, then leave a comment below. Now launch the game and configure with these settings:
Now you are basically ready to play! Watch me play, haha!
Now enjoy this your new rythym game that you worked hard for. You deserve it. What's your favorite chart for Sound Voltex or K-ShootMania? Leave a comment below~
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