The Custom Portable Controller Was Built Specifically to Play Rhythm Games Like K-Shoot Mania

Ren {Omnisai} Rose built this portable controller called PortaVoltex specifically for rhythm games like K-Shoot Mania and Sound Voltext.

Cameron Coward
22 days agoGaming / 3D Printing

One of the greatest things about video game live streaming services like Twitch is how they can be used to bring attention to games that would have flown under the radar in the past. Sure, we’ve always had reviews to find new games, but indie games from lesser-known developers were often overlooked. Those games can get their day in the sun if just one popular Twitch streamer plays them live. One game that has seen a lot of success on Twitch is K-Shoot Mania, which is an arcade rhythm game. But that is difficult to play with a normal keyboard or gamepad, which is why Ren {Omnisai} Rose built this portable controller called PortaVoltex specifically for the game.

This controller is built for K-Shoot Mania, Sound Voltex, and other rhythm games. These video games are similar to Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution and require absolutely impeccable timing, which is why they’re so fun to watch on Twitch. But the nature of these games also makes them poorly suited to standard controllers. Rose’s PortaVoltex has buttons that are arranged to give the player the best chance possible at accurately hitting those incredibly difficult chains of notes. It also contains control knobs for adjusting the sound volume. The design is heavily inspired by existing Sound Voltex controllers, but those can easily cost hundreds of dollars. The PortaVoltex can be built for just $25 and a bit of elbow grease.

The PortaVoltex is controlled by an Arduino Pro Micro board, which was chosen because it contains a Microchip ATmega32U4 microcontroller. That microcontroller is fairly unique, because it can be configured to show up as a standard USB HID keyboard when plugged into a computer. A total of eight Chery MX mechanical keyboard switches and two optical rotary encoders are monitored by the Arduino. The Arduino is programmed to send keypresses to the computer that can then be bound to the controls in whichever game you’re playing. The electronic components were all housed within an attractive 3D-printed enclosure. To dress up the enclosure, Rose designed a faceplate cover in Photoshop and printed that out onto a piece of sticker paper that could be applied to the plastic. We don’t know if the PortaVoltex gives Rose enough of an edge to compete against Twitch streamers, but it should definitely help.

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