After taking a step back on projects to focus on school and work, I’ve returned to lay out my process of developing the OVERTIME Controller 2.0.
For those not familiar with the project, OVERTIME is a game originally created for the Extra Credits first ever Game Jam under the theme of “Awesome-Per-Second.” It’s a wario-ware-style game centered around anime basketball, tropes and all. After it’s initial creation, the team who made it approached me with the goal of creating some eye-catching controller based on a classic 90s basketball toy off amazon (see previous post for that).
Time passed and the game was showcased at Dreamhack Atlanta and Minefaire, where it faced a good bit of user testing, feedback and wear and tear. After those conferences, we were accepted to alt.ctrl.GDC, a major personal achievement of mine. With this acceptance came a need for improvement, however. The controller was too heavy for easy handling, the belt input was chunky and inconsistent, and it often risked being damaged because of certain sections of fragility (it was a rather rushed project). This began my quest of answering all those problems and adding a bit of style too.
The first issue was input. The belt and rotary encoder was okay for small cases, but was lumpy and people didn’t feel confident in maneuvering it. After exploring a few options, I landed on using a linear potentiometer for its durability, minute detail of positioning and affordability (this one specifically). The input could be processed by the analog pin in of an Arduino Uno, so no issues there. One problem I did encounter with this particular potentiometer is that it had occasional value bouncing, jumping from its true value to somewhere a bit left of middle. This was just counteracted with lerping movement within Unity, so not a big deal.
The next challenge was weight and height, which in turn provided an opportunity to modify aesthetic. Since the first version of the controller was originally a toy with hardware stuffed inside, I chose to create a base which added a lot of heft. It also was blue, which was a bit out-of-theme since the game’s main colors are purple and yellow. So for version two, I remodeled the entire controller in Fusion 360, and made it purple.
It is modeled after the original constraints of the first controller, with the inclusion of more space underneath and a specific insert of the potentiometer on the front and openings for button wires to pass through. It also retained the detachable hoop stand to make transport a bit safer and assure that it would *likely* not snap.
The base was made of two pieces of wood, one hollowed out to allow for the arduino and wires to fit on the inside. I used small metal rods to attach the top and bottom, which still allows me to remove the wood if necessary.
Looking back on the controller, there are definite things I would change. For one, the button I designed for the front was the first button I ever designed, so it was a bit rough around the edges. It was essentially only secured by a spring, and was able to last all through GDC, but began disconnecting after that. I’d also set up COM port canning so that it can instantly work with any computer, rather that whichever is set up specifically in the code.
After getting the opportunity to showcase in so many places, I’m super thankful that I had a hand in the project. I’ve met so many cool people, developed new skills, and opened up new avenues of exploration that I am pursuing with new projects.