Archives: December, 1969

DIY Hard DDR Pad

Wednesday, December 31st, 1969

I was tired of slipping and sliding on my soft DDR pad, so last night (at like 2:00 in the morning) I decided to convert my soft pad into a hard pad!

Here’s my result:

First, I took apart one of my old soft pads that was “broken”. After opening it up and poking around, I found that the inner layers were merely out of alignment, and that the sensors themselves were fine. I taped the layers down one at a time to a piece of plywood with my trusty blue painters tape and ensured that they were perfectly positioned.

I found some wood squares that my dad cut for who knows what. First, I tried just taping them down, but an E on No. 13 said that having to retape the squares after each song wasn’t going to work. So, I found staple gun. But the staples weren’t long enough. So I grabbed some screws and a screwdriver and went to work.

The first prototype (pictured here) had some critical flaws. First, the screws couldn’t be too tight, or else the sensoes would be constantly pushed by the wood. My playtesting revealed that you had to stomp on the wood boards because it wasn’t very responsive because the design of the sensors necesitates some sort of curved force to work correctly. I decided I needed to make some revisions.

This afternoon, I ran to Lowes and picked up some rubber washers and felt feet. I used the rubber washers as spacers for the screws, and attached several feet underneath each wooden pad. I was proud of my handiwork, and after adjusting the tightness of a couple screws, I determined that it was suitable for use.

Initial playtesting was a mixed bag. I found it hard to adapt to the raised buttons. Apparently I had developed a style of “sliding” on the soft pad that resulted in some hurting feet when I tried it on this pad. I did like the tactile feedback the raised pads provided, but my scores said differently. I was getting more “random boos” on the hard pad than I used to on the soft pad. This was because the wood occasionally stuck down. I AA full combo’d a couple 7 footers, (which I think was luck), but most of the songs I played were riddled with random boos (mostly the left and back buttons). I kept adjusting the screws, but never really found a sweet spot.

So, I think I’m going to ditch the wood raised platforms and go with a flat surface. I still want some sort of tactile feedback, so I might try changing the texture of the edges of teh buttons with like velcro or something. I suppose it was mostly a waste of time (and of $15), but it turned out looking cool (thanks to my pro blue tape).

I’ll post again when I revise my pad!

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