Wed, 16 Aug 2006

RedOctane Dance Mat, DDR, pydance and StepMania

When I was in Sydney talking about horrible legislative dangers to Free Software , there was a gaming "sluglets" session, and someone introduced me to PyDance.

Did some research, and ordered the RedOctane dance mat, which arrived while I was away at OLS, and Kelly came over to help Alli set it up. PyDance has some synchronization issues (a killer for this game: it seems to lag slightly, but enough to drop scoring significantly), so we've taken to using the BSD-licensed StepMania. (As an aside, the complete sets of songs and steps from the original arcade "Dance Dance Revolution" series are out there; this is probably a copyright violation, but, like MAME ROMs, a case where enforcement would just punish fans and exacerbate the failure-to-supply/orphan-works problems of modern copyright).

Anyway, the point of this post is to feed the following facts to Google: it turns out that on both Alli's and my laptops (and on Kellys without the power plugged in), the USB dance mat connects and disconnects every few seconds, making it useless. On our desktop machine (a server which doesn't have 3D support, making StepMania unusable) it's fine. With some experimentation, a USB hub (unpowered!) between the laptop and the dance mat, and it works flawlessly. I don't know if this is some device flakiness and/or a Linux/Ubuntu USB bug, but I was cursing Greg K-H for a while there...

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