Cyth Guitar Hero Cult of Personality

By Shamus
on Dec 20, 2008
Filed under:
Movies

What to do if you don’t have time to play videogames? Build a robot to play them for you:


Link (YouTube)

I think I’m the only guy in the world that hates that song, but I love the robot.

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201434 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.

From the Archives:

  1. Marauder says:

    Now that is just AWESOME!

  2. Jordi says:

    This is kind of cool, but I have to say I’m kind of surprised that the robot actually missed some notes. As impressive as it is that they built this robot, I would say that playing Guitar Hero is a very simple task as far as robotics are concerned.

  3. Kevin says:

    There’s a video game where you play a guitar? What’ll they think of next?

  4. sporksmith says:

    Jordi – I suspect the strum bar is the problem. Human players alternate between up and down strums on rapid note sequences, but the robot only strums in one direction and waits for the strum bar to ‘recover’. The recovery might not always be fast enough for the rapid note sequences here :)

  5. God, I hate that fucking song.

  6. ramazottel says:

    I guess this is why i don’t like games where you are supposed to replace such a robot. Games that only allow the player to act in a way according to the regulations and without any potential for the player to live his ideas or strategies.

    @Kevin: I dont know if there is already a “drum hero”, “wash dishes hero”, “changing diapers hero”, “drink and puke the wii remote bucket to the edge – hero”, but maybe i give some ideas to the industry guys right now.

    Oh, by the way: OK, this “Living color” – dudes are pretty messed up, but i don’t see why this song is so worth hating it? Maybe you could explain it.

    Have a nice day.

  7. Ben says:

    Ah, Living Colour. The only true Black Metal band!

    I quite like this song. Does the robot not do hammer-ons and pull-offs?

  8. You’re not the only one who hates the song. Cool idea though!

  9. Annon says:

    The song grates on my nerves, yet I still enjoy playing it on GH3. Messed up…

    Am I the only one who suddenly feels the need to grab my soldering iron, replace a few switches in a cheap guitar with transistors, and start writing code…?

    Not as awesome as using pneumatics, but it would still be awesome to have my very own guitarbot…

  10. Spider Dave says:

    Now they just need to build one that you can hide easily and wear on your body, so that you can fool your friends into thinking you’re amazing.

  11. Richard Smith says:

    There are times in some games where I entertain the notion of creating a robot to deal with certain tedious aspects of gameplay. Mindstorms NXT does have Bluetooth communications, so a computer monitoring a game screen could possibly send commands to the motors. Bit of a limitation with only three output controls, though. Maybe someone’s created a decent multiplexer brick…

    Then again, if it’s the Xbox 360 or PS3, perhaps a USB patch cord between PC and console, and spoofing a controller via the PC. Not quite as visually satisfying as robotics, though.

  12. MintSkittle says:

    Seriously, if you can build and program a robot to play games for you, you have time to play games.

    Also, I’m kinda meh on the song.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Was I the only one thinking about skynet while watching this?

  14. Nick Pitino says:

    Cool stuff, this is the kind of thing I might be inclined to attempt if I had a great deal more skill and wasn’t chronically plagued with ‘Cannot be arsed.’

    Also, I don’t mind the song personally. Then again, I’m also one of those people who thinks Dragonforce is a good time and will then follow them with Gordon Lightfoot and Dschinghis Khan.

    So I’m probably the wrong person to ask.

  15. Matt says:

    Song is awesome IMO, though I was kind of disappointed that the robot missed a few notes. I’m inclined to agree that its probably a problem with the strum bar.

  16. oleyo says:

    I think that was pretty cool. At first i thought that the robot just was programmed with the sequence of the song, which didn’t impress me. However, it looked to me like it had a camera set up to “see” the notes and play, which means it can probably play any arbitrary song: very cool.

    I am sure this was a great learning experience in this field for whoever built it. Often the process of creating has value in itself, regardless of the actual usefulness of the end result.

  17. Rask says:

    Now they need to make a wearable version, like Spider Dave mentions above. My thought is to wire electrodes up to my finger muscles so that my fingers contract at the right moments.

    (“They call them fingers, but I’ve never seen them fing. Oh, wait, there they go…”)

  18. Sam says:

    I quite love the song. I don’t, however, see the point of making a robot to play video games. I thought the purpose of a video game was for a person to interact with what’s going on on the screen. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned like that.

  19. Shamus says:

    Better than building a “hideable” version would simply be to build the functionality into the instrument. Have it ignore your input and generate its own near-flawless stream. You’d be fine as long as nobody took away your “lucky” guitar.

    In either case, the most difficult problem is getting the optics working. As pictured, it needs a carefully-positioned camera to see the screen and a laptop to run the software to analyze the data. If you’ve got some real hardware chops, you could rig up a tiny computer of some sort (something that would fit in the guitar casing, one would hope) to do the processing. The SUPER hard part is concealing a camera to capture the TV image, and then make the program sophisticated enough to read the data regardless of camera positioning & orientation. In real time. While you’re most likely jostling the instrument as you play.

    It’s not impossible, but it’s quickly going from “cool project” to MIT level challenge.

    Still, I’ll bet Randal Munroe could get someone to do it.

  20. Shadow2336 says:

    Next step they need to do, is make it recognize between the hammer-on/offs and then not have the computer strum during that point in time.

    However, that’s just a bit of coding and graphical recognition.

  21. Dave says:

    Say.. how about build one that hides so well.. that you don’t even need an instrument.. you could just put it in a file.. and when you wanted to hear the song.. you could use a special player and listen to it.. and when you friends ask if you can play said song.. say… “yes”

    I love robots.. but.. this is like making a robot to type the keys for me on the keyboard by listening to my voice.. As much as I love robots.. I love elegantly-simple solutions.

    That said.. I also am continually amazed at how humans can turn nothing into problems that create more problems.. then find wonderfully-complex simple solutions.

    That song.. well.. in its heyday it was OK .. IF played through an ok “stereo”.. otherwise its grating AM-Radio-quality just hurts.. this method of listening to it hurt even more.. it hurts to eleven!

  22. Jordi says:

    Doing this with a portable (and hidden) camera would indeed make it more challenging, although strictly speaking that would really shift it towards the field of image/video recognition (rather than robotics). Not that that matters though.

    If you’re going for making people think you’re an awesome player, it would probably be a lot easier to try have the instrument recognize the song and then have it automatically play the sequence from memory. Since Guitar Hero has only a limited amount of songs, this should be doable.

  23. AndrewNZachsDad says:

    Ummm…so, just so I have this straight: we’re talking here about creating a device which will simulate me using a device which simulates me playing the guitar? As wicked-cool as robotics are, it might just be easier to learn to play the guitar…

  24. luagha says:

    Virtual Virtual Skeeball.

    “Wow, it’s almost as real as playing Virtual Skeeball!”

  25. Arson55 says:

    I hate the song also.

    …and also find the robot pretty pointless. Wow, you can build a robot that can play a mediocre video game…as opposed to anything useful.

    Still, I suppose I did watch all of both this one and their Dragonforce video so I guess I’m just being overly harsh. Whatever.

  26. Colin Lacey says:

    You mean there are people who actually enjoy that song?

  27. Wonderduck says:

    Arson55 sez: “I hate the song also.
    …and also find the robot pretty pointless. Wow, you can build a robot that can play a mediocre video game…as opposed to anything useful.”

    So what is it, exactly, that you object to in the song? Lots of people in here have said they don’t like it, but nobody says WHY. I remember when I first heard Living Colour, back in 1988, they completely blew me away. Their live performance of “Cult of Personality” on the Arsenio Show made me buy tickets to see ’em. To this day, I crank this song when it comes on my computer’s playlist. So WHY don’t you like it? Inquiring minds wanna know.

    Oh, and the robot might be pointless, but so is mountain climbing and surfing. Wow, you can climb a rock or float on top of a wave, so what? Does EVERYTHING have to be useful?

  28. Nathaniel says:

    Speaking just for myself, I hadn’t heard it before just now, and hated it. Then I listened to an actual performance on youtube, and it was pretty cool. The bit I hate is that little riff that gets repeated over and over and over. It’s a horrible ugly little riff, but in the actual performance you can’t hear it much of the time, and the rest of the song rocks.

  29. ClearWater says:

    Am I the only one who suddenly feels the need to grab my soldering iron, replace a few switches in a cheap guitar with transistors, and start writing code…?

    Now there’s an idea! A guitar as the input device for writing code. I wonder what “clean” code vs. spaghetti code would sound like.

  30. […] Awesome.  An utter waste of somebody’s time, but still awesome. This entry was written by Nemo and posted on 2008-12-22 at 16:56 and filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « American Idle […]

  31. Nabeshin says:

    “Better than building a “hideable” version would simply be to build the functionality into the instrument. Have it ignore your input and generate its own near-flawless stream. You’d be fine as long as nobody took away your “lucky” guitar.”

    Call me kooky (And I’ve never even tried this game), but why not try to become somewhat proficient at it?
    Hell, trying to become good at it would take less energy than developing the hard/software to cheat at it!
    The “Easy” way out isn’t always that easy…

  32. kamagurka says:

    That is pretty cool, but damn that song sucks.

  33. John Darque says:

    my god…the next race of semi-autonomous beings.

    we might as well consider the human race fucked

  34. Ardis Meade says:

    I can see why some would put work into this. Teaching computers to react to variable external stimuli (especially optical data), is still a challenge.

    However, my first thought is still, “why not just buy the cd?”

One Trackback

  1. By self-evident » Guitar Hero is a solved problem on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    […] Awesome.  An utter waste of somebody’s time, but still awesome. This entry was written by Nemo and posted on 2008-12-22 at 16:56 and filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « American Idle […]

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