Tilt2Joystick: play games by tipping your laptop in different directions

Tilt2Joystick is a revolutionary application that allows users to tip and tilt their laptops to play games, draw, scroll, and press any number of configurable keys for use in any application.  With Tilt2Joystick, you can use your entire laptop like a joystick controller. Who says iPhone owners should have all the fun?  Tilt2Joystick is lightweight and fast, allowing it to be run seamlessly in the background and used in any application.  No special programming skills are needed, you can just start up the application and begin using right away. (Requires Macintosh Laptop with Sudden Motion Sensor [more info])

Tilt2Joystick featured on Maclife.com's 69 Awesomely Free Snow Leopard Compatible Apps

Tilt2Joystick featured on Maclife.com's 69 Awesomely Free Snow Leopard Compatible Apps

Warning: Please don’t run Tilt2Joystick while you have unfinished or sensitive documents open.

Help, the coordinates are backwards! No worries: Click here

Help
System Requirements / Compatibility
Tutorial Video
Troubleshooting

Features:

  • Easy-to-use interface: no programming required
  • Laptop doesn’t need to be at rest in order to use
  • Easily disabled and enabled
  • Includes customizable keys via a simple listen interface
  • Runs in background and can be used in any application
  • Fast polling of Motion Sensor gives quick response
Single-window interface

Tilt2Joystick has a simple single-window interface

Help

Following is a description of each of Tilt2Joystick’s features and inputs.

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1 .On / Off button: Enable and disable Tilt2Joystick.

2. Set sliders for activate points, X Axis: You can change the grey sliders to indicate where you want the tilting to begin sending output to other applications.  Use the incoming SMS data indicator as a guide, to show you where your laptop is currently positioned. When you tilt your laptop, the black incoming SMS data indicator will move (provided Tilt2Joystick is turned on).  When the end of the black line enters the area you have set with the grey sliders, the corresponding button will light up (about the direction buttons). Set the grey sliders to the right and left side for the X Axis.

3. Set sliders for activate points, Y Axis: As above, but with Y Axis and up and down indicators. It’s important to note that although the resulting messages sent are for up and down (as one would describe the arrow keys on your keyboard), what you will be doing with the laptop is you will be tilting it back and forward. For more information on how to tilt your laptop, please view the tutorial video.

4. Key set and display buttons: Once you set your activate points using the sliders as described above, you can tip your laptop back, forward, right and left (remember that back and forward become up and down on the display and output), and the direction activation display buttons should light green to indicate whenever you trigger an activation point.  There is one lit button for each direction: Left, Right, Up, and Down.  You can change the key that Tilt2Joystick triggers, by clicking on any direction button and typing in a new key while Tilt2Joystick “listens”.  Listening is indicated by a flashing message above the activation points, and by a flashing border on the direction that you are currently changing. End listening by either entering a key or by clicking anywhere else.  Note that you can’t use Function keys, Alt, Apple, Ctrl, Caps Lock, or Shift.  Tilt2Joystick has default keys based on four directions as sent to the 4 arrow keys on the standard Macbook or Sudden Motion Sensor-enabled  Powebook G4 or iBook G4 number pad (see compatible laptops here).

5. Flip X and/or Y Axis: You can choose to Flip the readout from either the X or Y axes.  Note that this will most likely be necessary for most laptops, since the Motion Sensor Data is seemingly non-standard from Apple’s end. In other words, some laptops will have the SMS data read one way, and some will have it the opposite.  You can use these buttons to set your laptop correctly.  Tilting to the left should light the left button, the right should light the right, tilting the laptop back should light the up button and forward should light the down button. If these are backwards, then you should use the Flip buttons to correct it. Here is an overview of some laptops I have tested. This is not a comprehensive or cross-checked list, but it should act as a guideline.

  • Macbook Pro 17″ Aluminum: No Flip
  • Macbook Pro 17″ Unibody: Flip X
  • Macbook Pro 15″ Unibody 1st Gen: Flip X
  • Macbook Pro 15″ Unibody 2.8: Flip Y and X
  • Macbook 13″ Unibody 2.26 and 2.53: Flip Y
  • Macbook Air: Flip Y
  • Macbook Black 2 Ghz: Flip Y
  • Macbook White 2 Ghz (second generation?): Flip Y, Flip X
  • Macbook Unibody: Flip Y

Please contact me if you have info on a laptop not listed here!

5a. New in version 1.1! You can switch the X and Y axis: necessary for some laptop models. More info

6. Set sliders using auto position: These buttons allow you to calculate activate points with the X and Y axis sliders automatically based on the current position of your laptop. Estimate: Use this if your laptop is off center.  For example, if you are reclining on a chair with your laptop in your knees, then you can use this function to set off-center activation points. Center: This will set the activation points based on a laptop that is at rest, such as one that is on a level table or other flat surface.

7. Incoming SMS data: These are the thinner sliders that can’t be changed by the user. They are indicators showing you the position of your laptop. They only give a readout when Tilt2Joystick is turned on using the On/Off button.

Tilt2Joystick features default key codes that correspond to the 4 arrow keys on most compatible laptops.  This will be useful for people who want to play online or desktop games that use the arrow keys, or who want to scroll and move forward and backward in documents.

System Requirements

  1. PPC or Intel Macintosh running OS X 10.4 or later
  2. A laptop with the Sudden Motion Sensor. This includes all Intel-based Apple portables such as the MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, PowerBook G4 computers starting with PowerBook G4 (12-inch 1.5GHz), PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.67/1.5GHz), PowerBook G4 (17-inch 1.67GHz), and iBook G4 computers starting with iBook G4 (Mid 2005) Read More

Tutorial Video for Tilt2Joystick:

For an entire level of Pacman cleared using the technology that was later to become Tilt2Joystick, you can click here.

Toubleshooting

1) I tried to rename Tilt2Joystick to something else, and it won’t load. This is a bug. You should rename it back to Tilt2Joystick.app.  I’ll be looking into this problem in the future.

2) Every time I re-start my computer or re-login, I get a folder in the Trash called “Recovered Files”. This is a problem with Leopard compatibility with the software used to create the Applications. Future updates will solve this problem. In the meantime, I’m afraid users will have to manually delete these files at some point. They won’t cause any harm if deleted, moved, or left alone.

3) When I tip my laptop, the black arrow goes the opposite direction of what it should. This is because not all Motion Sensor Data is the same across the entire laptop line. You can fix the problem using the Flip buttons described here as well as read about how certain laptops respond.

Macbook and Sudden Motion Sensor are the property of Apple, Inc.

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  • http://www.jamesocallaghan.ca James

    Hey, this is fantastic!
    Are you able to make the original Max patch available?
    (Or, if possible, can the data from the sensors be sent through OSC or something?)
    Please e-mail me and let me know.
    Thanks for making this available! :)
    Best,
    -James

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  • Wolfos

    if you'd go opensource it would be awesome, people could include this function in games.

    • http://jnote.org James

      That's not a bad idea. I am not sure about the restrictions of some of the objects I used, if there are any.

  • Wolfos

    somehow, it doesn't work in Flash CS5 which is very weird.
    try it!

    • http://jnote.org James

      I only have CS3 so I can't test it. I'll hopefully be releasing a new version soon, that may fix the problem. If you want Tilt2Joystick to react to actual Flash movies on your desktop, you could maybe try other players.

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  • http://theawsomegamerpros97.wetpaint.com/ Oscar

    Im very sad on this. I tried to play WoW (World of Warcraft) with Tilt2Joystick, but whenever i try my WoW character goes like 1cm, stop, 1cm, stop, 1cm and repeat. Try to fix this beacuse it would be awsome if you could fix that bug.
    Thanks!

  • Paul

    This is great! I downloaded another tool that did the same thing, but was far more difficult to use. I think one really great thing would be to add an option where a button could be triggered using the z axis (when there is a large enough change?). For example, If I wanted to click. I could shake my mac in a downward motion. That would be cool.
    Thanks for the great app.

    • James

      Thanks for the comments, Paul. I have had a few requests for some Z-axis action, so I will definitely consider it. It would be fun to toy around with, especially with audio or light feedback.