I have to admit this Sudden Motion Sensor (SMS) quest has brought me much further than I expected and has resulted in these three part articles.
In the first part, we discussed a bit about the Accelerometer concept in Mac laptops and how to set up an anti-theft alarm using the principle.
In the second part, we discussed about cool SMS-based applications.
Now in this third part, we will look at several simple and fun games that utilizes SMS as the controls, and also the possibilities of using SMS to control any games – or even anything.
We begin with the list of free games which are built with the sudden motion sensor in mind. But the exploration of the SMS feature in the gaming world has not gone too far so most of the games are too simple.
The first SMS-based game that I found is this Tunnel. Very simple, period. Even the color is only in black and white. But the first time playing it in front of my Windows-fanatic friends – and looking at their dropped jaw made me realize that there is more behind the simplicity and also how cool my Macbook is.
Anyway, the game is a nice time filler and don’t let the simplicity fool you. It’s not THAT easy.
The goal of this game is to get more points by making the ball touch the side of the wall colored green. During the game the walls will continuosly change color between red and green. If your ball touches the red, you’ll lose one life.
Kids will love this game, but I personally think that it is too easy. You can cheat by placing the ball near one side of the wall and wait for it to turn green instead of bouncing back and forth from left to right.
I assume you are familiar with Pong. This classic game has been brought to the Mac. With a “loud” twist, tilt your Macbook to control the paddle and bounce the ball, scream to enlarge it. Yes, you have to literally scream.
4. Tilt Mania
Colorful bars – with a random hole in the middle – are continuously going up, and the black ball must go down. Your job is to guide the ball down. If the ball is caught in the ceiling, you lose one life. The colors and simplicity will suit children, but that doesn’t mean that adults can’t get addicted to it.
But the limited number of SMS-based games should not discourage you, because – theoretically – there are ways to play any ordinary games using SMS. Why did I say “theoretically”? Read on for the explanation.
To use SMS as the control for your games, you could try AMS2HID which is mentioned in the previous part. This application will be the “converter” to translate the motion of your Macbook into a mouse or keyboard input.
Then you need games. One recommended game to be used with AMS2HID is Neverball – something like Monkeyball for the iPhone. But you can try other games with mouse-controlled (or keyboard-controlled) movements like or something like flight simulator.
- Open the game and then AMS2HID.
- From the “Select An Application” options, choose the game.
- From the “Select HID” options, choose either Mouse or Keyboard.
- I suggest you choose “Test Mode” instead of “Normal Mode”. This application is old and has not been updated for newer generations of Apple laptops, so there’s a possibility that your Mac will become unresponsive. In the test mode, the AMS2HID will be automatically restarted every 60 seconds. Should anything happen, you can just quit the app.
- There are also some adjustments to control the sensitivity of the SMS input. Read more about it on the developer’s site.
- If everything is set, run the game and feel amazed. (If the system does not halt, that is :)).
My experiment showed that AMS2HID worked fine with Neverball but not so fine with Pac the Man – worked for a while and then the system halted. I haven’t tried it with other games but theoretically it could work. It would also be very nice if the developer could update AMS2HID to give a boost to the now-stagnant SMS world.
I also tried to use Skip Checker – also mentioned in the previous part, with some modification to the scripts. Since I don’t have the capabilities of a “scripter”, I’ve searched the web for ready-made Apple Script to be modified. And with a little help from a keyboard layout editor application called Ukelele – deliberately misspelled for the sake of “artistic licence”, here are my results:
- After opening Skip Checker, put the Macbook in a steady and level surface like table or floor.
- Click “Recalibrate Motion Sensor”.
- A pop-up window with explanations will appear, click “Calibrate”.
- Go to the “Advanced” tab.
- Change these scripts:
- say “down” –> tell application “System Events” to key code 126
- say “up” –> tell application “System Events” to key code 125
- say “right” –> tell application “System Events” to key code 124
- say “left” –> tell application “System Events” to key code 123
- say “forth” –> tell application “System Events” to key code 126
- say “back” –> tell application “System Events” to key code 125
Then you can give check to “Active” and save the file (File –> Save or Command-S) so that the settings can be re-used easily in the future.
Basically, what you do here is transform the “down-up” and “forth-back” motion into a “down and up” keypress on the keyboard (keycode 126 and 125); and “right-left” motion into “right and left” keypress on the keyboard (keycode 124 and 123). Just be sure to adjust the sensitivity sliders to your preferences.
I haven’t been able to find scripts for mouse movements, so I can’t help you with the mouse-controlled games.
A little warning, though; compared with AMS2HID, Skip Checker is less buggy. But Skip Checker commands will influence EVERY open application. Be sure to close Skip Checker if you are using other apps.
So, there you have it. Not perfect, but better than nothing. If you’ve tried the methods, share your experiences using the comments below.