MIDI Hero – Guitar Hero with a drum kit

Music Technology

This Guitar Hero mod posted by Youtube user Egyokeo blew my mind. A MIDI drum kit and some custom software on a PC send button-press input via the Xbox Input Machine (XIM) hardware to an Xbox running Guitar Hero.

Since I injured my middle left finger playing Guitar Hero 2 way too much when it came out, I’ve been dying to get back to playing it. But my finger hasn’t healed. I was holding the neck too tightly on the X-plorer guitar controller and it hurts to bend it anymore. I’ve never had an injury playing the drums, so I thought “wouldn’t it be great to be able to play Guitar Hero on the drums?” So I thought about how that might be accomplished… researched, implemented, borrowed, and here I outline the finished product.

Here’s the whole chain of what’s going on:

  1. Me banging on my drumKat MIDI drum pads
  2. drumKat MIDI Out to MIDI/USB adapter to PC
  3. PC running my own custom MIDI Hero software
  4. MIDI Hero calls into XIM which sends input to the Xbox 360 console

To make the songs playable with two-sticked drum input, some of the pads simulate multiple button presses for the 3 note chords and an input buffer on the PC automatically holds all notes until just before sending another hit event. You could tweak the setup to use a MIDI keyboard or even a MIDI guitar.

There are a lot more details on Egyokeo’s site as well as the blog maintained by XIM creator OBsIV. Unfortunately, there are no instructions for actually playing like this. I’m pretty sure it involves secret ninja stuff.

MIDI Hero: Play Rhythm Games using any MIDI Instrument
Building your own Xbox 360 Input Machine (XIM)

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