Rudeism Explains How You Turn A Tractor Into A Controller For Farming Simulator 22

Rudeism Explains How You Turn A Tractor Into A Controller For Farming Simulator 22

Folks, he’s done it again. The absolute madman himself Rudeism has gone and done it again.

You may know Dylan “Rudeism” Beck from his past work in beating Dark Souls 3 with a single button or turning himself into a goose to play Untitled Goose Game. The New Zealand streamer has made a name for himself by turning non-controllers into controllers and using them to play games. It’s always fun to watch and we love him for it.

This time around, he’s teamed up with Giants Software to wire up a fully functioning Case IH Magnum 310 tractor, weighing close to ten tonnes, to use as a controller to play the new Farming Simulator 22.

Desperate for a little insight on how, why, what, and huh, I had a little chat with Rudeism to learn more.

So to put it politely,  you’ve kinda got the skills of an evil genius with the drive of a harmless crazy person. What made you want to start making controllers out of things that aren’t controllers?

Uh, attention and a need for external validation? That was it at first, but it kind of all started when I used to play Rocket League, trying to be an old pro back in the day. I wasn’t, but I was streaming to, you know, my best mate from high school and my mum, and my friend said, “Oh, you should try playing it with a Guitar Hero guitar for a laugh,” to which I was like, “That’s stupid. Why would anyone want to do that?”. So we tried it, and then it worked, and people seem to like it. 

So I was like, okay, I’ll do more of that stuff. And then that evolved into eventually building my own controllers, as I learned about learn about a wee tool called a MakeyMakey, which you can use to connect random stuff provided it’s electrically conductive. You can basically create circuits out of them and use them to do like really basic controls.

So I made a bunch of controllers using that for awhile, like bananas and, um… A lot of food type stuff for some reason. I think it’s because they do use bananas actually, I think that’s what they use in all their marketing. I played Winston in Overwatch using it because, you know, he’s a gorilla, and that then evolved into learning about a whole bunch of electrical engineering stuff. And now it is what it is now, which is giant tractors.

Of course, and your incredible one-button play through of Dark Souls 3 shone a light on accessibility in video games, so why is that such an important topic for you?

I’ll admit it’s not why I started doing this stuff, but it’s become an important thing for me. Over the years,  I’ve met a lot of people who need that stuff, who need good accessibility options in their games, and I think people tend to enjoy what I do because it’s the very opposite of that. It’s very not accessible, you know, and that’s how I enjoy it. With the more people I’ve met and work I’ve done with folks like AbleGamers who I’ve done some fundraising for, I really understood just how much of a need there is for that kind of thing and how far we have to go to really. We’ve made a lot, there’s been a lot of headway in the realm of accessibility for a long time, but there’s still a long way to go.

Honestly, the whole Dark Souls difficulty option thing hits such a nerve. I just kind of wanted to poke it a little bit because I believe that a game like Dark Souls could really benefit from those kinds of options. I know there’s a lot of arguments to that and I understand where they’re coming from, but at the end of the day, there are so many things that those kind of games can do that those kind of games don’t do to make games more accessible to people. I believe that giving people the option to play the game how they want is really important for that. I don’t think it necessarily gets in the way of people’s artistic vision or even people’s enjoyment of games playing them in the intended way. 

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And you’ve also found a myriad of interesting ways to play games wrong or absolutely right. You’ve got the Rocket League guitar controller, or turning yourself into a goose for Untitled Goose Game, but never something as huge as an actual tractor to play Farming Sim 22. Would you be able to go through the process of how you made it work?

Well, I’m still typically figuring out a few of the small details right now but the basic gist is… I mean, it’s a tractor, so tractors do two main things: they turn and they go forward. I guess they reverse too but yeah, so we start with that. And then I get the turning figured out and forward and backwards momentum figured out. It was kind of hard to know what to do without having my hands on it in the first place, so last week I actually got to go check it out for the first time. I figured I had some sort of ideas on how I would do these things, for example, sticking a motion sensor to the steering wheel so depending on how far I’m turning it will do the right amount.

It’s basically just emulating like a thumb stick on a controller, so the more I turn in a direction, the more the thumb stick moves more or less. That’s how I’ve coded it anyway. And then the throttle was kind of the same, it’s just for the triggers. I had to do a little bit of magic to put a reverse gear in there but that all works now. The thing that was hard was all the extra stuff, because there’s a lot to do in that game. You’ve got to get in and out of tractors and you’ve got to like attach stuff to the front and the back and you’ve got to unfold all those different attachments and lower them to the ground so that they’ll work when you drive over a field and all that kind of thing. There’s all sorts of buttons in an actual tractor to let you do that, but I kind of didn’t really want to crack it open and solder parts on something that’s worth about as much as a really nice Porsche, so I did take some liberties. 

I actually ended up 3D printing my own panel. I don’t know how I’m going to remember what all the buttons do because they’re all the same colour. I’ve got it written down in a notebook somewhere. I do all the other stuff that isn’t the driving in the steering wheel.

What were some of the barriers that you faced in working with a 10-tonne tractor to play a game that according to my research, if it’s in disc form, weighs about 16 grams?

Nice. The hardest thing was just getting the bloody thing in the first place. We tried a lot of different avenues to get our hands on a tractor, and at the end of the day, I didn’t expect it to be as massive of a tractor as it is. The particular model that we’ve got our hands on is one of the largest class of tractor that you can get in New Zealand at least. I don’t know if there’s stuff bigger there maybe, but man, it’s huge. We tried a lot of different avenues to source one and it got a bit tricky, but there’s a guy who lives out in Canterbury about a little under an hour from where I lived and we managed to get ahold of him and he’s gung ho about it.

So we drove out last week to go meet him and he was just like, “Here’s how it all works, here’s all the switches and what they all do. Do you want to have a drive around?” And I’m like, “Oh yeah, sure. Why not mess up a bloody tractor that I’ve had no experience driving?”. So I full had a bit of a go down the road and I was like, “Okay, I see how it all functions. That’s good.” He’s been really awesome to work with and super supportive of everything going on. He’s just like, “Rock up whenever you want to have a tinker and, you know, knock yourself out.” So it’s like sweet, good. You know, it’s a bit of a drive out, but not too bad really in the grand scheme of things.

So I’m pretty happy about it all up, but that was definitely the biggest issue we had in getting it all hooked up. Well, aside from that though, probably the trickiest thing is less so in the tractor itself and more so in how to condense a whole games worth of controls into basically two motion sensors and a handful of buttons? I mean, they mentioned to do it with a standard controller and it works pretty good. So it’s just a matter of adapting it all to this custom setup, which is more just kind of a matter of going through the list and figuring out what the controls are in what order are they most important, and if I absolutely have to, what can I jettison and not worry about? We’ve got this panel, which is 13 buttons, another four switches, and then the two motion sensors, which all in all comes out the same as a standard controller, which is kind of good. We’re still sort of figuring out the small details, but it’s all coming along pretty good. The test run we did went well so I’m pretty happy about that.

Well, you’ve worked with vehicles in the past. You know, you turned your old Honda into a controller to play a racing game. What would you say are the biggest differences between that and your tractor project?

I can’t put a tractor up on a jack so I can steer the steering wheel as much as I want to, you know, which is tricky. But I mean I don’t really need it. The tractor has power steering because you know, it’s a big, bloody fancy tractor. It’s got everything. The only way for the steering to work though is to turn the actual tractor on, so I don’t really want it to idle for six hours and probably burn a lot of petrol, but I don’t want the guy to have to refill it . It turns enough that I can make it work, so that’s okay. The main difference is just the thing’s bloody massive.

That’s not the only thing. When I turned my car into a controller, it was kind of convenient cause you know, it was right next to my house. It was basically in the driveway, so all the power cables and internet cables I needed could just run out from the house. I can run out power cables to the tractor, but it’s on the phone and Internet’s a bit, you know, I’m not getting the wired connection out that way. It’s good enough that I’ll be able to stream at a sort of basic level, which is fine but it was a bit tricky figuring out that whole setup, the mobile data and getting it all sort of reliable. I think it’s working out relatively well, might not be the highest quality stream ever because you know, you just got to deal with what you got to deal with, but I think it will be watchable.  It’s all the things surrounding the tractor that are tricky, which is kind of what I expected that to be the complete opposite, but I mean, that’s just how it goes. Sometimes you don’t even quite know what you’re dealing with until you deal with it.

You’ve obviously had to do testing prior to your stream this weekend, so I assume you’ve been playing Farming Simulator 22 quite a bit. What’s your experience with the game been like so far?

It’s fun and relaxing. It’s nice. I’ve been needing it, to be honest. I’ve had a very crazy few months, we’ve just moved house and all that kind of stuff, things have been very full on for the longest time so it’s been nice to actually sit down and be like, “Okay, for work, I’ve got to sit down and figure out how this game works. I’m just going to sit down and go up and down a field,” and it’s been very therapeutic. I’m from a farming area in New Zealand but I didn’t grow up much around farms myself, played around a bit, you know, when the time came up with relatives and stuff, but I always really enjoyed it whenever I was out there. It’s been very soothing to turn my brain off for awhile, well, as much as I’m able to when I’m still trying to figure out how the controller works. I don’t know what the word is, but it feels very easy to sort of just relax a bit and not do something crazy, like I’ve been playing a lot of racing games lately and those are fun, but they’re full-on and my brain’s always on all the time. It’s been good to just calm down for a bit, I think. Yeah, I’m enjoying it.

I mentioned the stream before, but would you be able to tell me a little bit about what your plan is for this weekend?

Yeah, so starting tomorrow at 1:00 PM New Zealand time. I’m going to go out to the farm probably earlier in the morning, and then we’ll set up and make sure everything’s working. I’m going to connect everything up, make sure it’s all functional, I’ve got my laptop that I can take out there, which is thankfully powerful enough to run the game and do all the streaming stuff as well, which is nice. Get all that hooked in, run power lines out to the tractor, get all that connected, make sure the cameras are all set up so you can see what’s going on inside and outside. Get all the actual streaming stuff set up to the bloody microphone and the game hooked up and everything. And then, yeah, it should be good to go. We’re just going to try and do some of the simple stuff to start off with, sowing some seeds and pulling some plants up and all that kind of thing. And then there’s a whole lot of other stuff I got to figure out too, like the part that doesn’t take place in a tractor, the running around and all that. I mean, we could probably do that with the tractor too. We’ll figure it out. 

Yeah I mean, are you going to do that in the tractor?

I think so. Because of the confines of the wiring and everything, I can’t really stray too far from the tractor. I do have plans to have like, a ‘person’ button in the tractor, so whenever I’m outside of the tractor, I can press this button and I can use the tractor to move myself around. The steering is like left to right on a thumb stick, right, but if you’re running around, like if you’re playing an FPS or something, that is to strife. So I’ve got to rig it up so that the steering then becomes looking around and then the throttle will become moving forward, and I guess anything else that a person needs to do when they’re walking around not attached to a giant piece of machinery. I’m slowly sort of starting to figure out that plan as we go. A lot of the designs for controllers tend to come as they go, as you start to play and figure out.

Luckily I’ll have all the code I need when I’m there too, so if I absolutely need to, I can reprogram a few things on the fly and hit restart, and then it should be all good. I’ve had to do that a few times in the past, you know, as long as you prepare for it, it’s not too stressful.

I guess it’s always a case of trial and error, right?

Yeah, it really is. I mean, I’ve been doing this for five years now. I think building controllers and things, I mean, you get better at not needing to do that kind of thing, but sometimes you just need to, and that’s all right. If it happens, then it’s no big deal. We’re pretty used to it by now.

Rudeism will be streaming from 1:00PM NZDT on Twitch. Farming Simulator 22 is out now.

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