Bless Nintendo for making the Wii controller: inexpensive, lots of internal sensor data (motion sensing, tilt sensing, buttons), elegant design, and standard Bluetooth support allowing it to be used with Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Now there’s free and open source software for making the most of your Wiimote as a musical instrument. First up: Wiinstrument, a multi-purpose percussion instrument, now available for all three operating systems (a Windows version was recently added).
- Plays percussion / drums with gestures
- Use an (in-development) internal sampler with WAV files, or trigger other software via MIDI
- Use tilt for control changes
- Supports tilt, velocity (how much force you use when you move your Wiimote), with acceleration from both the Wiimote and nunchuk
- It works with Mac, Windows, and Linux, via a standard OpenGL-based interface, thanks to the awesome 2D OpenGL library Gosu. (Programmers, take note.)
Of course, drums are just the beginning — you could use this to trigger clips, grooves, visualist videos and animations, whatever. And it comes with demos, tutorials, source code, the lot.
Wiinstrument Release Information
GarageBand tutorial (relevant to other apps, too)
Support information for Windows, Mac OS X Leopard, Linux
Via thread with the creator on our forums
Here is in action.
But, you say, that’s all well and good, but it’s not … air guitar. Today is your lucky day:
Wii Guitar, Drum Kit
Evan told us earlier about his Wii Drum Kit. To that nicely-crafted (Windows-only) software, he’s added a Wii Guitar. Evan’s drum kit isn’t quite as sophisticated as the Wiinstrument, though it could still be useful as a simple solution. But the Wii Guitar does something the Wiinstrument doesn’t:
It is a basic wiimote guitar that can be played similar to the way you strum a real guitar. Hold a direction on the d-pad to select a chord, and swing your wiimote up and down to strum.
What? You think you might look a little … silly … doing this? Heck, yeah! We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Groovy. And if you’re a Windows-based .NET programmer, you may find his site a good starting place for your own Wii-based projects. (Cross-platform developers will want to stick to the Wiinstrument for wiinspiration.)
Wiimote Guitar v0.1
Wiimote Drum Kit
Wii Controller as Complete Audiovisual Musical Instrument, and How Less is More