Or, everything you ever wanted to know about the Rez Trancevibrator, but were too busy jacking off to the pictures on GameGirlAdvance to actually do any research for yourself.

For every thread about the SeXBox around the internet, there's a reply of "GameGirlAdvance/Rez did it first!".

Yes, I realize this. I even pointed it out in the project article. They did it first. They did a great job on the presentation. They involved a GIRL. Even so, lots of people seem intent on making SURE everyone knows GGA did it first. I harbor no ill will toward GGA, hell, I love that site, and they provided me with a ton of hits through links. The other people, though....

I'm not one to ignore the will of the masses. So, I could get mad, I could rant, but instead, I'll just fill in all the blanks about the Rez Trancevibrator. Like the fact YOU CAN'T GET IT ANYMORE. At least, not yet. =D

So, here's the background on the toy that started a revolution.

What's Rez?

Rez is a video game. But I'm sure most of you already know that.

Rez is a rail-based shooter from United Game Artists. Like every other game in the rail based genre, you float down a line, you shoot at everything that moves, you score points. However, what makes Rez different is that the interaction with the environment helps to add to the music for the game. Every level has a different track composed by a very famous techno artist (if you did not recognize the artists that did the music for Rez, you are no longer allowed to call yourself cool). As you shoot at/kill enemies, the sounds created add to the background music to make for some pretty bitchin' choonz. So, you fly through a crazy glowy neonish world with techno playing in the background, shooting weird geometric shapes that hate you for some reason you can figure out. It's a lot like candyflipping at a rave with a laser gun, except cheaper and a slightly smaller chance of getting arrested.

It was originally released for the Dreamcast, but due to the fact that Sega had been fuckwits about their hardware long enough to drive it into the ground, it never saw the light of day in the US for DC. The game was rereleased for the PS2, and that's the verison we're interested in.

The game was created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, who also created the Space Channel 5 (ok, here's a real link) series. A game so good, Deee-lite sued!. Litigation is in the heaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaart! rimshot

Oh yeah, he also created Lumines, which is apparently like sex with a PSP.

What's the Trancevibrator?

Well, in Japan, all games have to come with some crazy add-on that half the nation will buy. Densha de go!, I'm looking your direction...

Why? Because, well, they're asian. It's what they do.

Rez was no exception. Since turning up your subwoofer in your 5 square foot apartment in the middle of Tokyo was likely to cause dishonor to your neighbors and shame to your family, they created a vibrator that hooked into the USB port of the Playstation 2. The game activates the vibrator while your playing it, and, when added to the vibration in the controller (at least, the vibration in the controller up until a few weeks ago), made the game more "interactive". It was shaped like a square to fit in a shirt pocket.

But it didn't stay in shirt pockets for long....

Time for teh s3x0rz!

In 2002, GameGirlAdvance posted the now famous article on using the TranceVibrator as a sex device. It's a great article, and set off a ton of discussion about sex and games. If you google Rez, this article is now the top result. The page for the game is somewhere around 4th or 5th. That should tell you about how popular this article got.

Now, a lot of people think this is where the story ends, but little did they know, an underground hacking community was growing...

How does it work?

The TranceVibrator is really, really simple. The game sends a single byte (8 bits) over the USB line to the controller. Since the value resolution is 1 byte, that means the value can be anywhere between 0 and 2^8-1, or 255. The controller translates the value of that byte into a PWM, or pulse width modulation, value. This value regulates how fast the vibration motor in the controller will run. Basically, pulses of power are sent to the motor in time slices. The higher the value, the longer the pulse is kept on for in each slice (or, the "width" of the pulse is longer, to make this description fit with the PWM term definition), and the faster the motor runs. It's basically the same way the rumble feature in controllers work, though that gets a little more complicated since there are 2 motors that have to blend to produce certain vibrations.

The Drivers... THE DRIVERS...

For every game controller, there is a driver that will make it work on your computer. From the old 8-bit NES all the way up the Steel Batallion Xbox Controller, someone, somewhere has spent their weekends making it so that you can play Half-Life 2 with any damn controller you like, even though mice and keyboards have suited most of us just fine for many, many years.

The Trancevibrator is no exception. There are drivers and programs for Windows that will control the TranceVibrator.

http://homepage1.nifty.com/mcn/lab/machines/trance_vibrator/ (archive.org link, original site now dead) has information on the USB Descriptors for the device. TrV.exe is the only link still live, and it's in Japanese.

Current Projects

Update 2013-05-25: libtrancevibe is your best bet for drivers these days.

So it looks like most of the japanese projects are dead, as this product is pretty old. However, I found a project that's still alive!

TranceSharp by Jibakushounen

This is a project that will allow usage of the TranceVibrator on a computer using Microsoft's .NET architecture. Currently it will regulate the PWM values, and that's about it, but the author has quite a lot planned for it.

So where can I get one?


It's not impossible to find a TranceVibrator these days (ebay is always a good source), but most retail outlets no longer sell them (Lik Sang has had them as "Temporarily Not Available" for a very, very long time).

However, why buy one when you can just make one! In an upcoming article here on slashdong, we'll be showing you how to make your own Rez TranceVibrator. Sure, it'll probably cost you more than just ordering one, but what fun is getting something preassembled?