How Does HD Rumble Work?

J

Jpop

Unconfirmed Member
Title is pretty self explanatory.

How does it work?

I've read the impressions and they seem awesome, but I don't understand how rumble can create those tactile feedbacks. Unless it was incredibly advanced tech that has tactile feedback that can be adjusted on multiple points.
 
Jul 28, 2014
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I've read the impressions and they seem awesome, but I don't understand how rumble can create those tactile feedbacks. Unless it was incredibly advanced tech that has tactile feedback that can be adjusted on multiple points.
I'd imagine several motors (not one) that can be programmed to make varying amounts of tactile feedback in order to replicate force or movement. Imagine it like those sort of surround sound experiments where you can hear the distance and direction a sound is at (such as going from left to right or speaking from behind you.)
 
Sep 1, 2016
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I'm guessing that, instead of 1 larger motor, or 2( or 4 maybe?) slightly smaller ones like in the Xbone controller, the Joycons have 8 or more very small motors that can all be programmed independently. Each one is relatively low power but combined produce a lot of force. They are probably arranged in a 3d prism-esque shape hroughout the Joycon as well. I'd imagine there is some abstraction layer for the Nintendo programmers that allow them a lot of finesse in how many, when , and for how long each rumbles at a time. Don't take my word on it though I don't really know much about these things.
 

Shaanyboi

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I mean... Rumble in a current controller is just a fucking rotor that spins, isn't it? It's got to atleast be more advanced than that.
 

Pancakes R Us

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I'm interested in learning about this too.

At the very least, I hope you can actually feel it, unlike the crap excuse of rumble in the Wii U pro controller. What a joke that was.
 

GamerMax73

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Several motors (not one) that can be programmed to make varying amounts of tactile feedback in order to replicate force or movement. Imagine it like those sort of surround sound experiments where you can hear the distance and direction a sound is at (such as going from left to right or speaking from behind you.)
Yeah, I'd have guessed at this. 3 or 4 small motors in each Joy-con. Each motor is interdependently programmable. The combined effect of each motor running at it's own variable frequency, or not at all, gives the feel effect the programmer is looking for.
 

Cartho

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Well normal rumble is just a motor which spins, creating a vibration. Basically.

HD rumble uses linear actuators, similar to apple's "Taptic engine" which is what they use for the Force Touch stuff in the new iPhones and Apple Watch. I BELIEVE that these are different in that they are more like weighted electro magnets, rather than a simple spinning motor. This means you can create a much, much more subtle variety of sensations compared to a rumble motor which is pretty much just a spinning motor - all they can really do is produce differing speeds of vibration.

I'm not an expert myself but I'm sure others on here can give you more of a technical explanation of how the actuators actually work.
 
J

Jpop

Unconfirmed Member
I'm guessing that, instead of 1 larger motor, or 2( or 4 maybe?) slightly smaller ones like in the Xbone controller, the Joycons have 8 or more very small motors that can all be programmed independently. Each one is relatively low power but combined produce a lot of force. They are probably arranged in a 3d prism-esque shape hroughout the Joycon as well. I'd imagine there is some abstraction layer for the Nintendo programmers that allow them a lot of finesse in how many, when , and for how long each rumbles at a time. Don't take my word on it though I don't really know much about these things.
I understand the rumble motors ECT... I just don't see how that translates to the feedback we are getting about HD Rumble.

How do the motors translate into feeling like you are walking up stairs, the feeling of a slime when you battle it ECT...

Well normal rumble is just a motor which spins, creating a vibration. Basically.

HD rumble uses linear actuators, similar to apple's "Taptic engine" which is what they use for the Force Touch stuff in the new iPhones and Apple Watch. I BELIEVE that these are different in that they are more like weighted electro magnets, rather than a simple spinning motor. This means you can create a much, much more subtle variety of sensations compared to a rumble motor which is pretty much just a spinning motor - all they can really do is produce differing speeds of vibration.

I'm not an expert myself but I'm sure others on here can give you more of a technical explanation of how the actuators actually work.
I was thinking that it might be some tactile tech that has X amount of points of contact each of which could be adjusted to obtain a certain sensation.

I may be pulling stuff out my ass though.
 
Sep 1, 2016
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I understand the rumble motors ECT... I just don't see how that translates to the feedback we are getting about HD Rumble.

How do the motors translate into feeling like you are walking up stairs, the feeling of a slime when you battle it ECT...
Well, that is what I was saying. It is all dependent on the direction, timing, and relative force given in each segment at any given time. I'm sure there are more variables and it is probably more complex than that but it seems that the Arms or 12 switch teams for example have a pretty good grasp already on how to use it ingeniously.
 
Sep 1, 2016
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Thanks for this. Having 8 or 16 actuators isn't cheap and neither is paying for the patent or licensing the tech from this company...that is why the Joycons are so much money. I'm surprised people are up in arms over them. They are expensive, yeah, but I feel like they are so much more technologically advanced than people expected. It makes Apple's haptic feedback look a little aged even and that just came out.
 

ggx2ac

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That's interesting, I've given my speculation that it could be Alps Electric that made the HD Rumble hardware based on their Haptic Reactor but it's pretty annoying we still haven't heard any company announce that they were involved with the hardware for the HD Rumble.

We have to wait for a teardown.

If you're interested in reading my speculation OP:

http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1334244

There's articles included in the link of a Japanese reporter using the Haptic Reactor which had demos very similar to what has appeared on 1,2 Switch.

It also has an explanation on the how Haptic Reactor works although it might not be what is in the Switch, but it sounds very similar to what HD Rumble can do.
 

Speely

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I wonder what the troubleshooting process is like for effective haptic feedback/hd rumble development. Like do they start with a generic vibration and then adjust parameters and iterate on and on until it feels right?

This is for the early stages, mind you. I am sure that once they figured it out they started compiling libraries and such to help facilitate easier hd rumble functions it became easier.. And still is becoming easier, no doubt.

But at the beginning, I can't help but wonder what the process was. This is a pretty specific and unique intersection of engineering and programming, and I find it fascinating as a layman.
 

DMONKUMA

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Jul 10, 2016
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More importantly.. does it work at all times or only with the joycons separated?
All the time if the games allow it,Which should be all if not the majority of them since it's just an advanced rumble feature with sensitivity. Also Pro controllers have this feature too.

The real cool thing about this is when/if you try split joycons setup with one in each hand. You get HD rumble and the gyro feature which in combination is pretty nuts. Imagine playing Splatoon 2, another shooting game, or any type of action game with it.
 

japtor

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I wonder what the troubleshooting process is like for effective haptic feedback/hd rumble development. Like do they start with a generic vibration and then adjust parameters and iterate on and on until it feels right?

This is for the early stages, mind you. I am sure that once they figured it out they started compiling libraries and such to help facilitate easier hd rumble functions it became easier.. And still is becoming easier, no doubt.

But at the beginning, I can't help but wonder what the process was. This is a pretty specific and unique intersection of engineering and programming, and I find it fascinating as a layman.
Someone's posted elsewhere that Immersion already has APIs for this stuff, so if a dev is trying to accomplish whatever effect/feel...hopefully Immersion already had it figured out. (Or whatever Nintendo might be using if not that)

If not then I'm guessing things could get tricky, or you combine effects and keep testing and iterate from there. There's been research into haptic feedback for years now (like touchscreens simulating textures was a pretty common demo) so it's not out of nowhere, there should be a decent amount of knowledge around to help figure stuff out rather than necessarily going from scratch.
 

Keyser Soze

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I expect it to work in a similar way to how the home button (not actually a button) works on the iPhone 7. Taptic feedback it called on there.

It's probably different technology, but that is the idea I got in my head when it started to be referenced.
 

Nerazar

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Nov 23, 2012
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I hope you can regulate the intensity of the HD rumble. I wouldn't mind losing some battery hours to that immersion. The possibilities are endless!

I especially like the usage in ARMS: it makes you feel as if your arms extended if you punch your enemy. That must be a weird feeling.
 

watershed

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Mar 12, 2011
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If the tech is as good as it sounds, hd rumble could make for some VERY satisfying actions like swords clashing, moving heavy objects, jumping off walls, etc. Even the stupid blind pingpong game in 1,2 Switch could feel really satisfying if it can mimic the POP! of a pingpong ball being hit.
 

Speely

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Ok holy shit. I NEED a game based around archery utilizing this kind of tech like now.

Someone's posted elsewhere that Immersion already has APIs for this stuff, so if a dev is trying to accomplish whatever effect/feel...hopefully Immersion already had it figured out. (Or whatever Nintendo might be using if not that)

If not then I'm guessing things could get tricky, or you combine effects and keep testing and iterate from there. There's been research into haptic feedback for years now (like touchscreens simulating textures was a pretty common demo) so it's not out of nowhere, there should be a decent amount of knowledge around to help figure stuff out rather than necessarily going from scratch.
Interesting. Thanks for the reply. It's good to know that some of the heavy lifting might be already covered by APIs. I thought that might be the case, but aside from Valve's efforts with the Steam Controller (which I love, btw,) I don't really have much frame of reference, and this seems like a step beyond that.
 
J

Jpop

Unconfirmed Member
I hope you can regulate the intensity of the HD rumble. I wouldn't mind losing some battery hours to that immersion. The possibilities are endless!

I especially like the usage in ARMS: it makes you feel as if your arms extended if you punch your enemy. That must be a weird feeling.
I don't think it'd be an issue with console life as the Joycons have their own battery.'
 

DavidDesu

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I really hope this tech makes it into the next gen console controllers and of course this would be ideal for VR controllers. I'm looking forward to experiencing it on the Switch and I hope all developers really make the most of it. Could be amazing in racing games (not that we're getting any sims and the digital triggers make that impossible as well :( ).
 

Cerium

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I can't wait (Activision looking at you) for the first FPS to take advantage of this technology. The possibilities really are mind blowing. Every gun feeling distinct, feeling the cartridge or magazine fall and the new one being inserted. Yep I'm so ready for this damn console.
Splatoon will probably make use of it.

Splurt splurt splurt.
 

Cartho

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Man imagine Pokemon - they could simulate a Pokemon thrashing about inside the poke ball when you're trying to catch it - would be cool to feel like there's something bashing around, trying to escape.
 

marc^o^

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Imagine playing Wave Race, constantly feeling waves in your hands...
 

Terrell

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I really hope this tech makes it into the next gen console controllers and of course this would be ideal for VR controllers. I'm looking forward to experiencing it on the Switch and I hope all developers really make the most of it. Could be amazing in racing games (not that we're getting any sims and the digital triggers make that impossible as well :( ).
But I thought the consensus was that HD Rumble was a waste of time that only served to unnecessarily over-inflate the cost of the controllers and the console.

I'm being facetious. It sounds great.
 

Cartho

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But I thought the consensus was that HD Rumble was a waste of time that only served to unnecessarily over-inflate the cost of the controllers and the console.
Only when it's in a Nintendo system. When Sony does it for PS5 it will be seen as "legit" and "a proper, next gen feature".