Gif: Allen Pan (YouTube)

Playing Death Stranding really made me want to go hiking for real. Instead, I continued to play Death Stranding. If I only had this treadmill PS4 controller, I could have gotten the best of both worlds.

YouTuber Allen Pan is an electrical engineer known for wacky science experiments and strange gadget hacks, and his latest creation is an ingenious new way to play Death Stranding. The contraption, which Pan calls “the lowest budget VR rig ever,” is a standard treadmill with a few modifications that connect it to a Dualshock 4 to translate walking into forward movement in the game.

Pan uses the rotor encoder from the treadmill (the mechanism responsible for counting rotations) combined with an Arduino chip to calculate his movement speed. He then uses a digital potentiometer with two relays to act as the threshold. When the treadmill speed gets up to a certain point, it’ll tell Sam Porter Bridges to start walking. When the treadmill gets up to an even faster speed, it’ll eventually tell Bridges to start running.

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Based on the video, it looks like quite the workout. Since the motor for the treadmill Pan experimented on is busted, he has to rely completely on his own strength to get it to rotate around. That additional resistance is actually appropriate, since Bridges isn’t running on a flat pavement in the game but is instead traversing uneven and marshy terrain.

Of course, one of the things that sets walking in Death Stranding apart from other big open world games is that moving too quickly or changing direction haphazardly will send Bridges tumbling into the dirt and risk destroying the precious cargo he’s trying to deliver. Finding the right middle ground can be hard enough just on the controller.

On Pan’s treadmill, it looks difficult and exhausting. Mission accomplished. 

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com

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