Mad Catz Gametrak Mod for Max/MSP

Posted by X37V on August 17, 2008

So it seems that the Gametrak controller that is designed for use with the PS2 doesn’t want to work with Max

A number of people have tried removing the board inside the unit, replacing it with a Bitwacker or Arduino, but after looking at the board in the Gametrak, I found that there is an interesting ‘feature’ built into the existing boards.

This easter egg is probably designed so that one unit can be manufactured to be used across a variety of hardware platforms, from PS2 to PC to Xbox.

Here’s what I did to get it working:

Open the case by removing the screws marked (I pierced the ‘feet’ with the screwdriver so that I didn’t have to re-stick them later).


Remove the board by unscrewing the screws marked.


Flip it over to reveal the underside.


Rotate the entire Gametrak, so that the board is oriented like this.


This is the cool bit.  Notice the PC label above?
(There’s also an Xbox label to the right).


I shorted this connection with a knife while it was plugged in to Max, and a burst of numbers came out of the ‘hi’ object.  To make this connection permanent*, I put a bit of solder to make a bridge between the two contact points, and now it outputs 12-bit integers on six discrete axes (left hand x, y & z; and right hand x, y, z).  The foot switch works too.

Simple Max 5 interface for the Gametrak (Download)

Note: the first gen Gametrak from In2Games doesn’t seem to have this ‘feature’.

* There’s a tiny layer of lacquer on these contact points that I scratched with a knife so the solder would take to the metal.

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15 Comments to Mad Catz Gametrak Mod for Max/MSP

  • Pedro says:

    This looks so awesome, I can’t wait to start creating things to control with my gametrak.

    Bue I can’t put it working with my windows =/ And the board of my Gametrak does not have those labels (PC, XBOX)… I don’t know how can I make it work =x

  • [...] collaborative arts project of the graduating students. Above one of the students working with the Gametrak controller, more on that in a later [...]

  • [...] number. The Rev 2 GameTraks can be easily modified to work with a PC with a little soldering, as described by MadCatz.Unfortunately, the older, rev 1 boards, as the one in the photos here do not work with the mod. The [...]

  • RoverKarlos says:

    Is this still the only process to output OSC data? has CNMAT worked this problem out through software MSP objects? dumb question?

  • X37V says:

    The thing is, that since the Gametrak is a HID-type object, you should be able to use the [hi] object in Max. I wasn’t able to get the data out of it (perhaps the PS2 setting outputs float data).

    I know that Adrian Freed replaced the internal board with a bitwacker, but (other than building a custom Max external) I don’t think you can get data out of the Xbox or PS2 versions of the Gametrak without some kind of modification.

    The mod is pretty easy, and it would be pretty easy to just make an OSC wrapper in Max.

  • Aaron says:

    Cheers for the mod! Does the mod allow it to work with a mac?

  • X37V says:

    Hi Aaron. Yes. I did all my testing on a Mac.

  • Aaron says:

    Thanks for the reply! Means I went wrong somewhere with the soldering. Time to do some backtracking!

  • peiman says:

    I’ve just got one of these but the box does not look the same as the one in the above pictures. So I’m not sure how to approach modifying it. Any suggestion would be much appreciated.


  • X37V says:

    Hi Peiman, does it look like this?

  • peiman says:

    Hi X37V,

    Thanks for the reply. Yes it looks exactly line that. I tried to open it up last night but didn’t manage!


  • X37V says:

    I have one of those models but had no luck with this mod, sorry to say. The first gen Gametrak from In2Games didn’t have the same board. I think your best bet with this model would be to replace the board with a microcontroller (as mentioned in section 4.9 of this paper).

    Jan did some extensive modding of his ‘rev 1′ GameTrak and notes that even the ‘rev 1‘ boards on the later model don’t have the PC/Xbox support.

  • Von says:

    Getting ready to buy one. How did you connect the ps2 version to the computer. Can you just use a ps2-ps3 adapter?

  • X37V says:

    The PS2 version is USB. No need for an adapter.

  • […] XinYan Zhang) is being used to control the camera angles and object rotation (based on a patch from, and a knock-off “Air-Flow” PS3 controller (bought for 2 pounds from a Car-Boot sale […]

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