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Okay, there's some explaining to do for this one, I'm sure.
First of all, I'm a Dance Dance Revolution fanatic. I have purchased a total of six dance mats so far; the soft mats wear through pretty quickly, especially if you play the really agressive difficulties.
There exists a different rhythm-game
called ParaPara Paradise, in which you wave your hands over infrared sensors positioned around your body to trigger the buttons. These hand sensors (I imagine) have a much longer life than the dance pads, since no physical contact with the controller is required to play the game. The controllers for the home-version of this game are not that expensive; about $50 on eBay.
Why not, then, have a dance pad, shaped like a 1m x 1m hollow square (you stand on the floor inside of it), that lays on the floor, with horizontal infrared sensors about an inch from the ground? By determining which x- and y-axis sensors your feet break, it would know the position of your feet.
Besides solving the problem of wear & tear, it could easily be adjusted to play other dancing games (where the buttons aren't in the same place as DDR), like Pump It Up (the Korean DDR knock-off) and Pop'n Music.
Dance Dance Revolution
For anyone who's still not familiar with my favorite game. [jivetalkinrobot, Oct 04 2004]
made with good ol' MS Paint [jivetalkinrobot, Oct 04 2004]
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||Stomping is definitely the wrong way to play; it will drain your stamina way to quickly to play at higher difficulties, as well as destroy the pad you're playing on much more quickly.
||I play *a lot* though. It's not really the pad's fault, a devoted player stepping on just about any material (esp. on high difficulties, where the steps are so quick you have to pull some Flashdance moves) will wear it down within a few months. I wonder if, with this, I'd start noticing a 1-meter square wearing away on my floor...
||You might be interested in http://www.digitaltorque.com/mydancepad/
It's a design for a pad much like the arcade pad, and will last MUCH longer than those soft pads. It also feels and works very much like the actual arcade pad.
||Isn't there anything you can put over the regular DDR pad that will make it last longer? (e.g. a metal plate)