The Art of Making Dumb Tools

This short post mentions the word dumb exactly 22 times.

For those who know me, already know that I love to experiment with things no matter how dumb they are (see Well of Ideas post).

Dumb tools may be useful or not, but one thing they are to me is fun as nothing else in the world, whether you are using or creating them.

How does a dumb tool get created?

  • Short answer? By thinking that a dumb thought can be turned into reality.
  • Long answer? Let me tell you how I made one of my dumb tools.

The Controller Slide Presenter (version a bit dumb)

Some time ago, while I was searching for references for my Homebrew Development talk, I stumbled across this presentation: Wii Homebrew: Running and writing software for the Wii, at first when I saw the guy making the presentation I thought he was passing his PowerPoint slides using a Wiimote, just to later see that in fact his slides where running on the Wii!

Just read my Well of Ideas and saw that this isn’t my first dumb idea with the Wii 😅

This made me think about making a small program to use your Switch Joy-Con or Wiimote to pass the slides, and long story short, a couple of days later I had this working:

So yeah, a Switch Slide Presenter, finally a dumb but useful way to present my slides without having to go from side to side of the stage (and without spending money buying a real slide presenter), but my dumb goal wasn’t accomplished yet, I needed the Wiimote to work, and sure, fast forward a couple of days and here it was:

This dumb tool is now available in my GitHub: (only Windows and Linux support at the moment)

But while holding the Wiimote testing the app, I thought “Umm, I have a tool to emulate a slide presenter, but slide presenters have lasers to point, why don’t I try making a Wii pointer for PC?”, my real dumb tool idea finally came into existence.

The Controller Slide Presenter (version a lot dumber)

Let’s fast forward a couple days until the last Barcelona Game Creators (a great event where you should go btw). So well, after getting bored of working on boring things, I remembered that dumb idea and created a new Godot project to try making this a reality.

I decided to only support Joy-Cons for this project as they where easier to hook, had a better gyro than the Wiimote and they where dumb enough, and after a couple of hours trying to comprehend how the hell Quaternions work, I ended up with a Wii pointer moving across my laptop screen.

This is also available in my GitHub: (only Windows support at the moment)

I personally love these kind of things, in this case I talked about tools, the “useful” side of this dumb creativity, but some other sides of the dumbness are alternative control games (one dumb thing that I have yet to experiment with) or the Ig Nobel Prize, as for sure there are many more.

So yeah, dumb tools, a dumb power that comes with dumb responsibilities.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.