Juggling and (video) games?


Silly topic. I’m quite the avid “gamer” and have been trying to merge my main hobbies little by little over the years, it hasn’t been a very focused effort, or one with a clear goal or anything. It’s just something that I sometimes think about and end up doing one small thing (like getting a wireless controller to manipulate more freely while playing a game, for example).

What I’d liken to see is really just someone beating a video game while incorporating juggling into the execution of the game, preferably by manipulating the input devices (damn, someone has got to be doing some crazy stuff with Wii nunchuks somewhere.) It has a big chance of just turning into a weird combination trick, though. But maybe the two activities can somehow make sense together? Would be really cool if it was in a performance.

I’m guessing other people must have done a lot in this field, somewhere, but I haven’t seen much in the way of performing or such. Related stuff I do know about:

-Playing DDR (is played on arcade machine using feet) while juggling clubs. I think someone posted a video of Ben Thompson doing this. This is pretty much exactly what I mean, but it’s basically just a nonsense combination trick. You might as well be playing [any game] while riding a unicycle?

-Reactable. Manipulation of objects on an interactive interface to create music? Pretty damn close to a video game where you actually physically juggle/manipulate to achieve something, but then, it seems really closely related to playing an instrument too. This might arguably be exactly what I’m looking for, though!

-Juggling flying drones. Manipulating objects which are in turn controlled by a computer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2itwFJCgFQ This is super cool, but still distinctly different from what I’m looking for.

-I haven’t watched his stream, but I suspect that BoBBo is sometimes juggles in his LoL stream (or is he a DotA 2 player?) Streaming might be a really good medium for performing this kind of thing, in any case.

-Not really video games, but somewhat related is solving a Rubik’s cube while juggling, seen a few videos of this.

-People playing video games about juggling, there has been a few of these around. Also games not about juggling per se, but which incorporates some kind of juggling anyway, such as fighting games with air combos. Doing inputs isn’t juggling when you’re using normal input devices in normal ways, though, I guess?

-Finding ways to juggle in video games where it isn’t mean to be a feature. I think I saw Elias Hedlund doing some stuff with the gravity gun(?) in half-life(?) way back in the day. Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeWBPCFT-_U Again, about the normal input things. Maybe doing something like this while juggling the controller would make sense, though?

That’s about all I can think of right now. I didn’t take into account stuff where you don’t actively make inputs to influence the juggling in realtime. No siteswap simulators, NPC jugglers in the scenery, or virtual juggling machines in minecraft as I feel it’s pretty obvious that it would not be related to what I’m talking about, really. Although I can imagine that depending on how it was executed, things involving these can absolutely make sense in a performance of some kind.



I don’t feel that there is much to talk about but why not.

I think about the game : Rocket League, a fooball car game, where if you make the ball bounce three time on your car before scoring then you win a Trophy : “Juggler’s trick”.
I think it’s funny.


In Mortal Kombat (in which you already need a lot of skill/dexterity just to decently play the game) there are so called “air juggle”-combos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgTpyxAW19w


Speaking of drones, I’ve actually been experimenting and working on making tricks/sequences based around how they interact with different props since late 2013. At the moment I’m working on (amongst many other projects) a sequence that involves me focusing on manipulating a ball, a club and a ring around a quadcopter to ‘fuse’ both the direct juggling with the quadcopters manoeuvres (controlled by a more skilled pilot than myself). One of the main ideas behind this is that a quadcopter to juggling/object manipulation is very similar to a turntable to music, as I remember Cizrek pointing out on a Facebook post.


I guess these share some common ground with juggling. I like how you have to keep a certain pace or the combo won’t work, for example.


That is interesting. But it sounds a bit scary, the rotors can really hurt (depending on the size of drone, I guess). Well I’m definitely interested in seeing the results of your work, in any case.

I have a few of these mini drones which fit inside my hand, I played around with them a bit using the headbounce platform as a launch pad and trying to fly them around myself and land back on the balance, etc. Also tried learning to control 2 drones simultaneously using one controller per hand. Definitely fun stuff. I’m sorry if this is super boring entry-level stuff though, I haven’t seen much drone manipulation work other than the automatic stuff by that team who had an Ted Talk and everything. Drones are awesome though, I’m going to get a bigger drone sometime.

Maybe arranging a drone+juggling fusion jamming workshop someplace where we get together a bunch of different jugglers, pilots and drones to play around with could be neat!


not sure how much people know about fighting games, but I was a hardcore street fighter player before I discovered juggling and I see some similarities. In fighting games, there are some extremely difficult combos to execute because they involve something called “just frames” or “one frame links”. One frame links are when a combo can only be done, if the button is pressed up in 1/60 second time window, and this can only be done consistently through repeated practice.

There are also several techniques to make these one frame links easier, which involve many different ways to manipulating on how the video game read the inputs.

not sure if this is a stretch, but most games have something called Frame Data. The amount of frames each move is active for and to recover, so by reading the frame data you are able to see what combos are possible. So it is kind of like siteswaps (maybe?)


This guy has a solid 5 balls. I could imagine there’s more possibilities in garry’s mod.


I have only played fighters casually and during meetups/parties and stuff like that, I do find competitive gaming and creativity in video games rather fascinating, though. I have watched a few streams from big tournaments, mainly for starcraft, but also stunfest and others big events. I’m inclined believe that there’s a pretty significant carry over skill between being creative in finding new strategies in video games and developing new patterns and finding ways to make certain aspects of tricks more efficient in juggling (maybe this is some kind of general problem solving ability)and probably with other things, like maintaining focus, having good practice discipline and good timing etc. It’s pretty cool!

I guess a siteswap could be compared to something like a build order in an RTS as well, and that would be apt in the sense that both only in very vague and general, easy to understand, terms describe what is happening, but omit pretty much all the specific details of what the juggler/player does within the framework of the siteswap/build order.


Now that we are speaking of games in general:

The closest thing to feeling like I juggle 5 balls, is when I play the hardest level of Super Hexagon.
There is a similar kind of visual focus (seeing all without moving your eyes), the difficulty or the challenge hardly changes, yet a run of 1 minute is clearly harder than a run of 30 seconds, It puts me in the same mindset, and I find it interesting that I enjoy that mindset in an equal way! Oh and of course there is the “this is the last attempt”… “ok no, one more”

It takes a while to get to the skill level to experience this, but the process is fun and the learning curve is steep compared to 5b juggling :wink:


This is a very interesting topic as video games are taking off all over the world. Before the summer, I finished my bachelor degree in computer engineering, and as my final thesis, I wrote a software that would track hand movement and implement them into a virtual world. We were a team of 3, used 8 different cameras, 3 sensors on each arm (shoulder,elbow,palm) and the oculus rift dk2 virtual reality goggles.

The goal was to make movements of your arms in real life make the virtual arms throw the virtual balls. We used no gripping mechanic so you juggle with your hands open. We figured this was easier because it’s very unnatural to grip nothing and hard to know when to grip. When you juggle in real life, you grip automatically when the hand feels the prop touching the hand(or a tiny bit before).

So how does the program know when to throw? When the hand had a certain speed, and had been progressing upwards for a long enough time (a variable in config file). This made it possible to only throw upwards in the classical fashion. I managed to get 5 throws with this system, doesn’t sound too impressing, but it was a great achievement for us, going into a completely new developing tool in Unreal Engine. Also to get more throws, we could’ve cheated by tweaking gravity, making balls not being thrown in Y-direction (front and back relative to body) but we wanted it to be as close to reality as possible.

We had huge difficulties with the cameras not recognizing or swapping the markers which was our biggest setback. It limited the movement a lot, and when you moved your hand a bit too much it would glitch out. We only had about two months to work with these cameras, but with more time it would definitely be possible to make a “jugglable” simulator.

Here is a small video of me throwing a couple of throws. What you see on the screen is what I’m seeing in my goggles, hands were calibrated after height and were in the goggles where you would think your real hands were. Since a hand could not hold more than one ball at a time, you hear me counting to three so my colleague would know when to push the button which spawned a ball at a certain height above my right hand.


Wow, this is seriously awesome, great work, I hope you get the opportunity to work more on this at some point.

I imagine it will be really weird and difficult to juggle without tactile feedback. I’ve seen a lot of people fail trying to balance 2 clubs on 2 clubs (one held in each hand), while maintaining a dual balance directly in your hands is super easy.


Yep, I was mostly afraid of how a tiny bit of lag could ruin the whole sensation of it being your real arms, and obviously juggling with lag would be really hard. This was no problem whatsoever even though the 8 cameras sent images to the server pc which processes them to spit out coordinates of all the markers on a stream to the computer where we ran the software. Less than 25ms lag. Technology these days…


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FdTDkv9h7I looks similar to what you’re describing, Julian.


Ah, I just found where I had recently found this video: http://www.jugglingedge.com/smalltalk.php?ThreadID=668&SmallID=3864#Small3864


This thread is a bit old, so I hope no one minds me taking it down a notch in seriousness.

Here is two jugglers doing two different technic.

Here’s a more traditional juggling game for you all to try out.


Download clown juggle mania on your phone