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We all have a gaming system in our pocket or purse and some of us are probably reading on it right now. That pocket space is valuable so we have to budget what we keep in there and adding another gaming system is not in the cards, if it takes up too much space. [Kevin Bates] budgeted the smallest bit of pocket real estate for his full-size Arduboy clone, Arduflexboy. It is thin and conforms to his pocket because the custom PCB uses a flexible substrate and he has done away with the traditional tactile buttons.

Won’t a flexible system be hard to play? Yes. [Kevin] said it himself, and while we don’t disagree, a functional Arduboy on a flexible circuit makes up for practicality by being a neat manufacturing demonstration. This falls under the because-I-can category but the thought that went into it is also evident. All the components mount opposite the screen so it looks clean from the front and the components will not be subject to as much flexing and the inputs are in the same place as a traditional Arduboy.

cost = low, practicality = extremely low, customer service problems = high

     ~[Kevin Bates]

These flexible circuit boards use a polyimide substrate, the same stuff as Kapton tape, and ordering boards is getting cheaper so we can expect to see more of them popping up. Did we mention that we currently have a contest for flexible circuits? We have prizes that will make you sing, just for publishing your flex PCB concept.

[Thank you for the tip, c00p3r]

While you might see a CRT by the side of the street and think noting of it, Ryan Mason has come up with a novel use for five of them in a row called the Cathode MK1.  

This set uses the Unity game engine along with an Arduino board to spread games across five tube TVs arranged side-by-side. 

In order to keep project costs down, Mason’s gaming rig is restricted to displaying a game signal on one TV at a time. This makes gameplay even more interesting, especially considering that the way that each TV handles a loss of signal contributing to the experience. 

Several games are available for this unique system, including Long Pong AKA Pooooong, where a ball bounces from screen to screen as shown in the clip below.


Interactive video games take many forms, but for the most part, each player has a separate controller that manipulates an onscreen character, vehicle, or other singular element. What if, as in real life, multiple players have to work together with physical objects to control a sailing ship?

That’s the idea behind HOT SWAP: All Hands On Deck by Peter Gyory and Celment Zheng. In it, two players guide various parts of a ship using five different control elements. What makes this really interesting is that each player’s input device has room for two of these control elements, which must be swapped for actions such as steering and to load cannons. Input information is passed to the game via an Arduino Micro

It’s like if we took a regular game controller, popped off all of the inputs, and made it so you could only use a couple of them at a time. There are two controllers, with each consisting of two input slots. Each controller controls one side of the ship, port or starboard. There are five actions total in the game, each executed with a dedicated physical input: a crank to raise and lower the sails, a wheel for turning the rudder, a hatch for loading the cannons, a wick for firing the cannons, and a flame button for dousing the fire.

There is only one of each input, which makes them a shared resource that players must trade back and forth as they play. There is this old Milton Bradley kids board game from the ’90s called Perfection where players must fit shapes into holes before a timer is up and the board shakes to make everything pop out. HOT SWAP is like if Perfection had a screen attached and had a goal outside of putting shapes into slots.

All of the code is done with JavaScript and the library Three.js, which we bundle into a desktop application using Github’s Electron. The brain of the controller is an Arduino Micro, which mostly just passes data along.

The inputs are created with the Mechamagnets technique that Clement has been developing through his research; all 3D-printed in PLA with neodymium magnets embedded in them. The actual “hot swapping” is facilitated by pogo pins that line up with our custom PCBs for each input. Also, lots of chocolate croissants.

More details on the build are available via this interview as well as in the video below.

Hunt the Wumpus is a text-based survival/horror game developed in 1973. As such, it’s perhaps due for an update, and Benjamin C. Faure was able to do so using an Arduino Mega to run a graphical version on an 8×8 MAX7219 LED display.

The game consists of moving your character through the 64-LED randomly generated world, avoiding pits and bats, attempting to face the Wumpus to fire your one arrow. Navigation is aided by “wind” and “stench” lights, indicating either a pit or the foul Wumpus is nearby. The game is also enhanced with a few LED animations and a small piezo speaker. 

On startup, the game will generate an 8×8 map for the player that contains bats, pits, and a Wumpus. The player must pay attention to their senses to ensure they don’t fall into a pit or run into a Wumpus. Running into a bat might not be instant death, but they can carry you over a pit or even straight to the Wumpus.

If the player wishes to win, they must pinpoint the location of the Wumpus. Then, they must take one step towards the Wumpus (so that they are facing the proper direction) and fire their only arrow. If they hit the Wumpus, they win! If they miscalculated, however, they will meet a grisly fate.

A demo can be seen below, while code for the project is available on GitHub.

Stecchino demo by the creator

Self-described “Inventor Dad” [pepelepoisson]’s project is called Stecchino (English translation link here) and it’s an Arduino-based physical balancing game that aims to be intuitive to use and play for all ages. Using the Stecchino (‘toothpick’ in Italian) consists of balancing the device on your hand and trying to keep it upright for as long as possible. The LED strip fills up as time passes, and it keeps records of high scores. It was specifically designed to be instantly understood and simple to use by people of all ages, and we think it has succeeded in this brilliantly.

To sense orientation and movement, Stecchino uses an MPU-6050 gyro and accelerometer board. An RGB LED strip gives feedback, and it includes a small li-po cell and charger board for easy recharging via USB. The enclosure is made from a few layers of laser-cut and laser-engraved material that also holds the components in place. The WS2828B LED strip used is technically a 5 V unit, but [pepelepoisson] found that feeding them direct from the 3.7 V cell works just fine; it’s not until the cell drops to about three volts that things start to glitch out. All source code and design files are on GitHub.

Games are great, and the wonderful options available to people today allow for all kinds of interesting experimentation like a blind version of tag, or putting new twists on old classics like testing speed instead of strength.

While video games have grown more and more complex over the last few decades, TWANG takes things in the opposite direction as an Arduino Mega-based 1D dungeon crawler consisting of an RGB LED strip.

The player—a dot—is controlled via an accelerometer mounted to a door spring used as a joystick. With it, the player can move forwards, backwards, and attack by “twanging” the spring to make it vibrate. The LEDs display a wide array of colors, including representations of glowing lava, water, and player disintegration when a mistake is made.

TWANG is inspired by the Line Wobbler game from Robin Baumgarten, and beautifully implemented as shown in the video below by Barton Dring. Code for the build can be found here, and 3D print files for the housing/joystick are also available.

A delightful version of a clever one-dimensional game has been made by [Critters] which he calls TWANG! because the joystick is made from a spring doorstop with an accelerometer in the tip. The game itself is played out on an RGB LED strip. As a result, the game world, the player, goal, and enemies are all represented on a single line of LEDs.

How can a dungeon crawler game be represented in 1D, and how is this unusual game played? The goal is for the player (a green dot) to reach the goal (a blue dot) to advance to the next level. Making this more difficult are enemies (red dots) which move in different ways. The joystick is moved left or right to advance the player’s blue dot left or right, and the player can attack with a “twang” motion of the joystick, which eliminates nearby enemies. By playing with brightness and color, a surprising amount of gameplay can be jammed into a one-dimensional display!

Code for TWANG! is on github and models for 3D printing the physical pieces are on Thingiverse. The video (embedded below) focuses mainly on the development process, but does have the gameplay elements explained as well and demonstrates some slick animations and sharp feedback.

Using a spring doorstop as a controller is neat as heck as well as intuitive, but possibly not quite as intuitive as using an actual car as a video game controller.

After booting up his RetroPie system, [jfrmilner] had the distinct feeling that something was off. Realizing that the modern Xbox 360 controller didn’t fit right when reliving the games of his youth, he rounded up all his old controllers to make sure he always had the right gamepad for the game.

Wanting to keep the controllers unmodified — so they could still be used on the original systems — he had to do a bit of reverse-engineering and source some controller sockets before building his controller hub. Using shift-in registers, shift-out registers, and some multiplexers, he designed a large circuit selector — which acts as a shield for an Arduino Micro — so all the controllers remain connected. A potentiometer allows him to select the desired controller and a few arcade buttons which access RetroPie shortcuts really round out the hub. Check out the demo after the break!

[jfrmilner] kept the controllers relevant to the games he would be playing, but we hope there’s some room to include a controller in rug format in his build. Of course, there’s always the option of Jerry-rigging old systems to use your preferred retro gamepad.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Raspberry Pi

For those who love to hike, no excuse is needed to hit the woods. Other folks, though, need a little coaxing to get into the great outdoors, which is where geocaching comes in: hide something in the woods, post clues to its location online, and they will come. The puzzle is the attraction, and doubly so for this geocache with an Arduino-powered game of Hangman that needs to be solved before the cache is unlocked.

The actual contents of a geocache are rarely the point — after all, it’s the journey, not the destination. But [cliptwings]’ destination is likely to be a real crowd pleaser. Like many geocaches, this one is built into a waterproof plastic ammo can. Inside the can is another door that can only be unlocked by correctly solving a classic game of Hangman. The game itself may look familiar to long-time Hackaday readers, since we featured it back in 2009. Correctly solving the puzzle opens the inner chamber to reveal the geocaching goodness within.

Cleverly, [cliptwings] mounted the volt battery for the Arduino on top of the inner door so that cachers can replace a dead battery and play the game; strangely, the cache entry on Geocaching.com (registration required) does not instruct players to bring a battery along.

It looks like the cache has already been found and solved once since being placed a few days ago in a park north of Tucson, Arizona. Other gadget caches we’ve featured include GPS-enabled reverse caches, and a puzzle cache that requires IR-vision to unlock.

Thanks to [Dan Wagoner], who built the game upon which this is based, for the tip.

 


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, misc hacks

unlimitedhand

We are excited to announce that UnlimitedHand is now an officially licensed Arduino AtHeart product. Created by Japanese startup H2L, the wearable controller straps around your forearm like an Ace bandage and allows you to actually touch and feel things within the gaming world.

UnlimitedHand consists of a 3D motion sensor, an array of muscle sensors, a multi-channel electronic muscle stimulator, and a vibration motor, which together, enable you to interact with objects and characters in VR. It does this by syncing the movement of a user’s hand and fingers with its virtual counterpart, and contracting the muscles on the wearer’s forearm to simulate haptic feedback.

With UnlimitedHand, not only will you be able to experience the ricochet of a gunshot or pet animals, but also hack various customized gestures thanks to its full compatibility with the Arduino IDE.

According to H2L:

Arduino, with their commitment to open-source, has reached out with their technology to muster a great force of Makers and inventors. This omni-present community has no doubt supported us in many ways during the development of UnlimitedHand. By joining the program, we can now present our results back to the community.

UnlimitedHand–which surpassed its Kickstarter goal in less than a day–is now available for purchase on Amazon and its website, as well as in retail stores throughout Japan.



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