As a kid you may have played Operation, but certainly never anything like this nine-foot-tall version from SPOT Technology. This device is not only impressively large, but assists doctors in their surgical pursuits with a CNC gantry setup to pull out obstructions.
In the game, amateur surgeons control the system using a small arcade cabinet next to the patient (Sergio), moving a magnetic gripper with a joystick and buttons. A camera rides along and transmits images to the cabinet, hopefully leading to a clean extraction. If the gripper isn’t aligned correctly, a button on the plunger reports the doctors error, and Sergio’s nose lights up red to indicate a failed surgery. Two Arduino Megas are implemented, one on the CNC playfield itself, another in the cabinet.
The project will be on display at the Philadelphia Mini Maker Faire on October 6th if you’d like to see it in person.
Consider the game of chess. It’s a game that flexes one’s “mental muscles” rather than relying on brute strength, but if you don’t have the ability to actually move the pieces, things get a bit more challenging. If you’re playing against another human opponent, he or she could move for you based on what you say, but with this chess machine by ‘diyguypt,’ the board does the job for you!
The system uses an Android-based Arduino Voice Control app to take in commands, and passes this information along to the Arduino Mega concealed under the board via an HC-05 Bluetooth module. It then controls a pair of stepper motors to move an electromagnet into place, which pull the pieces across the grid as if by magic!
Cleverly, the scaled-down game table uses a household vacuum cleaner blower attachment to provide air pressure, sending little jets of air through a grid of laser-cut holes on the acrylic playing surface.
LED lights embedded in the sides add a bit more excitement to the build, and points are tallied with an Arduino Uno-based LCD score display. A pair of buttons are used to register a points for either player, hopefully eliminating arguments over who is ahead as the game progresses!
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.
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.
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.
The trend in video games is toward not being able to differentiate them from live-action theatrical releases, and games studios are getting hard to tell from movie studios. But quality graphics don’t always translate into quality gameplay, and a lot can be accomplished with minimalist graphics. Turn the clock back a few decades and think about the quarters sucked up by classics like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and even Pong if you have any doubts about that.
But even Pong had more than 64 pixels to work with, which is why this dungeon-crawler game on an 8×8 RGB matrix is so intriguing. You might think [Stolistic]’s game would be as simple as possible but think again. The video below shows it in action, and while new users will need a little help figuring out what the various colors mean, the game is remarkably engaging. The structure of the dungeon is random with multiple levels to unlock via the contents of power-up chests, and there are mobs to battle in a zoomed-in display. The game runs on an Arduino Uno and the matrix is driven by a bunch of 74HC595 shift registers.
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.
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.
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.