Receipt racer wastes a lot of paper

[Joshua Nobel] and the team at undef came up with a receipt printer game for the OFFF 2011 festival in Barcelona.

The game is a small openFrameworks app that prints a maze on a thermal printer. A ‘car’ is guided through the maze with input taken from a DualShock 3 controller. The game is limited to a maximum distance of 50 meters, the length of the roll of paper. We wondered about the waste of paper this would be until undef pointed out, “ecologically it’s pretty much a disaster, just like any real car.”

The undef team tried to use the printer for the entire visual representation of the game but that didn’t quite work out until [Joshua Noble] came up with a ‘beamer’ to project the car and score onto the paper. We’re not quite sure what the ‘beamer’ is, but everything syncs up and the resulting game is quite nice.

The game itself reminds us of a certain flash game, but that can’t be where the original idea came from. Check out the Receipt Racer gameplay video after the break.

Comments

  1. Alex says:

    Haha wow, I love this.

  2. Rob says:

    its no more waste than receipt printers primary function at the checkout counter.

    in fact, this is “less” waste since it has actual entertainment value and I bet Josh and his team learned some new things in the process. how’s that for waste? other receipt printers can only hope to one day reach this level!

  3. ecchin says:

    Even mothernature MUST love this. Screw trees.

  4. kajer says:

    OMG i am doing this today!

    I have a PICO projector and a Epson TML-90…

    My receipt printer just spits out RSS feeds all day, now I can play games on it!? YES!!!

  5. underdoeg says:

    Yes you can! Get the code on our website. If it does actually work, send us your results :)

  6. Flame500 says:

    Anyone have any idea how the projection is implemented? It seems like a nice effect. Its only alluded to in the description as a “Light Beamer”…

  7. lilhasselhoffer says:

    Euro slang. A projector is the same as a beamer.

  8. Trek?

    Infocom?

  9. Love it!

  10. a.d says:

    Perhaps replace the projected car with a pen to draw your path – permanent record of the game.

    Looks insanely fun though.

  11. engunneer says:

    ‘beamer’ is just the british word for projector. Many of my Austrian colleagues say beamer because of who taught them english.

  12. dext3r says:

    what if you could make it like a whiteboard somehow….make it erasable between frames of animation…

    have some material that is electrostatically charged (via a laser printer type system?)…but dont bond the “toner” to the material permanently. have this setup in some kind of continuously running loop, with an eraser somewhere in the loop. and run this loop very fast to give illusion of animation.

    i’m just rambling but does anybody follow what im thinking about?

  13. Necromant says:

    Why waste thermal paper when it’s so good for press’n’peel!?

  14. The Cageybee says:

    @engunneer: What are you talking about? Beamer is not what English people call a projector, they call it a projector.

    I have never heard anyone in England refer to a projector as a beamer, or ever read it anywhere.

  15. nutwiss says:

    @Enguneer: from Wikipedia –

    Beamer – Video projector, a pseudo-anglicism in a number of languages including German, Dutch, and Latvian.

    Definitely not British, though – I’ve never heard this word in 36 years of being British.

    ps.. WANT…

  16. steaky says:

    @the cageybee

    +1

  17. emilio says:

    hah, fun!

    try it on a drum or other loop of glow material with a row of LEDs as the print head.

  18. BigD says:

    The finish line is pink or green.

  19. brainzilla says:

    WOW! Radical, yet wonderful!

    But maybe instead of just gray, make it print SAVE THE RAINFORREST! ;-)

  20. cdilla says:

    Lol. Love it.
    It reminds me of a “blind” pinball game I created for a teletype terminal connected to a PDP11. were flipper control, space the ball shooter, the bell provided auto feedback and P printed off the pinball arena – for those who needed it. All written in fortran. Such a lovely language.

  21. Hirudinea says:

    Totally uselessly cool, but they should replace the projector (or beamer!) with a small, mechanically controled car.

  22. oliverjenks says:

    I remember typing in a game in school. I think it was on C64 (possibly a ZX81). Looked almost identical, vertical scrolling was done by virtue of printing another line. Player looked like !!

    I seem to remember being very happy when I managed to add ‘levels’ in the form of making the track narrower!

  23. JamesG says:

    Great project. I totally disagree that it’s a waste of paper as you can print on the other side too :D

    Just doing my bit.

  24. Leonard says:

    Reminds me of Pitfall, the old dos game.

    http://www.dosgamesonline.com/index/game/565/Pitfall.html

  25. Qu3ry says:

    That site is hacked as hell. LulzSec holding all the high scores at INT_MAX … seems fishy.

  26. kak says:

    Its the Playstation TREE! :P

  27. Haku says:

    Carbon footprint be damned, that looks fun!

    This gives me an idea: If you covered a treadmill (or made a smaller one) with glow-in-the-dark paper/paint you could ‘print’ the track using a string of UV LEDs and a red laser could be the car, perhaps use one of those holographic bits on the end (I’ve got one with a bicycle).

    That would give you an unlimited ‘road’ to ‘drive’ on and you wouldn’t be wasting paper or ink.

  28. Chris says:

    I think the closest predecessor is SFcave for palmOS.

    http://www2.sunflat.net/en/index.html

  29. Mike says:

    Lol haven’t heard anyone say ‘beamer’ since my german cuz was over here a few months ago :p

  30. Happy Heyoka says:

    The scrolling technique is really ancient… I go back as far as TRS-80 model 1, Ohio Superboard etc (~1978), and it’s older than that.

    Scrolling games like this often came about because the terminal (eg: TTY) didn’t allow either memory access or absolute cursor positioning (character graphics).

    Often for boxes like the TRS-80, Basic just wasn’t fast enough to block move the characters to do 4-way scrolling.

    So, carriage return/linefeed scrolling was easy and fast enough to be fun.
    Skiing games, racing games etc. Dig up a “learn to program Basic” type book circa 1980 and you’re bound to find at least one.

  31. Dax says:

    Just print some rolls with randomly generated roads, tape them start to end on a bigger roll and use the same roll both ways around.

    When I was a kid, I had a game like that. It had a drum and a lightbulb that would throw shadows from the drum onto a frosted glass plate, and a wheel that would move the picture of the car left and right.

  32. Dax says:

    Come to think of it, it also had some sort of metal contacts on another drum that would stop it and sound a crash when you “hit” another car on the road, wait a second and then let it roll again.

    It was a completely mechanical version of this game. I never opened it, but that’s how I imagine it worked.

  33. @ kak: That’s a good one.

  34. anon says:

    Couldn’t you reduce the paper wastage by re-using the tracks?
    Then you would not need to keep using fresh paper

  35. Kiwisaft says:

    they could have used a second printer for the car (maybe)

  36. Mad Max says:

    …or you could just run MAME and your choice of old arcade scroller on the computer the “beamer” is connected to, and get rid of the whole printer thing (and instantly become 99% greener).

    …or you could “beam” the road and obstacles, and wiggle a toy car left and right on a printer head assembly – same result.

    Some projects just seem to be contrived for the sake of contrivedness. Wanna make a full mechanical scroller? Fine, but this ain’t that. Wanna play with augmented reality? Fine too, but this ain’t that either…

  37. Asdd` says:

    instead of paper, use iron filings and magnets to make the track! sick tho ah

  38. Hack Cell says:

    Good idea about the LEDs and glow paper emilio. Iron filings and magnets would be a stretch but I wouldn’t put it past some of these hackers.

  39. Paul Potter says:

    Awesome. I once adapted the Death Valley game from an Usborne book to print out on an 80 column dot matrix.

    I’m after a printer like that for Twitter feeds.

  40. rachel says:

    i want to buy a receipt printer, use it via my computer (its a mac) and print out patterns. i would also really like to get it to endlessly print out figures from the world population clock, is this at all possible?? its for an art project and i am way out of my depth, any help would be amazing!!!

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