Snake-the-Planet makes a game board out of your surroundings

It’s Friday night and these guys are driving around town looking for a good spot to play a head-to-head game of Snake. It’s not that they need somewhere to sit (they travel with a couch and floor lamp for that purpose) it’s that they’re using a projector and camera to make a game out of their surroundings.

A white Mystery-Machine-style van has room for everything they need to make the traveling arcade happen. A mobile power supply provides juice to the camera and projector. To get started, the system takes a high-contrast black and white photo of the surface in front of it. Everything that appears below the white threshold becomes a wall on the game board, everything else is a playable area. Obstacles are formed by windows, doorways, pipes, signs, pieces of foam board the guys hang on a wall, and even your body if you stand in the way during scanning. From there the guys each grab a joystick and play the hacker-favorite game of snake.

After the break you can watch a description of how the system works.


  1. t&p says:

    I’m not into hipster things, but I find this one cool. Mostly for the idea friends going out and making a very cool hang out site, anywhere.

  2. This is one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen in a while.

    1. Cool looking game.
    2. Scanning the terrain is sweet!
    3. Gotta polish the look of those controllers ;-)

  3. relet says:

    I’ve made something late that for minigolf some time ago – more of a proof of concept, actually.

  4. Galane says:

    Snake? Suddenly! It’s 1980.

    • oodain says:

      and boy what a party !

    • You should be so fortunate… the 80’s ruled ;-)

      Snake is a good choice because it’s boxy, works well around windows.. heh heh. Don’t forget, these guys are trying to bring this art out of the gallery and into the streets.

    • Galane says:

      I’m 40+ years old. I played snake games before these guys were born.

      Snake games were pretty low on the totem pole of games, simple to program and boring as can be.

      Amazing how people can gin up nostalgia for crap that they never experienced when it was new. ;) It’s all TRON’s fault, the original movie, not the 2010 one.

  5. waitwaittellme says:

    Snake the planet! Snake the planet! This is trash, man! Our play surface is trash. Trash!

    *gets led away in handcuffs

  6. Jasper says:

    Those guys are really bad at playing the game though. You only see them losing.

  7. fartface says:

    No schematics, not source code, no details.

    Why is this HAD worthy? Honestly without all the above it can be 100% faked in after effects.

    • t&p says:

      It’s a snake game on a projector with a couch and floor lamp from a thrift store… what more details could you want?

    • Whaaaa whaaa whaaaa… somebody call a freaking whambulance for fartface.

      If you really cared to look at their site which has three tabs total, you’d see the HOW tab says:

      All software is developed with C++ and Objective-C using OpenFrameworks and will be distributed as open source SOON.

      By using a camera feed with the OpenCV (computer vision) library we are able to quickly analyse surfaces to get the quad distortion of the projector and 2D interpretations of architectural elements within this quad, which we can then turn into our game levels.

      The system currently requires a laptop, camera and projector – all being driven from a battery and inverter housed entirely within THE NANABIN.

      And if you want more than that right now… feel free to contact them: snake [at] mpulabs [dot] com

  8. MarcoS says:

    Scorched earth port would be fun too

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