STEAM Carnival Hacker Preview Day

Carney For LifeLast week we wrote about the guys over at TwoBitCircus and their upcoming STEAM Carnival. This Thursday we managed to make it down to the Hacker Preview day where they showed us all the toys and games that will be exhibited over the weekend.

The preview day went pretty well until the evening, when unexpected power problems occurred and the site lost power for a little while. But this is why you have a preview day right? Organizer [Brent Bushnell] even commented that he should have put a BETA badge on the ticket. Thankfully the outage coincided with the food truck arriving so everyone stopped for a burger.

Sadly all the fire based pieces were not active on the preview day since they didn’t have the appropriate safety measures in place yet, but they did get to show us most of their games. My personal favorites were the Hobby Horse Racing, and the Laser Foosball.

Here’s a quick run down of some of the stand out pieces.

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TwoBitCircus: The Business of Building Interactive Entertainment

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The Hackaday 10th anniversary was an awful lot of fun, and part of what made it awesome was all the cool things that the community brought to the event. We hadn’t really had a chance to get down to meet the guys from TwoBitCircus before now but they were more than happy to bring along their excellent Hexacade machine. The 6-player custom built arcade game that was an absolute blast!

After the party TwoBitCircus’ fearless leaders [Brent Bushnell] and [Eric Gradman] invited us over to their space for a quick look at their workshop, and to give us a personal invite to the Hacker Preview day for their upcoming STEAM Carnival. No this isn’t Steam as in Steam-punk, but STEAM as in Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics.

TwoBitCircus Workshop

Their space is really quite amazing, part of The Brewery Art Colony near downton Los Angeles. The building is actually an old steam power plant with incredibly high ceilings. The TwoBitCircus crew is now about 30 people all building interactive games and art pieces for events. They call themselves a digital circus and a lot of their work harkens back to old carnival games of yore with a new digital twist.

[Eric] and [Brent] spared a few minutes to give us a quick run down of what sort of games to expect at the STEAM Carnival. There will be a wide array of entertainment: giant marble runs controlled by see-saws, whack-a-mole/twister mashups on huge glowing button walls, laser based foosball, and the more extreme immolation dunk tank! It will be a most entertaining and educational event. The main public days are on the weekend of 25th – 26th of October, but there is an invite only hacker preview for the local community on Thursday October 23rd which we will be attending. If you’d like to go to the main event, use the code HACKADAY for $5 off the ticket price of $25.

What was most interesting about TwoBitCircus for me as a maker of things was how these guys have turned their hobby into a thriving events business. Brent tells us that they’ve been at this for 8 years now and the company has been around for 3. They’re doing pretty well too, making incredible things for some of the biggest companies around. This really is the best possible job for any inventive hacker sort, building crazy stuff all day for people to play with! I left the place feeling incredibly envious.

Check out the photos below for some impression of the sort of craziness you might see at the carnival!

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The Inaugural Hackaday.io Meetup

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Last Monday we held our very first Hackaday Projects Meetup at the Congregation Ale House in Pasadena, CA. We knew there were a lot of Hackaday.io members in the area and figured a meetup is a great excuse for them to meet each other.

The turn out was surprisingly good, with a wide variety of makers and hackers. People I met included aerospace engineers, embedded device developers, 3d printer inventors, and web developers. About thirty Hackaday readers turned up along with some newbies and a merry few hours of drinking beer, exchanging tales, poking at blinky things and admiring 3d printers ensued.

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A closer look at New Matter’s MOD-t 3d printer

So last week the SupplyFrame office Prusa i3 finally gave up the ghost — the z-axis threaded rods unwound themselves from their couplers and the whole thing fell apart. So we needed to get some better couplers as our tubing wasn’t going to cut the mustard anymore. Thankfully Pasadena is full of 3d printer people! Within a few blocks of our office we have New Matter, DeezMaker, and a soon to be announced 3d printer from ToyBuilderLabs.

The one everyone is talking about right now is New Matter who recently announced an already successful fundraising campaign for the first run of their $250 3d printer, the MOD-t. This has been making the rounds recently due to its low price and stated aim of bringing 3d printing into the home of the masses (a tale as old as time, right?). It’s a lovely goal for sure, but they will definitely have their work cut out for them, but perhaps this is the team to make it happen? We decided to head over to their lab since it’s just around the corner from our office and see if we could get them to print some new couplers and maybe take a look at their printer while we were at it, videos and pictures after the break!

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Hackaday Space: The Winners!

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We promise this is the last post about the ARG we ran throughout April to promote The Hackaday Prize. But we’re excited to announce the winners and all the goodies they are going to get!

The Prizes!

Now that the scoreboards are finalized we can announce the overall winners of the Alternate Reality Game and the prizes they will receive!

crazyflie_pageFirst, we’re giving away a Crazyflie Nano quadcopter to each of the people who were the first to post all the details for the first three Transmissions on the Major Tom profile pages.

Transmission 1 Winner

[kline] wins Transmission 1 as he was the first to post all the details from the transmission and did some great work to convert the QR code into an image using Python.

Transmission 2 Winner

[Tyler Anderson] wins this round as he was the first to decode the status message from Major Tom.

Transmission 3 Winner

This was a tough one since we know some people got very close to the answer on IRC but were led down rabbit holes instead, however [Ted] wins as he was the first to finally locate the launch site longitude and latitude hidden in the audio files.

Final Transmission Winner

Printrbot Simple Maker KitNext up we have the winner of the Final Transmission. Someone suggested that when the pixel art contest was over we should 3d print all the entries, so this inspired us to give away a low cost 3d printer that the winner could use to do just that. Therefore we are presenting a Printrbot Simple Makers Kit.

This prize goes to the person at the top of the scoreboard and winner of the pixel art contest [XDjackieXD]. Congratulations and we expect to see your Portal Cube rendered in plastic sometime soon!

Best Overall Contributor

hexyFinally, since this ARG was a team effort and some people put in outrageous amounts of work we decided we should award a prize for Best Overall Contributor.

This was a hard decision as so many people contributed throughout the month. But we feel that the efforts of [Emerica] really stand out, not only was he responsible for figuring out the use of OpenPuff in Transmission 2, he also contributed massively to the Pixel Art Contest and even built a stunning rendition of the Space Needle over the location of Seattle. [Emerica] wins a Hexy the Hexapod robot kit for his contribution, we hope to see many creative uses for this little fellow in the coming months.

Mission Complete.

It may be all over, but we just want to say how much fun putting together this ARG has been and how much it has shown the creativity, ingenuity and pure genius that exists in this community.

It was wonderful to watch everyone come together to work things out and the life that has sprung up in the IRC channel is really great to see. We hope we can all continue to play and build together as we truly believe there is nothing this community cannot accomplish when we come out of our respective sheds and workshops and work together on something.

Thank you all for participating and good luck in with your entries in The Hackaday Prize!

Hackaday Space: Final Transmission Minecraft Puzzles Explained

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This is the last part in our round up of the ARG that we ran throughout April. Just in case you’ve had your head buried in a hole this last week, it was a month-long series of puzzles that lead up to the announcement of the frankly awesome Hackaday Prize. During the week we’ve covered Transmissions 1, 2 and 3 detailing how we put the puzzles together and the things that went wrong. For the final stage we wanted something a bit different. Throughout the ARG we had been inspired by the book Ready Player One, so in this stage we wanted a high score table that people could compete over.

Since we’d managed to get reasonably far ahead of ourselves during Transmission 3 we had just over a week to plan this round. We pitched some ideas around the office for video games we could make with high score tables. None of these really stuck and we soon realized we didn’t have the resources to get the graphic design work done for most games. Someone suggested that we try making a MUD themed around a space port with rescue for Major Tom being the last stage. This seemed like a great idea at first and I began work on it using the RanvierMUD framework. It soon became clear however that writing all the text for a full featured MUD is actually a massive endeavor and I frankly am not that great of a writer.

Learn the secrets and watch a video tour of the Minecraft world below.

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Hackaday Space: Pixel Art Contest

During the Final Transmission — which I’ll post about tomorrow — we decided to open up a creative area on the Minecraft server for people to build whatever they wanted as part of a Pixel Art contest. Today we announce the winners of that art challenge, and assign them their points so that we can draw the overall winner of the Final Transmission. Each winner gets additional points added to their score. These were judged by Hackaday alum [Caleb Kraft] since he hadn’t been involved in the shenanigans up to this point and was, considered unbiased, and has a well-developed set of art chops himself. So, here goes…

3rd place : Hack A Tardis

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The third place goes to the Dr Who Box by [Marcus1297], entitled ‘Hack a Tardis’. This is a great rendition of the tardis, while its only 2 dimensional it has fine detail, and the beacon beam coming out of the top is a nice finishing touch. Excellent work! [Marcus1297] gets an additional 2.5k points for his score.

2nd place : Nicola Tesla Memorial

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Second place goes to [st3al2012] for his stunning Tesla Coil which he dedicated to Nikola Tesla. This was picked because the “Art was exceptional”. There’s a lot of detail in there, not only did he build the main structure of the coil complete with the toroidal ring, but he also showed the core components. The spark gap generator, the capacitors and even the AC outlet. There’s a lot of detail and it looks stunning at night. Great job, [st3al2012] you get an extra 5k points for your scoreboard.

1st place : Portal Cube

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First place goes to [XDjackieXD] for his quite amazing Portal Cube. [Caleb] declared this the winner saying that the “Art and execution were exemplary”. We have to agree, the cube looks fantastic, but best of all he went to all of the trouble to create “Want you Gone” (the ending song from the game) using note blocks positioned inside the cube. Lovely work and he thoroughly deserves the 10k points he has received for this.

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to everyone that contributed. The Minecraft server is still up so if you want to take a look at all the art for yourself connect to it at ‘minecraft.hackaday.com’. We have put up the world and all the plugins used to build it here. I’ll be releasing the source for the MatrixMiner plugin that I developed for the teleporter display when I get a chance to finish it.

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