Classic game of Snake on an ARM controller

Every now and again we take a break from looking at all of your awesome projects and get to work on our own. I thought I’d take a minute to show off my game of Snake. It’s a classic that I remember playing on a graphing calculator (TI-83) back in high school. I had never written my own version and decided it would be a good reason to spend some more time on the ARM platform.

The dev board I’m using is the STM32 F0 Discovery board. Once I had a usable template for compiling the code on a Linux box everything else just started to fall into place. The screen is from a Nokia 3595. Several years back I cut off the keypad and made a breakout board for it. It’s pretty dim but it’s small and uses SPI so it tends to be my go-to display for prototyping. But I did get my hands on an SSD1289 TFT screen (after writing about this project) for about $16 and I’ve had some success with that. It uses a parallel interface so it’s not as easy to hook up and I’ve had some crosstalk issues when running at 24 MHz.

But I digress. Check out the demo video of my simple game after the break. There are more details about my programming choices at post link above. You will see this hardware again soon. I’m working on an On Chip Debugging primer and these ARM dev boards are perfect for it!

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Adding a sound synthesizer to a ‘don’t-touch-the-sides’ maze game

Part of the fun of the classic game of Operation is the jump you get from the loud buzzer which sounds if you touch the sides. This exhibit piece uses the same principle of lining the edges of a track with metal, but instead of an annoying buzz, each touch will issue a bit of music. That’s because the maze has been paired with a synthesizer. Instead of one sound wherever the stylus touches the sides, different parts of the maze act as one of 94 keys for the synthesizer.

There’s a lot more built into the base of the device than just a maze game. The knobs are used to alter the audio effects and the buttons work in conjunction with they stylus to sequence audio samples. There’s even a graphic LCD screen which shows the currently playing wave form. You can get a better look at the project in the video after the break.

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Light trikes allow you to pedal for your life

Unfortunately, none of our writers are located in California this year. This means that we weren’t able to go to the Bay Area MakerFaire and see the cool stuff for ourselves. We have been following along on the web though and a few projects have caught our eye. The rig you see above is a physical controller for a game that was inspired by the classic Tron light cycle. The gameplay is pretty obvious, you pedal the trike to go and turn the handlebars to turn your light tricycle. The hardware seems fairly simple, they’re using an arduino to collect information from the bike, then sending that through NetLab hub, a cross platform toolkit for taking data from a micro controller and feeding it to flash.  We think they did a fantastic job on the presentation, this actually looks like fun to play.

For some reason though, we want them to build a level that looks like the Stanley Hotel.

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Tank Wars: a video game controlling a physical bot

[Joe] sent us an email to show off his latest build. Tank Wars is the beginning of a video game/robot hybrid. You control the tank via an iPad, telling it where to go and how to fire. You have real life targets, in this case another robot. When you hit your target, the interface is updated with game stats.  Currently, this is only a step past being a wifi controlled robot. [Joe] is working on making the game part of it a little more interactive.

The tank and the target are both run by Arduinos with RN-XV WiFly modules.  The tank has obstacle avoidance both forward and backward, which, from the video,  seems like it might make navigating a bit challenging at times. The iPad interface is just a web page, so it could really be used on any device. This is pretty cool, we can’t wait to see how he proceeds from here.

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Office game show buzzer keeps things fair and square

office-game-show-buzzer

The sales team in [Chuck’s] office is a pretty competitive bunch as you might expect, and they decided that they wanted a system which would allow them to challenge one another during their weekly meetings. The competition involves answering questions posed by their manager, but hand raising only works for so long – they needed a definitive way to tell who “buzzed in” to answer a question first.

Since [Chuck] only had a short bit of time and a tiny budget to work on, he opted to find the easiest solution to the problem, which was an Arduino-based game show buzzer system. The game display is built from an Arduino, some LEDs and an Altoids tin, while the buzzer pushbuttons were salvaged from an old radio broadcast console.

Now, when a question is posed, the salesman can buzz in to answer, knowing that only the quickest person’s button click will be registered. When it’s time for another question, the host simply clicks his buzzer to reset the console.

While it’s not quite as fancy as this game buzzer system we featured a while back, [Chuck] says it does the job perfectly and was cheap to boot.

Continue reading to see a short video of the office game buzzer system in action.

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Nokia N900 control pad is perfect for gaming on the go

nokia-n900-gamepad

[Andrzej] loves his Nokia N900, noting that it makes a great portable gaming device. Since it supports a wide array of emulators, it’s perfect for indulging his gaming nostalgia on the go. He says that the one downside to the N900 is that its keyboard doesn’t make gaming easy, nor comfortable.

To make gaming a big more fun, he built himself an add-on gamepad that fits perfectly over the phone’s keyboard. Connected via the phone’s USB port, it features 8 push buttons along with a PSP joystick. He used an ATmega8A as the brains of the controller, communicating with the phone as a USB keyboard. He says that this sort of configuration makes it extremely easy to do all sorts of custom button mapping on a per-game basis.

As you can see in the picture above the controller is currently lacking a case, but we think that with a bit of clever packaging, it could look as nice as a retail add-on.

Check out the short video below to see his gamepad in action.

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Buzzer project for classroom team games

Want to host a Jeopardy tournament with your friends? Looking to add a bit more fairness to your school’s knowledge bowl? Perhaps you should build some buzz-in hardware of your own.

Here you can see [Matt Hanson's] take on this idea. He used one Arduino to gather not just buzzer info, but also keypad data from four satellite controllers. Each has an RJ45 jack, allowing it to connect tot he base unit with an Ethernet patch cable. We like the color coding that [Matt] chose, which matches the color of the arcade button to the keystone jack on the base. And of course the fantastic look of the water-jet cut cases isn’t lost on us either.

You may wonder why he included a key pad on each controller? It looks like he and a few others worked together to develop a team-based math game for use in school.

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