The Pac-Man Bus Stop For Gamers at Heart

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Waiting for the bus can be drag. You never know exactly when it will come, always looking down the road hoping to spot the vehicle as it turns a corner. When it doesn’t show up right away, the result is usually staring down at a ‘smart’ phone checking it for any incoming messages. Directing the attention up might produce a list of estimated arrival times and maybe even a map showing the routes that are taken throughout the day. But there is only one bus stop in the entire world, that we know of, where people can play Pac-Man while they watch for the bus to arrive.

It was created by the combining efforts of two maker communities in town. Norwegian Creations and Trondheim Makers teamed up to build an interactive gaming display that gave individuals the ability to pass the time by directing the famous video gaming character around a blue maze, eating yellow pellets and avoiding colorful ghosts along the way. This display was also made to raise awareness for the upcoming Trondheim Maker Faire that year. They choose Pac-Man as the foundation and integrated a slightly modified invention kit called Makey Makey with a Raspberry Pi running RetroPie into the actual frame of the bus stop. The people involved must have had some serious business connections in order to get approval for that. They figuratively hacked into the bus stop’s power grid gaining the necessary 230 volts required to energize the custom gaming unit. Once hooked up, anyone standing by could play Pac-Man until the bus came. [Ragnar] at Norwegian Creations told us in an email that future ideas of theirs include syncing up several stops that can communicate with each other, which could lead to some great multiplayer interactions. They also have a fantastic video that they uploaded that shows the building process of their current design. Check that out below, and let us know what other types of games you would like to see at a bus stop near you.

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Modifying a CRT television for use as an arcade monitor

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Finding himself in need of an arcade monitor [Eric Wright] turned to this ancient CRT television. The problem is that arcade monitors and televisions didn’t operate in the same way, differing in both resolution and refresh rate. [Eric] modified the television to work like an arcade monitor, but only with limited success. He’s hoping a few more alterations will lead him to a complete solution.

The image above shows him testing a Pac-Man machine on the altered Sharp television. Those familiar with the game will immediately notice that there is something wrong. We see most of the tracks upon which Pac-Man and the ghosts travel, but he maze itself is completely missing. To get to this point [Eric] consulted the television and arcade schematics to figure out how to connect the composite sync and three color channels directly to the arcade machine. This way the CRT timing is forced to conform to the game standard. The problem is that there is no way to adjust the drive and cutoff of the individual color channels. This is something [Eric] hopes to fix in the next iteration of his experiments.

If you already have a working arcade monitor but no gaming cabinet why not use a Raspberry Pi?

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DCPU-16 running Pac-Man

If you’ve been trying to think of stuff you can do with the DCPU-16 this may inspire you to write a clone of  a classic game.

This version of Pac-Man was written using a sprite system with a 16 color pallette. It runs in an HTML-based emulator, so you can even monkey around with the assembly code to help you figure out how it works. But if you’re not into writing code that is this machine-close, you can just click the ‘run’ button and use your keyboard arrows to play through a level or two. You’ll notice there’s only one game board available so far and some things are still missing like that familiar waka-waka as he gobbles up the dots. Let us know if you mange to extend the features of this version.

In case you missed it, this emulator is running the DCPU-16 spec from Notch’s new game, 0x10c (. We have no idea how that’s going to shape up, but getting in on the game early will pay off it turns out to be as popular as Minecraft.

JTAG dongle pushes code to FPGA after bootup

This gnarly beast has near-magical qualities. [Sprite_TM] patched it together as a dongle which attaches to a JTAG header (we’re fairly certain this is not a standard footprint for that interface though). He uses it to push code to an FPGA after that device boots. Why? Well, there’s several reason, but the most generic answer is that some boards will not boot unless there is a chain of trust that validates the code which will be running.

In this case, [Sprite_TM] is using a knock-off board he acquired from a Chinese supplier. It’s a hardware network terminal (thin client), and as you can see in the video after the break, it works just fine. But that’s pretty boring and he wanted to use it for his own purposes. When he plugs in the dongle and powers up the board the network terminal is nowhere to be found, replaced with the code to play Pac-Man as if were a full arcade cabinet.

The dongle is simply a female DIL header, an ATtiny85, and a flash memory chip. The AVR has a software UART that speaks XSVF, the protocol used to push data to the FPGA. The data to be written is stored in the memory chip, and with that header in place reprogramming the AVR is just a matter of connecting an ISP programmer. Brilliant!

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Musical [Blinky] candy tin

Since it’s the holidays and pine trees are being cut down and installed in living rooms all around the world, [Jarv] though it would be a good idea to make a musical Christmas ornament. He needed to keep some of his geek cred, so [Jarv] decided to build a musical [Blinky] ghost from Pacman.

A few weeks ago, [Jarv] sent in his musical greeting card that uses a minimal amount of parts to play a short 8-bit tune. His project was based around an ATtiny85 and sounded pretty good. For his [Blinky] ornament, [Jarv] used a similar circuit along with some old-school Pacman songs that sound great.

[Jarv] found a [Blinky] candy tin and after dispensing with all that pressed sugar began work on his build. In keeping with his greeting card, everything is very minimal. Just a speaker, ATtiny85, and button make up the build. Pressing the button cycles through three songs from Ms. Pacman. The result sounds uncannily like a vintage arcade game, so be sure to check out the video after the break.

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Pactuator: Mechanical Pac-Man Frame

As a proof of concept for his long term work in progress “The Pac-Machina” (an electro-mechanical reimagining of a Pac-Man cabinet), [Jonathan] needed some way to make a mechanical Pac-Man, flappy jaw and all. After working through a couple different design possibilities, he decided on an interesting setup which includes using a cog with only half its teeth to make the mouth open and close. Unfortunately, NAMCO BANDAI has asked him nicely not to sell these as kits, but he has helpfully included just about all that is required to make one of these from scratch. [Jonathan] even cut and laser etched his own faux-Victorian frame to keep his proof of concept Pac-Man ready until needed for the main project.

Roombas with UAV Brains Play Pac-Man



[Jack], [Cory], and [Maciej] are playing Pac-Man with Roombas on a lab floor. The Roombas are outfitted with ALIX3d2 single board computers running Gentoo and a software suite developed for UAVs at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles. The hardware and software sections are quite in-depth and make for a good read.

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