UK Hackerspace Builds Mobile Spaceship Disaster Simulator


A spaceship simulator sounds fun. But a spaceship disaster simulator is pure win. Members of the London Hack Space poured their hearts and souls into this build which they call the LHS Bikeshed. Now they’re taking the show on the road, letting attendees of Maker Faires all over the UK try their hand at beating the Kobayashi Maru disaster simulation.

The real question is how do you take your simulator on the road with you? You build it in an old camper (or caravan as the Brits call it). The towable sleeping quarters were gutted to make room for the well-crafted command center seen above. The demonstration video also shows off some bulkhead doors which open to reveal a wiring mess that must be fixed to prevent a disaster. Not only does the physical build really sell the concept, but the audio and video produced for the simulator look fantastic too. The link above is a recent post, but you should dig through their archives see multiple steps during the project build.

It makes us thing we should keep going with our VW Bus hacking.

38 thoughts on “UK Hackerspace Builds Mobile Spaceship Disaster Simulator

      1. There used to be one of those in Blackpool. I went there as a small kid, I recall my sister being utterly terrified by the Daleks. They made her cry!

        It was much bigger on the inside, partly helped by use of the third dimension (downwards). The above bit, I think, just stood on a street. Down the stairs there were all sorts of stuff, lots of buttons to press! Including at least one diorama with Daleks, maybe some others with other baddies. The buttons made noises and flashes and stuff moved. It was great!

        It’s still remembered somewhere, was a big deal at the time, I think it closed in the 80s, sometime round the time the BBC killed Sylvester McCoy. But it was great. They could recreate it, perhaps with a lift and some darkness to take care of the interior bigness. Or just build it in front of a building’s doorway. Dr Who is bigger than ever now. Even with our millions of channels and Internets to compete with, kids and adults are mad over it.

    1. You know… that’s one thing I’d pay a lot of money to experience – I dearly hope that the crew rebuilding the Enterprise D bridge will program an interactive Kyobashi Maru situation. Let you be the captain. It could be amazing. Surely they wouldn’t build the whole thing on a motion rig but a lot of the ‘essence’ of the simulator could be done. Sound and light effects along with self-destructing panels would be so amazing. (Could be built to revert itself like the earthquake thing at Universal.)

  1. I personally would love to have seem them use something bigger (a shipping container?), and have two “actors”/”people who made it” to shout things at you and make it more awesome. Maybe tactical/nav position, a science position and two helm positions for the participants a la Starbug?

    1. we do have an “instructor” in with the players, its more fun for us but they also play along in character to set the scene.
      More stations is something I’d like but yeah.. space is an issue

    2. You could probably have a small bridge AND an engineering section in a shipping container. And, bonus, it’s easy to ship! You could tour it round exhibitions or conventions or something.

      1. As awesome as that would undoubtedly be, shipping containers are really rather expensive in the UK at least, plus the cost of a vehicle capable of transporting it, and the licence required to drive that vehicle in the UK (also not cheap). I have no knowledge of the LHS but I would imagine that as a hackerspace that would be hard to finance. Maybe if a company could be found to sponsor it? :)

    1. tom here (the coder behind this), I’m going to write a blog post about the systems behind it all at some point, but to summarise now:

      The main screen and audio is a Unity game that I wrote, its the core of the whole ship and everything is simulated there.
      Each station is a processing script and has a collection of Arduinos/other avr kit connected to it for the IO. The pilot console has an old MS force feedback stick installed (which alas I havent got the feedback working for yet..) for piloting too.
      Smoke is provided by a smoke machine (durr) connected to an arduino via a solid state relay switch.
      All of the consoles respond to OSC messages and report their states back to the server with it, most of the time its just “hey someone toggled the docking clamp switch” but also things like “yet again the engineer turned the reactor off instead of venting the airlock” and “tactical guy failed to connect the cables properly in conduit #3”
      Consoles run Debian (for some reason I cant remember) and the main game is Win8 based, this will change soon :)

      Not in these pics is a hidden back room labelled “transporter room” where we DM the game from, meanwhile there’s a Captain in with them driving the game forward if they get stuck, the DM listens out for cues through the door to progress the storyline (for example if the players get lost in one scene he’ll shout something like “hey there used to be a gate here..” and we’ll spawn one nearby for them to find)

      If anyone is in london at the moment, let us know and come have a play!

      1. I am off to the London Hackerspace tonight! Is this there or do we need special secret instructions to find it?
        I’ve been planning to visit for ages and this is the thing that tipped me over the edge. See you there tonight hopefully.

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