Playing Space Invaders with Real Fire and Lasers

Making a Space Invaders game is up there on the list of most unconventional things you could do with a laser cutter. In watching the tiny little ships burst into flames, [Martin Raynsford’s] modification has got to be one of the more dangerous looking ones we’ve seen as well.

[Martin] always had the desire to make a tangible version of the classic game. Since his Whitetooth A1 laser cutter already contained the bulk of the moving hardware needed, not to mention an actual high powered laser to “pew pew” with, he decided it was the perfect starting point for such a project. The game is played looking down into the cutter since the laser of course fires in that direction, however a basic webcam is mounted to the laser assembly so that you can view the game on a computer screen at the proper perspective. An Arduino Mini is responsible for stepper control, allowing the player to jog back and forth and fire with a keyboard. [Martin] added an extra gear to the z-axis bed-leveler so that it could drive rows of paper invaders left and right across the bottom. Paperclips wedged into slots along a modified backboard hold each of the paper slips in place. This works ideally since they can be reloaded easily and won’t be maimed during use.

Due to the heat of the laser, landing a well positioned shot will likely nuke all of the nearby invaders as well, making for a theatrical inferno and easy win. Now to step up the difficulty level and figure out how to make them fire back…

If safety is more your thing you can go the route of Space Ivaders clock, 16×2 Character display game, or head-to-head on an FPGA.

16 thoughts on “Playing Space Invaders with Real Fire and Lasers

    1. Flash paper/oxidizer would be great, but since it’s a vertical array, they’d likely all go at once if you hit one of the lower pieces. I’m not saying that would be a bad thing….

  1. Fun!
    But in the original game you also have to avoid getting shot.. Maybe add a temperature and/or smoke sensors near the laser, you die if it gets to hot from the burning daemons…

  2. dicounting any repetitive motion injuries, video game inconvenienced electrons at the worse. Video games with actual consumables, could get downright expensive, although fun. Could rival the expense that plinking with .22 ammo has become.

      1. Far out thanks for posting. The fly in the anointment is not having a Ruger 10/22 laying around. I believe he said he said about two cents per shot, about the advertized cost of 5500 rounds off .22 Long rifle from one online source. More expensive than the good old days, but I wouldn’t mind that cost if I could get them at the hardware store whenever I wanted any.

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