Programming A Poker Game With GPT Help

Although ChatGPT generated a huge amount of hype around replacing white collar workers completely when it was first released to the public, the general consensus now is that it won’t outright replace anyone yet, but rather people who know how to use it as a tool will replace those who don’t. Getting started with it is not too hard, either, but you’ll of course need a project to work on to familiarize yourself with the tool. [Volos Projects] gave himself the challenge of writing a poker game using ChatGPT not as the opposing player, but as a co-designer in order to learn more about it as an assistant.

The poker game is being built on an ESP32 board with a built-in AMOLED screen. Five buttons are wired to the microcontroller to allow the player to select which cards to discard and which to keep. The bet for each hand can be raised or lowered much like the tabletop poker games often seen in bars and restaurants. To program it, though, ChatGPT was used to help design the code at each step of the way, first describing the overall goal and then building each function one-by-one like shuffling the deck, dealing the hand, and then replacing and dealing new cards.

For anyone who hasn’t yet explored using ChatGPT to help design their programming projects, this effort goes a long way to showing just how useful a tool it can be. For more complex tasks, though, it does take a little bit of knowledge on the part of the user because ChatGPT can often turn out nonsense or factually inaccurate information, but at least in a programming environment you’ll generally find out quickly when that happens. It’s not just a useful tool for writing programs, either. It can accomplish a lot of ancillary tasks related to programming as well, even if it’s not writing the code directly.

Thanks to [Peter] for the tip!

Continue reading “Programming A Poker Game With GPT Help”

Force Feedback Steering Wheel Made From Power Drill

When it comes to controllers for racing games, there is perhaps no better option than a force feedback steering wheel. With a built-in motor to push against the wheel at exactly the right times, they can realistically mimic the behavior of a steering wheel from a real car. The only major downside is cost, with controllers often reaching many hundreds of dollars. [Jason] thought it shouldn’t be that hard to build one from a few spare parts though and went about building this prototype force feedback steering wheel for himself.

Sourcing the motor for the steering wheel wasn’t as straightforward as he thought originally. The first place he looked was an old printer, but the DC motor he scavenged from it didn’t have enough torque to make the controller behave realistically, so he turned to a high-torque motor from a battery-powered impact driver. This also has the benefit of coming along with a planetary gearbox as well, keeping the size down, as well as including its own high-current circuitry. The printer turned out to not be a total loss either, as the encoder from the printer was used to send position data about the steering wheel back to the racing game. Controlling the device is an Arduino, which performs double duty sending controller information from the steering wheel as well as receiving force feedback instructions from the game to drive the motor in the steering wheel. Continue reading “Force Feedback Steering Wheel Made From Power Drill”

Pushing Crates In 8-bit Color

Moore’s law isn’t strictly holding anymore, but it is still true that most computing systems are at least trending towards lower cost over time, if not also slightly smaller size. This means wider access to less expensive hardware, even if that hardware is still an 8-bit microcontroller. While some move on to more powerful platforms as a result of this trend, there are others still fighting to push these platforms to the edge. [lcamtuf] has been working to this end, stretching a small AVR microcontroller to not only play a classic video game, but to display it on a color display. Continue reading “Pushing Crates In 8-bit Color”

A Number Maze For Younger Hackers

[David Johnson-Davies] has a lofty goal of building a small device to give to younger hackers on a semi-yearly basis. So this last year, he designed and created The Number Maze Game, a small handheld logic puzzle maze.

It’s based on several 4-digit seven-segment displays controlled by an AVR128DA32. Navigation is just a few push buttons and a buzzer to let you know when you’ve won. The game is simple: you jump the amount listed on the space you’re currently on, trying to get to the space labeled “H.” [David] lays out how he built it in great detail, discussing the process of designing and assembly. He also expounds on many decisions, such as using a TQFP microcontroller instead of the through-hole ATmega328P due to the I/O pin count.

The instructions and design process are so detailed we’re confident most people could easily reproduce it, especially with the code and board files. But the value of this project is not in blindly copying it. Instead, we love how something so simple can be wonderfully entertaining and valuable to younger hackers. Programming headers are included so they can add new mazes. We suspect there are many out there who would love to get something so tactile, simple, and modifiable.

Of course, we’ve seen other minimal maze games, so there’s no lack of inspiration for making some different.

Logic Gate Game Is Fun AND Educational

How well do you know your logic gates? For their final submission for STEM Projects class, [BKriet] gamified the situation using a Raspberry Pi Pico, some blinkenlights, and a not-insignificant amount of 3D printing. The result is Name! That! Gate!, a fun and educational toy that [BKriet] ultimately donated back to the class (that’s a hot move in our book).

The objective of this game is to figure out which logic gate is being used to make the output shown on the screen, given A, B, and/or C as inputs. There are ten stages to the game, and each correct stage awards the player 14 points, for a perfect score of 140. Although a random gate is loaded for every stage, code ensures that no gate is ever repeated during a single game.

This project is completely open source, so the gate is wide open. Don’t have a 3D printer? Here’s a big set of PCB logic gates, but really, you can make logic gates out of almost anything.

IRL minesweeper render showing game on top of a campaign map

Meat-Space Minesweeper Game Hits The Mark

Hackers of a certain age will remember that before the Internet was available to distract us from our work, we had to find our own fun. Luckily, Windows was there to come to our aid, in the shape of “Minesweeper” – a classic of the age that involved figuring out/occasionally just guessing where a selection of mines had been hidden on a grid of squares via numerical clues to their proximity. For those missing such simple times, [Martin] has brought the game into physical space with his 3D-printed travel-game version.

GIF showing how to play IRL minesweeper game

A number of pre-determined game fields can be inserted (by a friend… or enemy, we presume!) and covered by tiles, which the mine-clearing player can then remove with their plastic shovel to reveal the clues. The aim of the game is to avoid uncovering a bomb, and to place flags where the bombs are hiding.

Aficionados of the game may remember that a little guessing was often inevitable, which sometimes ended in disaster. On the computer version, this merely entailed clicking the Smiley Face button for a new game, but in this case would require a new sheet to be inserted. Blank sheet templates are included for producing your own fiendish bomb-sites, and all the pieces pack away neatly into a handy clam-shell design that would be ideal for long car journeys when the data package on the kids’ tablets has run out.

We wonder what other classic games may lend themselves to a travel remake and look forward to the first 3D-printed travel set of Doom with anticipation!

If you’re above solving your own Minesweeper games, then you can learn how to write a solver in Java here. Continue reading “Meat-Space Minesweeper Game Hits The Mark”

Why You’ve Never Heard About Nintendo’s U-Force

90’s kids think that the Power Glove was the coolest game peripheral of the epoch. We might have thought so too, until we heard about Don’t Touch: The Story of the U-Force from [The Gaming Historian].

The device itself folded up like a laptop, and on the two surfaces had four IR LED/sensor pairs. All of these combined would localize your fist in space for playing Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, or would work with various other passive controller add-ons like a flight yoke for playing Top Gun. (One of the coolest bits is the flip-out IR reflectors triggered by the buttons in the yoke.)

All-in-all, the video’s take is that a number of factors doomed the U-Force to play second fiddle to the Power Glove. Battling Mattel’s marketing prowess is obvious, but other things like manufacturing problems due to bad hinges and inconsistent IR sensors delayed release and added cost. In the end, though, [Dave Capper], the U-Force’s inventor, puts it down simply to non-convincing gameplay. There were no blockbuster games that used it to its full potential.

At the time, the U-Force utilized more IR LEDs than any other consumer electronic device.

We think there’s interesting hacker potential in a simple interface like this. Perhaps its biggest Achilles heel outside of the lack of a killer application was the fact that it required calibration. We can imagine all sorts of awesome interactions, and we’re not afraid of a little tweaking. Or maybe we would update the sensors to something more modern, like those inexpensive time-of-flight distance units.

Thanks [Karl Koscher] for bringing this documentary to our attention in the comments about the very similarly interesting laser theremin project we featured last year. It’s definitely opened our eyes to an old interaction of the past that would seem no less magical today.

Continue reading “Why You’ve Never Heard About Nintendo’s U-Force”