A game built as an arcade cabinet for the retro game fair in Sweden, Gothenburg 2018. Two players battle it out, each controlling a snake-like finger picking boogers, all built into a physical, interactive nose.

A ha…ve something to say

Three days at the AHA festival, much less preparation than I planned for, high risk things wouldn’t work as intended and lots of fixing on site. While the cardboard arcades worked pretty well throughout the event, Enbarr went from not working at all to working almost 100% throughout the days.

The day before the first day, the prep day, we discovered that one of the main sensors didn’t work, rendering all the chairs useless. I got an idea, brought soldering equipment and spent the noon of the first day fixing them on site. It worked, so then I had two chairs running, enough to allow racing. A third chair didn’t work, but on the second day I had the printed materials for the final chair and this one worked, so then we had three chair. We never got the fourth one working, but I had a look at it during the third day and I’m pretty sure of what caused that, so it will be an easy fix for next time. All the software just worked as intended, which is a miracle and not to be expected when it’s barely been tested.

Regarding the cardboard cabinets, while they worked fine they were a hassle to pick up and down. Reason being; they had all their circuits and such just hanging from temporary cables under them. On the second day we hot glued everything in place and figured out ways to jam things in place using the natural cavities of banana boxes. Some great iterations were made on the standard cabinet, I think there will be a future video explaining all the things I’ve learned on how to make them. : )

Only thing remaining now is to figure out what to do with the boxes (pick them apart or save them for a little while) and to edit the video material I recorded into a new Enbarr and Pickaboog video. : )

Festive(?) setup

Today we spent the morning building and preparing in the workshop, moved everything by car over lunch and then spent the rest of the day setting everything up at the venue.

Among things we did in the morning were four brand new cardboard cabinets, I really have a hang of making them now.
We also glued the old PickaBoog back together. It’s alive again! Though, the game is not filling out the screen, resulting in it not looking very good. Anyway, it’s good enough.

The prints from yesterday were done as well, one came out good (the accidentally too high detail, and thereby ridiculously long print time, one messed up, of course) and it looked above expectation so we had time to print another one before we left for the venue. It’s a shame they will be hidden in duct tape beneath a chair. : )

Some of the materials that we were promised we could use to build our installations seemed to have been stolen for other activities and installations, so I eventually stole them back after having spent some time looking for options. In the end, I think our presentation was good. Erik Fagerberg whom I originally built Enbarr with also came by and user/wear secured all the chairs with plastic straps. He also discovered that they don’t react to back pumping (the interaction to move forward), yikes. I got an idea of what the problem was and brought them to the workshop. In theory, I have them working again now. Guess we will see tomorrow, at the first day of the exhibit. I’ll just have to bring soldering equipment to the venue.

Prepping for AHA

It’s been a busy day… Tomorrow we’re moving our things over to the venue, so I wanted as much of the hardware to be prepared as possible. Luckily Gabriella was helping out, so we got some things done at least. I realized the PickaBoog nose was a bit more picked apart than I remembered so it took a while to get the functional parts running again.

To summarize, today we have:

  • Managed to reconnect the PickaBoog fans to the Unity game, we still don’t have all the pieces in place though
  • Started the prints of the boxes for the Enbarr chips.
  • Soldered all the Enbarr chips so that they are reconnected with new cables and look alike.
  • Soldered all the Enbarr chair back sensor cards so that they have audio jacks.
  • Felt a bit anxious about working late into the night and feeling that time is running out.

Oh well, there is still a fair chance that it will work sufficiently well.

Visiting the venue

Today, me and a colleague who is also showcasing something at the festival visited the venue; a large, indoor atrium at Chalmers, the university where I studied. We had a look at what types of materials we had to work with, got key cards with access to related spaces and talked about various other things with the planners and project leaders.

Most of the day went into scooping out the space, and there isn’t much time left. But it’s still doable. : )

Better with Bubbles

Got word that these beauties were available at a local cheap brand store from a partner in crime of some of my projects. I instantly felt they would make for the perfect upgrade of the sneezing effect and bought one per nostril. :)

PickaBoog at RSM 2018!

Wohoo! What a great event RSM 2018 was, although hot… I went to the venue early in the morning, bringing the last of the cabinets and other things with the help of my brother. The indie games, arcades and other interactive exhibitions had been moved to their own building, dedicating the main hall to just game and game merch plus concert hall. At some point I was afraid that people wouldn’t find their way over to out space, but my fears were soon gone. We had lots of visitors and while it was super hot I had brought a fan and we made sure to have beverages behind the stand to stay alive.
While PickaBoog may have proven to be a little hard to understand without a helping hand, I got a lot of positive energy from visitors and am more than happy to participate next year as well. The RAGE arcade gun stole the show a bit, but more on that in its own blog. : )

El Build Evening Final

So it’s the day before the grand event, RSM the retro game fair. Finally, it’s time to put all that positive energy into celebrating games from all sorts of perspectives; as history, art form, technology, valuable items and other crazy words I can come up with. At any rate, I have used some of the feedback and testing from the GDL event earlier this week an have performed some upgrades to both hardware and software of PickaBoog. We have also helped each other out in the other creations that are going to the fair.

Sadly, we miscalculated the time a bit and were not able to bring all the things we wanted to the site this evening. Luckily, my brother is in town and will help me out in bringing the final pieces, early tomorrow. Everything is awesome, peace out. : )

PickaBoog at GDL 2018

I somehow managed to drag the entire PickaBoog rig to the local game dev community event GDL, Game developers’ lounge, carrying it and taking a ferry to the venue. While it was it was a bit awkward to brave a tight bar queue with three something huge plastic bags, it was well worth it. Super fun to see everyone and have people play my game. Also fun to have Valve sponsor me with two hotdogs and beers, cheers!