Augmented balloons that communicate over WiFi to change color and register being hit.

Expectations blown, like balloons

This year’s Global game jam is over and I’m as happy as one can be. The event went smoothly, from registering the site to finding sponsors and jury judges to helping out the participants, buying snacks and drinks and also creating my own game. To be honest, I didn’t think that my idea would work out Sunday morning, but all base tech just fell in place in the final hours. Suddenly inconsistent became reliable and illogical simple and it just worked.

The video shows the judges playing what little game we managed to assemble once the actual balloons worked as intended.

Full-blown test

It’s the end of day two. Today we manged to put a balloon together to get a proper idea of what the final thing would look like. The whole project is a challenge with several unknowns, just one being imagining what it will look like and whether that will be close enough to the idea. There’s still much to be done to reach the ambition of having several of these and being able to play a game with them, but if this is what we end up with I’ll still be very happy with what we accomplished and learned. Let’s see if there is an actual game tomorrow.

Global game jam 2020!

The jam is on! This year I’m the main site organizer in Gothenburg again, but I also aspire to experiment with and idea for a gaming platform based on balloons. The event is proceeding smoothly, so I’ve had some time to set up a cozy work station for myself in an armchair with a coffee table on wheels.

The idea is to work with classic balloon interaction. You know, they can be tossed and then slowly fall. They can be hit, rubbed popped and such. Then I want to augment the classic balloon with neopixel light so that they can “change color” and some sensor to make a balloon register being touched. Furthermore, I would like my balloons to be connected so that they can communicate with a main game app and each other, and to be wireless just like regular balloons. For these reasons I’m looking at working with ESP2866 based micro controllers, something I’ve not done before, and to power the electronics with lipo batteries, which is also new to me. I’ve never worked with neopixels before neither. Lots of things to learn, but for today I settled with just controlling a pixel and sensing “knocks” with a piezo.