Today concluded our annual game jam for the annual, local retro game fair. Brought the old PickaBoog to this year’s fair (made it for last year’s). It made it into the local newspaper through an interview with some of the other jammers. : )
Had a great day at Tidsvåg today. It was quite intense, trying to maintain my projects, setting up games from the craft your own utopia jam and setting up showcase equipment for a bunch of exhibitors. However, in the end it was mostly fun, and I got to explore a bit in how to secure expensive gear for public exhibitions. : )
Something that is stressing me a bit is that the annual retro game fair is coming up. I really want to arrange a jam and get a lot of great jam games into the spot we have been promised there. If it wasn’t for Tidsvåg I would probably have started with this something like two weeks ago, but well, at least we’re getting started now.
Last minute patching
Tomorrow is the game party Tidsvåg and the plan is to exhibit some games we made during the Craft your own utopia-jam. I didn’t make a game during that jam, but I’ll bring the trusty PickaBoog and Enbarr mac Lir.
PickaBoog got its last major fresh-up ahead of the AHA! festival November last year. Since then I came across Unity’s new pixel camera features making it possible to run the game with intended graphics on a more convenient computer. I put it all together yesterday and was happy to see it run as intended.
Enbarr had its last run last December for the Christmas party at my job. Yesterday, I had a look at its circuitry and was reminded that there were some things to fix. One circuit was burnt out and I ha to replace its components. Another its tilt sensor connected the wrong way. I fixed these electrical issues and updated the code on the micro controllers to give more detailed data as well.
Today we moved all the stuff to the venue. Hopefully it will all run nicely tomorrow, because I’ve also become overall responsible for bringing and setting up equipment for exhibitors so I’ll probably have my hands full. : P
CAD for cab?
Tidsvåg is closing in with only a couple of weeks left. I’ve had my hands full with projects at work and life stuff, but I’d really like to iterate a little on the projects I’m going to exhibit there. First off, it would be really cool if I could make a new cabinet for PickaBoog.
Some time back I got in touch with a department at my job which uses industrial robots to 3D print furniture. The idea is that I contact them and see if they can throw together a cabinet for me, given that it’s a bit to big for the printers in my workshop. So I finally found some time to cad on a nose for that eventual print.
Craft your own utöpia jam
This weekend me and other members of the game culture organization Automat arranged a jam ahead of the game party Tidsvåg. The plan is that the games made during this jam will be exhibited during Tidsvåg.
We managed to attract a lot of new jammers which was great. However, this meant that I had to spend more time mentoring the participants through workshops and guidance and didn’t really have any time left to make any games myself. That’s fine though, I’m going to exhibit PickaBoog and Enbarr mac Lir anyhow, and they are hopefully somewhat functional since last I used them. : P
Unity’s so-so pixel feature
Finally discovered the official “pixel camera” which was released in Unity´s package manager last year. From the top of my mind this will be useful for five of my projects: PickaBoog, Fagerman, Slice n Dice and Stricod and Gr3at M4gician. I don’t have that much time over for my projects at the moment, but this is at least something!
Tidsvåg – a game party
I forgot to post about this but something really fun came up towards the end of last year. Elisabeth Tegner, pioneer in creating game education and legend, have moved back to town after many years of adding to the game scene in other places. She is going to arrange a multi culture game party at the annual science festival in town and I was recommended as a participant somewhere along the way.
Now we’ve been in touch quite a lot and the plan is for me to showcase the old Enbarr and PickaBoog once again at the event. I think it’s going to be great! : )
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. : )
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.