Kicking it Old Skool with Arduino Game Controllers

Saturday 5th October- 16 people join Marcus Schappi and I for a day's instruction and entertainment at Australian Technology Park Innovations in Redfern, Sydney..

It was the latest in a long line (I've lost count!) of seminars we've given to people of all ages who are keen to learn all about Arduino and what you can do with it. 

Happy Campers play  BirdWars

Happy Campers play BirdWars

I whipped together a simple multiplayer game in Processing, and dubbed it 'BirdWars'.  Each player controlled a simple shape, using their analog joysticks to control the heading of the shape, and the controller buttons to accelerate, decelerate and fire.

Birds in Action!

Birds in Action!

We spent the best part of the day covering the constituent parts of the controller and the programming that is required to enable that, and spent the last half an hour of the day playing the game.

Attendees were given an EtherTen as well as an input shield that consisted of a joystick and five buttons.  We got them to add a speaker and a 'rumble pack' in the shape of a vibrating cell phone module. 

When players collided with walls and were shot, the pack would rumble.  When they fired their weapons their speakers would chirp.  They also added a RGB LED that displayed a colour that reflected their health and fuel. 

Control, control, you must learn control!

Control, control, you must learn control!

Marcus joins in on the fragging.

We allocated each player their own unique address on the network, and after they faithfully set those addresses, the thing worked like a charm!  We had all 16 players in the game having a great old time. 

Want to join in the fun in the future?  Head over to Little Bird Electronics to find out when the next seminar will be help in your neck of the woods.