Control panel game project

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Note: a more general overview of the project is available at: https://york.hackspace.org.uk/spacehack

Abstract

SpaceHack is a project to build a starship-themed multiplayer control panel game, to exhibit at future Maker Faire and similar events. It's intended to be an intuitive to pick up, frantic co-operative team-in-space game involving players shouting technobabble instructions at each other to manipulate buttons, toggles, sliders and control knobs to randomly-generated settings. The idea is that the spectacle of visitors playing this game would generate its own interest and attract crowds in a busy exhibition space, much more so than a jumble-sale trestle-table of unconnected static projects we've made. It could also be re-used at subsequent events.

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SpaceHack

Hardware

The game hardware consists of a server box and four connected player control panels, allowing up to four players to participate.

The new server box is documented here

Things to consider: PRU programming

Game

A game of SpaceHack involves each player standing at a control panel station, each of which is slightly different but broadly consisting of about six control areas labelled with an LCD. Several rounds are played, each begins with the game server generating random control technobabble sci-fi names for each control. A stream of instructions then appears on each player instruction display, requesting a particular named control be set to a particular position, value or state. Each instruction has a time bar associated with it, displayed on the bottom row of the instructions display. Players must read out loud each instruction so that other players can find the appropriate control and set to the requested state. Failure to complete instructions will lead to ship malfunctions.

Name

The name SpaceHack is simply derived from swapping words round in Hackspace. The broad strokes of the gameplay were already known and space-themed before the name was settled on, but the presence of the word 'Hack' in the name may also influence theme and styling further - for instance it could be that the ship has undergone emergency repairs with control consoles 'hacked together' in true hackspace style, and this could explain some of the malfunctions and even the central premise of the instructions on one player's screen relating to controls on another player's console.

Project Administrivia

Design materials

Preliminary

Concrete

Implementation

Useful Links