19th may
New York City 2017

#35 _waster 03 · ITP Spring Show

_waster has taken its first form! an arcade style game.

gif's alt text How _waster looked before the show

At ITP we have a show at the end of every semester. This time I had the chance of being part of the Spring Show, and I decided to make some changes to _waster so it was playable and fun for the attendees. I had dabbled with the idea of making a physical controller for it, due to the whole game being build around the swipe mechanic. So that I did.

Physical controller pt. 1 (code)

gif's alt text This is what I came up with

The image shows one of the two controllers I made. Each one of them has a specific structure made of acrylic. It contains a board with a four button circuit on it, the buttons are connected to an Arduino Micro, and through it I emulate the keyboard. But just emulating it wasn’t enough. Arduino runs the code so fast that if you kept all the buttons pressed at the same time it would instantly swipe all the way to zero dollars. So with the help Sebastian Morales (AKA the cheater), some adjustments had to be made to the code.

The basic form of the code was a series of if statements where a button press on the board was translated to pressing a certain key on the keyboard. Like so:

if (butt1State == HIGH) {

But this caused the above mentioned problem, so to fix it, we added a boolean. This had a counter, where each time a button on the controller was pressed +1 was added to the counter. And if the value was higher than 1, none of the buttons would work.

boolean allOn() {
  int counter = 0;
  if (butt1State == HIGH) {
  if (butt2State == HIGH) {
  if (butt3State == HIGH) {
  if (butt4State == HIGH) {
  if (counter > 1) {
    return (false);
  } else {
    return (true);

If this is not good enough of an explanation, you can check github to see the complete code.

Physical controller pt. 2 (fabrication)

the insides of the controller

the file that was used to cut

The fabrication was pretty straight forward. Acrylic layers to encase all the wiring. The tricky part was the wiring, I’m no expert at soldering, I’ve only had to do it a handful of times and only very simple things, and that ended up being the problematic part of the build.

The first day of the show everything ran very smoothly, until the end of the venue, when one of the controls stopped working. It was brought to my attention that I used the wrong resistor in one of the buttons (My daltonism got me for once). But that didn’t solve the problem, what happened was that the solder was cold, meaning that when I applied it, it wasn’t hot enough, so the connections where faulty.

the mess that was done when trying to fix the control

The video game per se

I gotta say that the experience when exactly how I wanted it to go. People picked up the mechanic fairly quickly and the competitive aspect of the whole game really made players burn their fingers.

The burning after-effect was not intended when I came up with the mechanic, but I did nothing to fix it because I worked out whole the whole dynamic and tone of the game itself.

Something worth mentioning is the different ways someone can come up to try to beat the system. Some tried to keep the finger on the bill and just move it back and forth, but the bill always fell or moved when doing so. Other methods where tried but at the end of the day, the best and fastest method was the one I showed and intended people to use.

gif's alt text

gif's alt text people picked up the game fairly quick, and seemed to have lot’s of fun

_waster was imagined as a browser game and to fit the standard way that a screen is used (horizontally), but when trying to make it a arcade like game, I decided to change it to a vertical orientation. That was fine, I just had to change positions and the size of the canvas. But to make it more part of the style I wanted I had to add the title animation. Which made the whole set up pop more.

gif's alt text the title animation

This whole process has been amazing and I loved every second of it. I just wanna make more games now.

links that either, you should check out, or have been mentioned in this post

gif's alt text a day before the show at 4 am


Please, tell me how good or bad this post was. And comment on anything that comes up in that beautiful brain of yours.