Cardboard Wolfenstein 3D | Telepresence Robot FP Nazi Punch Game

Drive a little robot around an actual cardboard Wolfenstein labyrinth and punch cardboard Nazis.

Looping video of a small robot with a smartphone with a mans face moving around a cardboard labyrinth punching cardboard Nazis

You can play Smartistein3D during the hours listed below, in your browser at this link. You can control the robot using either the buttons on the screen or arrow keys and space bar.

Tue Aug 25: 11:30 to 18:30 BST

Wed Aug 26: 9:30 to 18:30 BST

Wed Sep 2: 9:30 to 18:30 BST

Thur Sep 3: 9:30 to 18:30 BST

Looping video showing the the robot's perspective as it drives up and punches a cardboard Nazi

Play a first person game with a robot

Looping video of a cardboard robot carrying a smartphone with a man's face on it moving from side to side

We've created a new expansion for Smaribot that allows you to build a telepresence robot that works with your phone. It's called Smartipresence and to make it all work slickly we've built a telepresence system.

Looping video. First section shows a cardboard robot carrying a smartphone driving towards a small child. Second section shows the robot's point of view with buttons at the side moving it.

Driving the robot around from somewhere else feels a bit like playing a first person game and made me wonder what it would be like to build an actual game around it.

It felt appropriate to go back to the origin of the first person shooter genre and do Wolfenstein 3D. I think many of us miss the chunky pixels and moral clarity that Nazis are bad. 

Cardboard computer game

Loping video of a small robot punching a cardboard Nazi in a cardboard labrynth

Because Wolfenstein 3D had 2D sprites (enemy characters) in a 3D world I thought it would probably transfer to cardboard quite nicely. I wanted to build it all on a table which limited space a bit, meaning I wasn't going to build a robot that could shoot (probably a good decision anyway) so I settled on a compact cardboard labyrinth and a robot that could punch.

Punching robot

Looping video of a close up of a cardboard fist punching a cardboard Nazi

I used to live around the corner from the Cable Street mural, which is a great argument for punching Nazis, so this seemed good. I designed a compact 3D printed Smartibot chassis that could hold a smartphone and a 9g servo to operate the punch mechanism, to which I attached a nice pixelated fist. (files on Thingiverse).

A game engine on your table

I got a friend who's worked for many years creating computer games to test this out and she said "you've made a game engine", which wasn't really something I'd considered before but it makes sense.

Game engines (software frameworks that handle things like in-game physics and graphics) have allowed games producers to focus on the creative aspects of game making and opened up the field to many less technical people.

Using a small telepresence robot (like Smartipresence) in this way makes game creation even easier, all you need is a table (or bit of floor) to build your environment on, some things for the player to interact with and a clear idea of how the game mechanics should work. The physical world provides your physics and graphics engine and your hands handle the game mechanics.

I think this could be a really fun way for kids to interact with their loved ones remotely.

Looping video of a small purple circuit board with a smiling face on it connected to 14 motors all of which are moving back and fourth

The robot I built to play Smartistein3D uses only three motors (the two that come in the Smartibot kit to drive the wheels and move it around plus the little servo for the punch) but because Smartibot is so flexible (and can control up to 14 motors) you could build more complicated robots for more complicated game mechanics (you could use almost any of the robots in the projects section as the character). Plus, if you've got strong enough internet, there's no reason not to have multiple players controlling multiple robots. ALSO, you could probably use Smartibot's A.I. mode to create enemies that move around and respond to the player characters automatically ... I doubt this will the last game I'll make with Smartipresence.




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