Pong really founded the video game industry that we know today. It's
been reworked many times, but there is always room for one more attempt.
I wanted to make a game that would be fun and physical - break away
from the normal screen/controller interaction. I chose to modify two
old exercise bikes (from a local car boot sale) as controllers. Ride
forward and your bat moves up, ride backwards and your bat moves down.
bike I fitted a stripped Microsoft ball mouse to a modified speedo
cable. A drive belt turns one of the rollers from inside the mouse when
the bike's wheel turns. I love those old Microsoft mice - you can use
them for anything.
some way to start the game. Originally I thought about old-syle arcade
buttons. Having thought about this a bit I changed my mind and decided
it would be much more fun to be able to ring the bike's bell to start
the game. I modified two bells to contain microswitches (bottom of this
picture) to detect when they are rung.
bikes are interfaced to a PC via a special AVR circuit that maps two
PS/2 mouse signals on to an RS232 serial connection. This is a
modification of the electronics used for the Three
Blind Mice project. There is also a USB connector, but this
just provides power.
The software is a modified version of Tpong based
on the Allegro
graphics library. Tpong is a nice implementation of Pong. It looks neat
and modern without moving too far from the original. There were a few
bugs I fixed and I also changed the scoring system.
has been a big hit. It's easy to grasp and fun to play - see the video
below. It has already been to the Dorkbot London Christmas special. I
also hope to take it to a few festivals this summer.
I have a few ideas to develop the game further. Instead of computer
generated sounds I would like to have real bells and chimes making the
noise. I also have ideas for big score displays and special lighting
effects for the winning player.
To find out what happened next to Cyclepong (not exactly what I predicted above) go to the Cyclepong 2.0 page.
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