Details on the “Figurines” project

Good evening everyone!

So while the PCB software is downloading (4 to 6 hours remaining!), I thought I should post here the details about the “Figurines” project that some of us are hoping to be able to do (it’s not one of the projects proposed by Alexis and Samuel).

The idea is to have customizable, battling figurines controlled by smartphone. There would be several classic battle types: deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, etc.

The basic details as of now are as follows.

Each figurine is actually made of different parts, called modules. Each module (except the base module) is optional and, if present, gives the figurine more abilities. We’re considering four types of modules:

– the base module: the body of the figurine, allowing it to move and to be fired upon. The details of how it would move (wheels, tracks, other…) haven’t been set, we don’t really know what would be a cheap but effective way to do it, so don’t hesitate to share ideas! The basic shots are done using laser emitters and receptors, other types of shots would use different sensors (other shots may include 360° attacks and proximity healing actions). This module would also include a kind of display to see the basic information about the figurine (level, type, team, etc). The other modules are added to the base module.

– the basic firing module: the head of the figurine. It is set on top of the base module and could ideally rotate at 360° and tilt up and down to a certain angle. It has a “cannon” which is the laser emitter. This module allow the user to aim at another figurine and fire a laser shot towards its laser receiver.

– secondary defense modules: we’re considering an armor module which would be added to the base module and would need to be destroyed (see further down for definition) before the base module could be attacked. We’re also considering a healing module that would have the ability to emit a signal to the allied figurines sufficiently close to be healed. We don’t know what kind of signals we’ll use for this yet. The healing could be done module by module or on the whole figurine. (more on that later).

– secondary attack modules: for instance a module for 360° attacks probably using the same kind of signals as for healing, a module for close quarter combat, etc. Of course we won’t be building dozens of modules, but there could potentially be many added modules on top of the base.

– the life of our figurine can be handled in one of two ways: the whole figurine has a global number of HP and once this number is at 0, the figurine is considered to be destroyed, and becomes inactive. Or each module has a certain number of HP and every time a module’s HP reaches 0 (module destroyed), the figurine loses the associated ability (module rendered inactive). The destruction of the base module would then mean the destruction of the figurine. Of course this would mean that each module has to have a set of sensors to detect attacks (at least basic laser shots, at most all possible attacks). Two questions remain: must all secondary modules be destroyed before being able to damage and destroy the base one? If the figurine has only the base module left, does it have a way to defend itself or can it just flee before it gets destroyed, or healed?

– the control of the figurine via smartphone can also be handled in one of two ways, we haven’t decided yet: the first idea is to mount a camera on the “head” (basic firing module), precisely aligned with the cannon, so that the user can see where its cannon is pointing and have gun sights on his screen. Another idea is to use a Lidar to analyze the figurine’s environment and dynamically generate a corresponding background on the smartphone. This way we could imagine all kinds of object on the battlefield that could play different roles in the game. We don’t know how feasible (cost and complexity) this is and would love some input.

– each figurine’s attributes (level, HP, abilities, etc.) will be stored in the figurine itself or on the smartphone + server, or both. If they are in the figurines themselves, it could allow special attacks to temporarily control or capture an enemy figurine which could be fun.

Feel free to add new ideas or ideas I forgot in the comments!

Basically now we have to figure out if all this is feasible as a ROSE project, especially the mechanical/robotic part which isn’t really the point of ROSE so can’t take too much time or cost too much money! So we’d love some input/advice! What do you think?

Sorry for the long post, here’s a potato:


PS: I’m also in the process of installing ArchLinux and I worked on the BLE tutorial!

9 comments to Details on the “Figurines” project

  • Shaac

    Your figurine project made me think of
    It it different in lots of aspects from your idea, for example only the base of the figurine is of real use, but I figured it might give you some inspiration.

  • allegrem

    You should get in touch with Quentin (ROSE 2013). He’s working on a very similar idea 😉

  • BigFatFlo

    Ok thanks! Will do!

  • Loki

    This project sounds very fun!
    There is a lot of ideas but I think some of them will be very challenging:
    – If you put a camera on a module, how will you stream it on the phone? Doesn’t the projects need to use BLE for the communication between the device and the phone? There’s no way to stream video over BLE, event over bluetooth classic.
    But you can find another way maybe.
    – Lidar sounds very cool but it’s very expensive for a rose project and are big.
    – Laser to shoot at opponent : wouldn’t it be too hard to aim ?

    For 360° area effects you can try IR or Ultrasounds with a limited sensibility on the emitter/receiver.

    As allegrem said, ask Quentin about IRDA ;).

  • FX

    I like the idea!
    To reduce the need for a lot of different HW parts, the additional ‘secondary’ modules can only be software. The base module would provide the 360° broadcast signal capability in hardware that could then be used once secondary modules are ‘purchased’ and loaded in the software.

  • BigFatFlo

    Thanks for the input guys, really appreciate it!

    @Loki: I think Lidar will be too expensive but we’re going to look at what’s available just in case!
    For the video streaming I figured bluetooth wouldn’t be fast enough… Even bluetooth High Speed? If not, WiFi maybe?
    For the laser shots it will depend on the size of the target and the size of the laser beam. When I say laser, it could also be a high luminosity diode for instance.

    @FX: We thought about the secondary modules being only esthetic on the figurine and the abilities being only added in software, but if we do it like this, the main part of the project will be software and maybe there wouldn’t be enough of an embedded system aspect to the project.

    Alexis? What do you think?

  • Loki

    Forget about about video over bluetooth. It can work over wifi even directly to the phone or via a server (but latency can be bad).
    Be careful of the hardware required to process the amount of data needed though.

    +1 for a directive diode for the lazer.

    The secondary modules can be very simplistic: like a NFC or rfid tag, or more complex with basic interactions (sounds/light sensor/emmiter).

  • BigFatFlo

    Yeah I think Wifi directly between the phone and the figurine is the way to go. We’ll have to watch out for battery consumption though!

  • Alyx

    This game with moving figurines makes me think of some existing(sort of) games:
    1) roborally : table game, where you program your robot and race with them. The robots have laser in front.
    2) Jumanji : you would need dice with ble connection
    3) Chess games with real figurines(ex:starwars ep4, harry potter ep 1)