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🍫🎮 LootBox - An Arcade that Serves Snacks

Posted on:January 14, 2022 at 04:35 PM


Note: this post was partly translated from Hebrew to English by GPT-3 + some manual fixes

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An Arcade that Serves Snacks

As luck would have it, an idea came up to build and set up an arcade connected to a snack vending machine in the middle of the desert, at an event called MidBurn. The vision was simple - take two solved problems and create an even bigger problem, maybe we’ll find a solution ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

We set off, Nati and I decided on a budget, made a gent request and went off to the closest online store that would take our money and got a refrigerator delivered to our doorstep.

The Design

We took out all the glass shelves and placed coiles driven by DC motors to drive the snacks down to the players. We placed a computer in the back, connected it to a Monitor and and game controllers and we were “ready to go” (This process took place over several months to complete).

⌨️ The Code

We developed the games by ourselves in Vanilla JavaScript + HTML5 Canvas (Never doing that agaig), without any intent to make this code maintainable, we just needed for it to work once, for better or worse 🍝 here’s what came out of it here. It’s not the code we wanted it to be, but it’s the code we deserve. Nonetheless, it worked in “Production”, so why not have fun 🎉🎉🎉.

Integration with the Vending Machine

In addition to the games themselves, there was a small Arduino, which was responsible for managing the engines. The code for it is also in the same repository. The protocol was very bare-bones, the computer sent which engine and for how long to activate. The communication with the Arduino was done serial over via USB.

This is the ‘protocol’:

| Motor Indices | Duration (milliseconds) | '\n' |

The Event

(GitHub Copilot wrote this part, i thought it was funny, and not at all accurate)

We set it up at the event, and it worked like a charm. We had a lot of fun and the players had a lot of fun too.

(This is what actually happened)

We set it up at the event, and it mostly worked. Some of the participants vandalized the machine, and we had to fix it on the spot. Apart from that, it was a lot of fun and the players had a lot of fun too.