Over at Adafruit, John Park is working on what looks to eventually be an awesome computer-controlled prop blaster carried by the character Lucio in the video game Overwatch. I always enjoy watching work-in-progress videos and seeing how people who are designing and building a project think their way through the process.

John is eventually going to 3D print a full-size Lucio blaster, but as he works out the details of how he’s going to integrate his control system and lights and sound effects, he 3D prints a smaller reference model and laser-cuts a cardboard prototyping frame upon which he can install the hardware to test everything out.

Knowing that he wants to have multi-colored lighting effects, play background music, and trigger sound effects, he knows he’s going to need an Arduino board of some kind to drive sets of NeoPixels for the lights, a Music Maker MP3 shield to play the background music, and an Audio FX Sound Board to trigger the sound effects.

gaming_lucioschematic_transpThis Part 1 report also includes a great tip that’s worth the price of admission. John writes:

I sometimes like to add a very rough idea of how parts will connect. I tape a sheet of overhead transparency film to the page and use a wet erase marker to create these lines.

While no substitute for a real circuit diagram (which I’ll create in Fritzing as I go) this is helpful for me to think about how the final system will work, which buttons and switches I’ll need, and so on.

A great idea and nice to see the Maker’s Notebook in action!

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Through the video and the accompanying tutorial on Adafruit, you see John working out all of the details of the electronic hardware and the programming. In subsequent parts of the project, he’ll tackle getting this rather gnarly tangle of wires, microcontrollers, and breadboarded electronics into a manageable form that he can install into the finished prop and he’ll design, print, and assemble the final blaster.