Dr. Botcher’s Minute Medical School
Space Squad in Space
Space Squad in Space is one of the most popular attractions at Two Bit Circus. In it, you and five friends step aboard the bridge of the Space Squad Infallible. Never piloted a starship before? Don’t fret, the Infallible will get you most of the way there.
As a kid, I watched years of Star Trek. A huge fraction of my childhood imagination was spent on the bridge of the starship Enterprise. With Space Squad, I wanted to make that dream real.
The bridge consoles of the Infallible were inspired by those of the Enterprise, and we designed the gameplay to evoke the same teamwork among my heroes on Star Trek.
Space Squad in Space was first developed back in 2016, and had a short run at Dave and Busters in San Jose. For that deployment, I helped design the cabinets, did much of the CAD and CNC operations along with the team at Two Bit Circus. I also designed the initial gameplay, wrote all the software and concurrently developed the Kyogen framework that drives the show control.
Since that time, the show was completely revamped by the talented team at Coin Crew (Wyatt Bushnell and Mike Salyh).
Under the hood
Originally, each console was driven by a Raspberry Pi, and most of the front-end software was written in OpenFrameworks. The Raspberry Pis were actually net-booted from the main server, which ensured that their software was up-to-date at all times.
This was no small task. To accomplish this, I developed a Vagrant/ansible based cross-compiler and net-booting image for OpenFrameworks on the Raspberry Pi.
I had not yet discovered the ease of Unity3d for tasks like this. Nowadays Unity3d drives bridge consoles from Intel NUCs. PLCs connect physical buttons and encoders to the game network, and the main server is running inside Docker containers.