DIY World Of Warcraft Meat Pies


If the imminent release of World of Warcraft’s fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, has whetted your appetite for gaming, then why not satisfy your hunger with these beautiful World of Warcraft meat pies?

Jenn Fujikawa generously shared the recipe for these delicacies over on Nerdist, featuring a savory meat filling stuffed into a pastry adorned with a Warcraft Horde symbol. You can buy the cookie cutter that she used from Etsy seller StarCookie, or just go ahead and cut out whatever symbol you choose for yourself or the inevitably soon-to-be hungry gamer in your life!

[via that’s nerdalicious!]

3D Printing Around The Home: The Game Room

For more on 3D printing, check out Make: Volume 42.  Don't have this issue? Get it in the Maker Shed.

For more on 3D printing, check out Make: Volume 42.
Don’t have this issue? Get it in the Maker Shed.

Our annual guide to 3D Printing just came out! To celebrate, we’re going to spend a week focusing on 3D printing in the home. Each day we’ll focus on a different area such as the kitchen, bathroom, or workshop.

Today, we’d like to give you a long list of items that you could print to improve your game room. From table top gaming to watching a movie, there’s probably something you could print to make life easier or your game better!


Board Gaming


3D printing is really becoming quite a storm in the table top gaming communities. Not only are people printing bits and pieces for already existing games, there are complete board game sets that are 3D printable.


Video Gaming

From controller accessories to storage, video games haven’t been left out of the 3D printing fun.



When you’re sitting around watching a movie or your favorite show, you may find yourself thinking of even more ways that a 3D printer could make the experience better.


Catch up with us on Monday when we resume with another area of the house!

A game controller that’s mondo customizable with Lego and Android

Strange Meadowlark’s Lego/Arduino Game Controller: because one size does not fit all.

Strange Meadowlark’s Lego/Arduino Game Controller: because one size does not fit all.

Everybody has their own personal preferences when it comes to gaming controllers. Some prefer certain button layouts while others prefer different contours, and some shun them all together in favor of a mouse and keyboard. Suffice it to say, trying to find the ‘perfect’ controller can be a pain, unless you have the skills to build your own like maker ‘Strange Meadowlark’. His “Lego/Arduino Game Controller” name pretty much describes exactly what went into the design.

lego controller 2

It uses Lego boat hulls for the grips and smooth pieces as a foundation for breadboard platform (stuck to the Legos using sticky-tack). He found that the Arduino Uno R3 slides perfectly between 1 X 2 grate-plates, so no special mock-up was needed. For the top buttons, Strange used simple tactile switches and harvested buttons from an old Microsoft mouse. The buttons were connected to the Arduino and breadboard using old floppy drive ribbon cables held in place with more sticky-tack for a neater look.

lego controller 3

Strange used specialized firmware and a short script he wrote to trick the computer into thinking it’s a keyboard and the keys can be mapped as such (i.e. WSAD for movement). It may not look pretty,  but it is one of the more customizable controllers out there. Those who want to create their own can head over to Strange’s project blog. Where all the source code sits… worth a look just for that.

Plus you can attach any of you Lego Mini-fig friends to game with you… that won me over!

RFID Power Ups Transform Go-karting Into Mario Karting

MAKE@SXSW 2014As a long-time player of Mario Kart on Nintendo, I felt a strong sense of nostalgia in front of the SXSW Gaming Expo yesterday. There, Penzoil set up “Mario Kart: Reimagined,” a go-kart racetrack where each driver takes on the role of a Mario Kart character.

And just like the game, power ups along the raceway allow you to get a speed boost (or perhaps even slow you down). That system runs on RFID tags and sensors; each driver gets and RFID wristband and the cars have tags in them as well. Sensors along the track can tell when you’ve run over the power ups and act accordingly. In this version of the game, if you get five power ups, you get a nice speed boost to fly by your opponents.

Mario Kart

The folks from Penzoil were happy to give MAKE a behind-the-scenes look at how it all works and we found that it’s a complex operation. Not only do they need crews to monitor the sensors, gameplay, and karts, but they also have a full television production crew to create a downloadable video of your race, complete with 4-Up POV shots and NASCAR-style camerawork. Check out the video above to see how it all comes together and I’ll see you on Rainbow Road!

Jeri Ellsworth Unveils Augmented Reality CastAR at Maker Faire

Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson formed the company Technical Illusions to launch a new product that brings augmented reality to you via a pair of high-tech glasses. The product, called CastAR, was unveiled at Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend. Unlike systems that try to close you off from the real world while immersing you in the virtual, CastAR allows you to continue to see in front and around you. The real is mixed with the virtual: augmented reality.

The glasses have a camera embedded on the bridge of the nose, with a projector at each of the upper corners. The camera tracks infrared LEDs embedded in the reflective surface of the screen or playing area.

There were long lines of curious and excited visitors waiting to see CastAR for themselves; so long that the Technical Illusions team had to limit the numbers. The experience is hard to describe if you haven’t seen and felt it for yourself.

A Maker Faire visitor tries our CastAR for the first time.

A Maker Faire visitor tries out CastAR for the first time.

Inside a white tent with dimmed lighting, visitors experienced different aspects of the prototype technology at four different stations.

You can take a virtual fly through over an animated landscape, controlling your unfettered flight with natural movements of your head. Or you can use a magic wand to knock colored blocks around and watch them bounce and fall with simulated gravity and inertia. Another station lets you watch a battle play out between two animated opponents selected based on which playing cards were placed on the table. The final experience was a very simple zombie survival/slaying game. The zombie game demonstrated how two players could work together, each seeing from their own perspective.

The experience was completely natural; I almost didn’t notice how smoothly the projected image was mingled with real life. It was clear that you were experiencing a prototype, and that these games were intended to demonstrate the basic hardware and software concepts. A Technical Illusions employee told me that finished games would be coming soon.

We can’t wait to see what comes next.

“If You Come, We Will Build It” – Crowdsourcing Hardware Ideas


Ouya is a new kind of game console for the television. It is open and allows any creator to develop games.  It costs $99. All the games are free to try. Hackers can dismantle the device by loosening 4 small screws — without voiding the warranty.

It may have crossed your radar last summer when it blew the lid off its Kickstarter campaign, raising $8.6 million, eight times its original $950k goal.

But what you may not know is what an “exciting, crazy, upside-down education” process this has been for the small (around 25 employees) Los Angeles-based company that is on track for its June retail launch.

Tim DaRosa, Ouya’s marketing guy, is going to tell the whole backstory at the upcoming Hardware Innovation Workshop. He’s on the Tuesday afternoon start-up panel (with David Merrill, co-founder and president of Sifteo, Alice Taylor, founder of MakieLab, Lisa Qiu Fetterman, co-founder of Nomiku, and Jay Silver, founder of MaKey MaKey).

photo of tim darosa

Tim DaRosa, Ouya’s marketing guy.

There’s still plenty of time to buy tickets to catch DaRosa and the rest of the Workshop, but for those who can’t make it, DaRosa gave a preview of his remarks to MAKE.

Lesson #1: Although DaRosa and his colleagues “have a ton of experience in the game industry” — they have shipped literally hundreds of games — “building and shipping hardware is a different beast.”

To make things more difficult, Ouya developed its product in the public eye, constantly soliciting and seeking developer and gamer feedback.

Most hardware companies, such as Apple and Amazon, don’t breathe a word about a new product until the final production process is either over or very nearly complete, and the game plan is rock solid.

Not Ouya.

Like many crowdsourcing success stories, the idea of Ouya was launched first. The promise: “if you come, we will build it.” The really hard work started after the public validated the vision of Ouya.

To make matters even more challenging, Ouya wanted the console’s features to be strongly influenced by the gamers and game developers who inspired the console. Which meant that Ouya’s details didn’t become solidified until the team gathered feedback and suggestions from backers, partners, and the media. Tweaks and improvements such as adding an Ethernet port, renaming of the buttons, and changing the cross-style control pad were all products of this process.

“And it all had to be managed while still maintaining focus on our promise to deliver units to early backers on time,” DaRosa adds.

Finally, the team had to establish relationships with manufacturing partners who could not only deliver on quality and on time but would treat them as “big boys” allowing Ouya to establish itself as “the fourth console.”

“Yves Behar and the Fuseproject were valuable partners from the beginning, working with us and our original design manufacturers,” DaRosa says.

The team at Ouya delivered their developer consoles, and first Kickstarter units, on time. Now they are focused on their June retail launch with the major U.S. and U.K. game retailers.

DaRosa’s attitude: “Game on.”

Plush Game Controller Looks Great on the Couch

Becky over at Adafruit is taking the wraps off an all new project, a capacitive touch sensitive plush USB game controller. At the core of the project is the Adafruit Flora, which is connected to eight pads of conductive fabric. The Flora uses Modern Device’s Capacitive Sensing library to read whether or not you’re touching the buttons and passes the appropriate keystroke along to your computer via USB. Best of all, when you’re not using it, you can unplug it and throw it on your couch or bed. And of course the sewing pattern, code, and step-by-step instructions are available over at Adafruit’s Learning System.

Gesture Tracking without a Kinect


MAKE_Conference_Badge_GDC We’re all familiar with wildly waving your arms in front of a Kinect to control an on-screen avatar, but the special hardware required ultimately limits the reach of this technology. But webcams are now built into nearly every laptop and mobile device on the market. What if you could wave your arms in front of your iPad to play your favorite motion control games?

Enter Extreme Motion. Using any 2D camera and some fancy computer vision algorithms, this app can track your body and limb positions in three dimensions and recognize pre-defined poses. Just calibrate the system with the standard “field goal” pose and from there it can tell when your body moves, rotates, and gets closer or farther away. Another benefit of this technology over infrared is it can be used outside where infrared cameras get drowned out in sunlight. So if you’ve ever wanted to play a motion control game in your backyard, let the mysterious flailing begin (as if your neighbors didn’t think you were strange enough already).

Extreme Motion

This software allows developers to create motion gaming for Windows laptops as well as iOS devices and supports Unity 3D integration.

Extreme Motion is still in development, but you can apply for early access to their SDK here.

Flying Drones with Jedi Mind Tricks

Flying a brain-controlled drone. More zen than you think.

Flying a brain-controlled drone. More Zen than you might think.

MAKE_Conference_Badge_GDCSince last we saw NeuroSky’s mind-reading game controller (at last year’s GDC), developers have been hard at work finding fun and interesting ways to use the device. I got a chance to try a few of them out and to move things with my mind.

First up was an Unreal mod called Throw Trucks with Your Mind. (You can likely guess what the deal is here.) The NeuroSky headset tracks your levels of focus and relaxation, which depending on the power you’ve selected, will push or pull objects with the force of your concentration or levitate them with your degree of relaxation. The interesting part comes when you hook two players into the game. With both players focused on either side of a truck, the player concentrating the hardest flings the vehicle and crushes their opponent. A true battle of wills.

A convention goer uses the NeuroSky headset to concentrate on throwing trucks

A convention goer uses the NeuroSky headset to concentrate on throwing trucks

If launching virtual vehicles at people isn’t cool enough for you, Puzzlebox has developed a more physical manifestation of your mental might with their spherical helicopter Orbit. Through the power of concentration, the user can send the little drone into the air (or into a crowd of innocent bystanders as there isn’t any form of directional control).

As I learned in the short time I played with the Orbit (and throughout my years of formal education), trying really hard to concentrate is not effective at increasing your concentration levels. When I focused on listening to someone talk or reading a paragraph of text, however, the little guy jumped out of my hand. But then, the excitement of seeing it fly stole that concentration, sending it crashing to the ground. I’m sure with a little more practice I’ll be able to levitate it like a swamp-lodged X-Wing.

The Puzzlebox Orbit project is open source. They have an Instructable that shows you how to create and mind-control your own flyer. They launched a successful Kickstarter campaign the end of last year and from that has come this commercial product, which you can buy here.

MAKE at the Game Developers Conference


MAKE_Conference_Badge_GDCI’m here at Game Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this week and will be bringing you the inside scoop on the latest game tech and toys through the eyes of a maker. I’ll be on the lookout for game tech you can hack and mod for your next project. What games are entering the education space or appealing to the DIY audience? What are the next big trends in physical gaming and gestural interfaces? What technologies are blurring the boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds?

I’ll be following up with NeuroSky, the simple but effective mind-reading game controller I covered last year, and trying out the Unreal-based game Throw Trucks with your Mind.

I’ll also be talking to the developers of Sandboxr, a new app for easily posing and 3D-printing game characters. They’re looking to introduce the creative potential of 3D printing to kids and gamers.

I’ll also be looking out for any emerging VR technologies, like Oculus Rift, gestural interface controllers, like the promising Leap Motion, and the inevitable Kinect hacks that will be populating the Expo floor starting tomorrow.

If you hear about anything at GDC that you’d like for me to track down and report on, just leave a message in the comments.