Maze Game using an 8×8 addressable LED panel

Introducing the Maze Game

(Updated: 3 February 2016)

This is a conceptually simple maze game that requires the player to make a light “ball” follow the path of a maze by tilting the panel in both x and y axis. As play progress, the colour of the ball reflects the number of times the player has come off the path and restarts if too many miss steps have been made. Once the path has been completed, the player advances to the next level with a more complex maze. At this point there are 10 levels with 10 different mazes.

Maze Game: level 3 maze showing hazards (red) and health (green) spots

Maze Game: level 3 maze showing hazards (red) and health (green) spots

There are two buttons on the bottom of the game – RESTART and SAVE. During play, the RESTART button restarts the current level while the SAVE button allows the player to store the current level. Restarting the game will commence from the previously saved level. During the power-up sequence if the SAVE button is pressed the player is able to enable or disable game options which include tones, vibration, hazards, health and inverse tilt. Pressing the RESTART button during this time resets the game play to the simplest level.

Here are some images of the start-up sequence, starting with my moniker, followed by the current game level (in this case Level 0) followed by the level’s maze. In the last image (showing the Level 5 maze), twinkling red hazards can be seen. Should a player’s ball land on any of these hazards, the level is immediately restarted. “Health” spots have also been added to allow the player to zero their error count during play. An interesting twist that shows up in later games is the “inverse tilt” spot. A player who inadvertently lands on this brightly pulsing spot finds the direction of the x and y controls inverted… forward moves the ball backward, tilt left moves the ball right, and so on. Believe me, this is very tough to manage, but a great addition! Luckily, landing on another “tilt” spot again restores game play to normal.

And all this game play is accompanied by various short melodies including snippets from Mario, Game of Thrones, Star Wars and The Death March.

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Maze Game: My moniker

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Maze Game: Starting Level 0

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Maze Game: Level 0 maze

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Maze Game: Maze in play

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Maze Game: Hazards

8x8 addressable LED panel

8×8 addressable LED panel

Around Christmas time several addressable LED panels arrived from China. These panels contain a matrix of 64 addressable LEDs arranged in an 8×8 square on a 0.3″ pitch. They are readily available on eBay for around $15 US and are fun to play with, and to test out the panel, created a maze game. For the proof of concept version, I connected a three-axis accelerometer and the LED panel to an Arduino UNO. Once the code was written and the game running, I repackaged the hardware to make it much smaller. I mounted the accelerometer, an Arduino Nano, a piezo-electric speaker and a couple of switches to a small piggyback board that plugs to the back of an 8×8 addressable LED panel.

Maze Game:

Maze Game: showing panel, illuminated maze and light “ball”

Maze Game

Maze Game at first maze. Notice the change in colour of the maze path where the “ball” has already been

The LED panel is covered with a small plexiglass screen with a piece of coloured paper behind it to diffuse the light. The whole game is about 4″ square and 3/4″ thick. Power is provided using the Nano’s Micro-USB port. A small piezo-electric loudspeaker and cellphone-style vibrator have now been added.

The code is very straightforward and mazes and the various play spots can be added simply. This is an eminently hackable piece of code and a great place for game players to be creative.

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Maze Game: nice and thin

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Maze Game: showing the LED panel and the small circuit board that holds the Nano and accelerometer. A small speaker and vibrator have since been added.

Later down the road, I plan to add a further 5 panels to make a complete cube so that mazes are formed all over the 6 faces and game play moves all around the cube.

 

Simple but quite fun and challenging to play. It even engaged my mother-in-law!

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