By Russell Barnes. Posted

Join the unfortunate trainee crew on the Starship Guppy, as things begin to go badly wrong, and chaotic fun ensues

What other fast-paced, Pi-based console game lets you shout “Set multitronic filter to magenta alert!” to the general puzzlement of passers-by? York Hackspace have been drawing a lot of attention at maker events over the past year or so, fulfilling their aim of creating something memorable for visitors to their stand.

The full article can be found in The MagPi 38 and was written by Richard Smedley

It was Bob Stone who suggested a physical version of Henry Smith’s Spaceteam, a ‘cooperative shouting game for phones and tablets’, but given the definitive Hackspace twist with its retro-futuristic spaceship looks, and homebrew hardware and software, “it would sort of advertise itself within the room, as yelling nonsense with a sense of urgency and panic tends to draw attention in crowds.”

 Families are naturally drawn to what’s best described as ‘a game of collaborative shouting’

Disaster simulator

“Welcome aboard the USS Guppy, recently refurbished to the very highest standards of modern space-worthiness by some new lowest-bidding contractors we found on the net. We’re proud that this venerable old boat, a veteran of many a heroic space battle, has once again been declared officially ‘Good enough for Government work.’ ”

The hints are all there before you start your “routine pass out by an asteroid belt orbiting an unstable Red Giant star near the edge of the Forbidden Zone, to investigate some unusual radiation signatures.”

SpaceHack’s control panels have been reconfigured, and as things begin to go wrong on the space mission, emergency instructions issued by the ship’s computer – showing on the console’s LCD – don’t seem to apply to that console’s switches, dials, and buttons. The only way to avert disaster is to shout out the instructions so that fellow space cadets at one of the other three consoles can search for the right switch to flip, dial to turn, or button to push.

 SpaceHack’s retro-futuristic look seemed a natural fit in the MakeFest setting

In a Jam

How long can disaster be staved off? There’s no shortage of volunteers to find out, whenever the York team brings SpaceHack to an event. If you follow the maker events online, you’ll have seen the favourable comments. Spotting a couple of familiar faces playing SpaceHack at the MOSI MakeFest, we asked them what they’d thought of the experience.

“I thought playing it was great fun and highly engaging. The intentionally confusing instructions add to the madcap antics and to me were reminiscent of TV’s The Generation Game challenges, where contestants struggled with seemingly simple activities,” Raspberry Jam’s Alan O’Donohoe told us. Claire Garside invited the York team to Leeds Raspberry Jam, and was enthusiastic about SpaceHack’s ability to excite people about STEM in a fun way: “Whether taking the challenge myself, or observing the wide range of contestants it entices, SpaceHack always initiates an enthusiasm and excitement for everyone through gaming with Pi. And I do mean everyone!”

If you’d like the chance to shout “Plug in the centrifugal F-screen!”, then you should take a look at the full details and code for the build and have a go at building your own. “Increase the omnicrontensor shell! Set multitronic filter to magenta alert!”