I’d heard a lot about IndieCade over the last year, so I made a point to submit the Choosatron in hopes to experience it myself. They actually ended up taking the Choosatron sent for judging to E3 for people to enjoy, and it was later accepted into the festival! I arrived a full day early so I could spend time with a close friend, get settled into my AirBnB, buy a few groceries, and watch animal shows on Netflix. Then began my first day, which was actually IndieXchange, a business oriented meetup before IndieCade began.
I remember meeting Ryan Wiemeyer of The Men Who Wear Many Hats at the Wild Rumpus party at GDC. He had, of course, a hat on, and I, of course, was holding a Choosatron. ABC, Always Be Closing right? He struck me as a reserved individual that didn’t smile a lot. This is not meant as a negative reflection, on the contrary! He had poise, and didn’t waste words, but there was respect. I’m an extrovert so when I meet people who hold themselves with a bit more decorum, I have to calibrate a bit.
The Choosatron was nominated for the WTF! award at A Maze in Berlin. I honestly didn’t think we’d make it over there (Megan, my acting project manager, and myself), but by the grace and generosity of the friends and supporters of the Choosatron we made it happen! THANK YOU ALL, so freakin’ much. Now about the festival!
The Choosatron got into Alt.Ctrl.GDC which as the name suggests consists of hybrid software and hardware projects using alternate control and output schemes. So, kind’of perfect! The exhibit, organized by the amazing John Polson, was the first big event for the Choosatron, and I was slightly terrified. Thankfully my partner Megan has been project managing, and attended with me.
The Librarian’s Apprentice is the first story ever submitted to be played on the Choosatron! Robert Valentine, a writer/director based in London, has done me the great honor of putting his time into such a random project. His excitement over the Choosatron was incredibly inspiring and definitely pushed me along, so thanks Rob! Hope you enjoy the video and disregard my terrible pronunciations. Anyway, without further ado please enjoy a video of my first play of Rob’s story.
I recorded this at 3:30am just after cobbling together the lovely cardboard enclosure for it. With a body, comes a name: Argyle. The first Choosatron prototype!
I’m quite enjoying the part of the process I’m in now with the Choosatron. Getting quality feedback that makes you think, “Yes, of course!” is quite motivating in pushing development forward at a time where it would be easy to lay back and call it complete.
Last week was intense. Finishing a hefty project at work, building a card version of the Nakatomi Plaza for our Die Hard Swede, rehearsals/costuming/props for my show Matlock: The One Man Show which is part of Fringe Orphans at the Minnesota Fringe, and finally finishing a few user facing features for the Choosatron and getting it in an enclosure! Phew!
One frustration I’ve run into with this project is the different power requirements my components have needed to work nicely. 12 volt, 9 volt, 5 volt, plus inconsistent amperage requirements. The thermal printer takes almost no power until you ask it to print, when it spikes to 1.5amps! Most of the other components don’t take too much; probably 300-500ma combined as a rough guess. I determined that I’d need a minimum of 2amps to power everything appropriately. 1.5 reserved for the printer and 500ma for everything else. The coin acceptor was the first annoyance since it wants 12v and the supplies I had were all 9v. I ended up finding many 12v power supplies ranging from 2-3amps that were for external hard drives so perfect! Except, after I get the coin acceptor power how do I get the printer what it needs?
Last night I finished the final feature that would allow full story play support for the file structure I created. Auto-jump, which simply allows you to set a single, unlabeled choice on a passage so it will be printed out and immediately forward to the link provided and continue from there. This is useful when you want to converge two different paths back together with different narrative preambles but common narrative body and the same choices. Is that confusing?