Home-built shooting game with Nerf targets and a Raspberry Pi

Ready, Aim, Fire

© Lead Image © Tithi Luadthong, 123rf.com

© Lead Image © Tithi Luadthong, 123rf.com

Article from Issue 242/2021

A cool Nerf gun game for a neighborhood party provides a lesson in Python coding with multiple processors.

Last Halloween, I was asked to put together a Nerf game for a local neighborhood party. Not wanting to do just the same old thing, I got together with a couple of local makers, and we built a set of electronic targets to create a real-life tower defense game! Although COVID put a damper on this year's plans, we still managed to get most of the hardware together to expand the experience for a second round.

The original game had three targets: an Arduino Uno [1] brain, an audio amplifier, and a loudspeaker. Each target was placed inside a wooden structure that we called a "tower" (Figure 1). The object of the game was to shoot at the targets with a gun firing Nerf darts. A confetti canon was also built into the tower to announce when the tower "fell," which means that the target on the tower had sustained a predefined number of hits from the Nerf gun. We built two identical tower sets, one for each end of the field. Each system operated independently. The game monitors were responsible for powering down the system when the other team won.

The larger targets are worth one point each, and the smaller center target is worth three points. Games can be selected to run between 10 and 100 hits. A "traffic light" health gauge on the center tower gave an approximate value of how many hits remained before the game ended (see Figure 1).


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