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technical details

the hardware
what makes a choosatron
prototypes and parts

the software
authoring a story
playing a story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


what makes a choosatron
The Choosatron is an arcade machine at it’s core. This means we need the following: monetary input, user input, the ability to parse interactive fiction, and user feedback. There are many permutations of hardware that could achieve this, so a list of design goals was made that I found compelling: no screens,


prototypes and parts
I am not including shipping or incidental part costs. This is just to give a general idea of the cost breakdown per design.

choosatron one: argyle – total cost $139.23

choosatron two: bomber – total cost $97.35

 

 

 


authoring a story
In order to get off the ground as quickly as possible, the open-source software Twine was used for authoring the stories to run on the Choosatron. Custom Python scripts were written to parse the TiddlyWiki formatted output Twine provides in order to build the file structure that the Choosatron can consume.


playing a story
It was tempting at the start to have the hardware be ‘dumb’, and simply make requests to a service that handled all the logic, but I disliked the dependency and desired the challenge of packing the necessary logic into a couple kilobytes of memory. I chose the Arduino Uno micro-controller as a starting point because of the strong community and easy to use Arduino IDE for writing the software. The ATMega328 that runs the Arduino is also very cheap and easy to burn software onto. This allows for smaller, cheaper hardware once the software running the Choosatron is complete.

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