A couple of months ago, as part of my hardware interface development journey, I initiated a personal challenge as a way to encourage myself to learn by using constraints. Over the past couple of months, different paths of research reached out in different directions, ultimately giving me the opportunity to learn a whole lots of seemingly disparate but actually related ideas, some of which I’ve documented on this blog and another, related to using the web serial API.
Set on actually having something I can say “completes” this challenge, I’ve returned to the original constraints, albeit with 1 difference, build an interface using at least: 1 push button, and 1 potentiometer. I write “at least”, because other components might be necessary or useful, but the idea is to primarily see what comes from focusing on those 2 components. I’m removing the Raspberry Pi constraint, and will replace this with the Raspberry Pico. This is a necessity, such that the objective of creating a physical interface, like a game controller, can be possible (without too much effort).
After some design research, it had occurred to me that the project constraints resemble the components that comprise the Paddle game controller. This means one could see this challenge as an opportunity to reimagine this original player interface and try their hand at implementing it on their own using modern technology. This also means once one of these interfaces are created, it could be connected to a computer to control custom games inspired by the classics that the paddle was known for, such as: “Pong, Breakout, and Night Driver.”
I already have a few ideas of how I’m going to complete this challenge, which stands to reason as I’ve had it bouncing around my head for almost too long now. But since in that time I’ve also taken to engaging more with related communities on Reddit, I’m going to share this challenge and see if anyone else builds anything unique. Next week is Christmas, so perhaps the end result might be something people could use as a gift, or something to work on over their holiday if they happen to acquire some electronics and a microcontroller.
I’ll try my best to maintain a rough devlog of my progress, and then follow up with a post or two about whatever the end result is. I’m interested in all aspects of this project: the possible designs for combining these components, discovering other components that might combine nicely, how to effectively integrate the components with the Raspberry Pico, making the Pico tell my computer the components' states, and what I could actually use this for.