Building Fonzie, FAZA’s Robotic Mascot

FAZA now has a mascot! It’s an autonomous animatronic robot dressed up to look like one of the extraterrestrial aliens from the game. She comes with us to board game conventions and interacts with people.

Here’s a quick montage from creation to convention:

Fonzie was built with:

  • An Arduino Uno to control the servos and read the potentiometers from the gearboxes.
  • A Raspberry Pi 2 B to take webcam images and process them in realtime to detect motion and translate the motion it sees to servo locations and eye movements.
  • OpenCV and Python on the Raspberry Pi to process the images and translate them into servo movements.
  • A Raspberry Pi Touchscreen to display her three eyes, which also blink!
  • A webcam to see what’s in front of her.
  • 2 speakers located in her head, so she will say things like “exterminate!” and “resistance is futile” and occasionally sing daisy bell. She is voiced by my wife and comes with 50 cheeky sound bites.
  • 6 Continuous Rotation Servos to power the shoulders and neck.
  • 6 Servo Gearboxes geared at 5:1 to amplify the torque from each of the continuous rotation servos. These gearboxes also unload all shear and loading forces onto the gearbox so the servo won’t experience these forces.
  • Aluminum Frame to provide a skeletal structure to the robot.
  • Chicken wire mesh wrapped around the aluminum frame to give the body and appendages volume.
  • Orange fabric hand sown to make a costume for the robot.
  • Quilt batting between the chicken wire mesh and the orange fabric to give it a soft look under the skin.
  • A homemade 3s 12p Lithium Ion Battery providing 126 Amp Hours at voltages ranging from 10V to 12.6V. This battery also includes a 3s battery management system that keeps the Li-ion batteries safe while charging and discharging. The battery was sized to allow Fonzie to operate for a 4 day convention (about 8-10 hours a day) without having to be recharged. I used a battery kit from Vruzend, since it didn’t require any spot welding.
  • Lots of wires, solder, thread, and love ūüôā

To help with traveling and transport, she comes apart at the hips. So the lower and upper body can be split to easily store her in my apartment and transport her to board game conventions.

FAZA at PAX East

I’m blown away by how many people attend PAX East, it was at least 4 to 5 times the size of PAX Unplugged.

The majority of my time was spent in the tabletop area running demos of FAZA and met up with the wonderful folks from Unpub. They had extra table space to spare, so we set up in the Unpub ProtoAlley, an area dedicated to board games that are still in development. The ProtoAlley allows convention attendees to test out games that are coming to market and give feedback to the game designers.

I’ve condensed the three day convention experience down to a two minute montage of running demos, exploring the convention hall, and meeting tons of new people.

Now if you want to save the world from the FAZA, be sure to¬†join the waitlist, so when the kickstarter goes live, you too can save the world! ūüėČ

FAZA at Unpub8

We’ve been to several Unpub Mini’s, but Unpub8¬†was our first large Unpub.¬†If you don’t already know, Unpub is a non-profit that¬†brings together¬†game designers¬†and avid board gamers.¬†The gamers playtest the designer’s games and give valued feedback to help the designers improve their games.

We decided to go as a vendor so we could hand out promotional materials, put up banners, and inform people of our upcoming kickstarter campaign. Our booth was right outside the main gaming area and my brother and I ran demo after demo. Met lots of excited and tired gamers looking to save the their city from the extraterrestrial FAZA. Check out this video montage of the entire weekend.

Now if you want to save the world from the FAZA, be sure to join the waitlist, so when the kickstarter goes live, you too can save the world! ūüėČ

Upcoming Conventions and Events

We’re going to be at a few board game conventions and local events over the next few weeks. If you’re in the area, come by, say hello, and get a free button!

March 23, 24 and 25: we’ll be at Unpub 8¬†in Baltimore.

March 31st: we’ll be South Jersey Geek Fest.

April 6, 7, and 8: we’ll be at PAX East in Boston.

April 18:¬†we’ll be at RedCap’s Corner for International Tabletop Day.

FAZA Button

This is the¬†big box o’ buttons we just got in the mail. ūüôā

FAZA at PAX Unplugged

I’m so glad PAX picked Philly as its city to host PAX Unplugged; the geographic convenience made this my first convention to attend as a game designer.

Exhibiting FAZA over three days, meeting¬†tons of new people and¬†demo’ing¬†was exhilarating and exhausting.¬†The intensity of the entire¬†event has been condensed into a minute and a half in the following video.

After checking out the video (or even before you watch it), please join the waitlist¬†so I can¬†let you know¬†when¬†FAZA’s Kickstarter goes live!