Ciro Durán A Live Archive

The Marvellous Melchiades 3000

Check out The Marvellous Melchiades 3000 source code on GitHub:

The Marvellous Melchiades 3000 is a two-player improv game. One player asks a question to the machine. The machine will output an answer in the form of an animated GIF and several indicators and lights, so the second player must interpret these signs as an answer to the first player. It was made for the Global Game Jam 2018 at Hacksmiths, Goldsmiths, University of London. The theme of the jam was “Transmission”.

The idea of the game was to run a show at the game jam’s show&tell. We are hiring for operators of The Marvellous Melchiades 3000, a machine that is able to speak to spirits. A person who wants to know their future stands in front of the machine, presses a button and speaks their question loudly. The machine will then display what the spirits have interpreted their question as, and then will say their fate, through the display and through the various dials and lights.

It is up to the operator to read this output and give a convincing interpretation to the customer.

The audience will vote whether the interpreter was convincing or not.

The Marvellous Melchiades 3000 was an approach to making a videogame in which the PC could disappear. The game uses a screen, so it can run in kiosk mode. Building a game like this in a jam means that it only exists during the event, and tearing down the project after it’s finished does affect people around. But that’s the fun and the nature of these events.

Hardware requirements

  • Arduino Mega - Controls lights and servos
  • Raspberry Pi - A script in Python runs, which communicates with the Arduino and outputs to the screen display.
  • Lots of LEDs
  • Two Neopixel strips (3 and 7 long respectively)
  • A servo
  • 4 Force Sensing Resistors
  • A webcam (used as microphone)
  • An ultrasonic distance sensor

API Requirements

The game extensively uses publicly available Internet APIs to work. If you want to run this game you need to get some keys.

  • Google Speech API - Use the free tier of Google Cloud API to access this API. We use voice recognition to convert the question to text.
  • Giphy API - We use the Giphy API to search for an animated GIF from the question text.