Today’s RPGs feature a wide array of scenarios, choices, and incredible graphics. On the other hand, when it comes down to it, these games are about exploring and defeating enemies. TWANG! — inspired by the Line Wobbler game from Robin Baumgarten — takes this concept to an extreme level of simplicity as a dungeon crawler played in 1D.
The playfield is a line up to 1,000 LEDs, which indicate the position of enemies, lava, water, and even a boss monster. You control your player — an LED dot — through the “maze” of LEDs with an accelerometer, cleverly mounted to a door stop spring as a sort of joystick. This allows one to travel forwards, backwards, and “twang” the spring to induce vibration and attack your enemies.
The device is powered by an Arduino Mega, and sits inside a nicely 3D-printed housing, along with a speaker, breadboard, and three LEDs to indicate how many lives you have for the level. An APA102-C LED strip is used for display.
While the code is capable of 1,000 player/enemy positions, so far it’s been tested with 188 and 720 LEDs. While you may be skeptical of how interesting a 1D game is, check out the video below to see it in action. The array of colors, including a disintegration effect when your player looses, may make you want to implement your own version!