Scoot Pooch was my first arcade game, and it was designed from the start to be an arcade game, with the experience designed around the hardware.
Conceived with the original premise of “A game you play with your butt,” Scoot Pooch evolved from a strange hacked-apart rowing machine into a system of trackballs representing a dog’s forepaws, allowing you to pull your dog along the carpet, while foot pedals correspond to the back paws, allowing you to jump.
The objective of the game is effectively a race, where two dogs compete to get from one end of a house to the other in a limited amount of time, destroying furniture, appliances, and decorations along the way.
The use of four trackballs proved problematic, as most hardware interfaces for trackballs attempt to treat them collectively as one mouse cursor. This required setting up a custom driver to override this behavior and treat each trackball as a raw USB device, and read the serial data from each of the four devices, which is a relatively slow process coming from a slow programming language.
On top of that, Microsoft overhauled the 2d graphics drivers starting in Windows 8, which drops the framerate significantly, requiring the physical installation to run on a Windows 7 box.
In addition, there are two Arduinos (technically they’re Teensys) inside the installation. One receives serial data from the game to drive the 10 sets of lights, one delivers serial data to the game from the foot pedals and select buttons.
The game had its first showing at MAGFest 2018, and returned for MAGFest 2019. There are plans to add random level generation and other features as development continues.
Game, Design, Graphics, electronics, etc by Kyle Magocs