Soldering in the desert sucks!

In building a project that goes into extreme conditions there are many challenges. One challenge I wanted to head off was broken wiring. Desert conditions are harsh on electonics, attendees doubly so. Lake Lahontan Point taught me that you trench anything you don’t want to repair daily. The Charcade experience with their Simon project (RIP) taught me that signal lines that you trench won’t work. Specifically, if you bury signal lines next to AC power lines… signals won’t work. So, any signal lines we don’t trench will get broken, and any we trench won’t work correctly.

Yeah, awesome.

So… wireless communications. I’d done some of that with Simon v1, but the XBee solution was short range, expensive, and complex. After research, I went with 915MHz radio boards from HopeRF. $7 parts, and the gang at Low Power Labs make AVR (Arduino) clones with integral radios. Those gave us 100m+ range and enough power to overcome reasonable interference levels. Moreover, it’s an expandable topology… YOUR project can talk to our project.

So, Simon v2 trenches only propane and power, and I hope that means less soldering out in the desert!


Big, badder and with 90% more Fire

It never sounds cool to try and set out to one up yourself. It sounds a little arrogant.

Simon V1 was a project that we built because we knew that we could do it and more importantly that we would likely get passed by the fire marshall at our local art events.

Once we made it, we had the bug and we needed to build something bigger and badder. We honed our skills on V1 so we needed to try some new things. The initial list included:

Acrylic touch buttons

wireless interaction between the console and the towers

more fire balls

4 towers instead of one


Origami metal panels

Better sound

More chip tunes

bigger fire balls

Propane Heater and trough reused from Simon V1


power cables, propane lines

In figuring out what we wanted to do, we also realized that we needed to bring in more help. As part of this build we have brought in several new people: Andrea Pollitt, Shane Iler, Allen Hudson, Chris Galvin and Richie Meyer. Each bring their set of skills to the project. 

Please check back as we will have more updates to come….


Flame on!

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Simon is more fun with fire

Simon Fire Edition is inspired by the golden age of hand-held games. Milton Bradley debuted Simon in 1978 at Studio 54 in New York, and it remains a sweetheart of memory games and an enduring pop-culture reference to the 1980’s. We look to revive this great game in a playa-compliant fashion, offering the core gameplay intact but adding (external) flame, sound and light effects in the form of nearby sculpture. Game play will take place on an original (but deeply repurposed and reengineered) Simon hand-held console, which is synchronized with the sculpture piece (light, sound, flame). What the original game lacks, this project delivers: a win-condition with lighting, sound and flame effect display. Bluntly, we feel that a game of Simon to be passed around with a light, sound and flame effect display is a winning combination.

Your very appreciated and delightful donations can be made below. Thank you!