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Monster Chess

So there's been something in the works for Brickworld for some time now, and I thought I'd share it here (because, (a) I really want to, and (b) not everybody can make it to Brickworld, where it will be displayed). Steve Hassenplug has been working with a large group of folks to make a rather... big... robotic game. Tic-Tac-Toe & Connect-Four were impressive, but in the interest of something off the supersize menu, I give you...

Monster Chess

The idea is simple - a chess game where you can play against the computer. But the implementation here is what's truely monster about it. Each piece is its own autonomous robot, and there are actually a couple of 'spares' (as well as NXTs built into the King & Queen), so that ends up with 38 separate NXTs that must be controlled, commanded, and communicated with. Ron McRae did the bulk of the software work on the PC end for this, and it realy works well. The board has squares based on the large LEGO baseplates, making the entire assembly roughly 12' on a side. On top of that is a way to input the humans moves, and a laptop running chess software and helping make everything move smoothly. Even the pieces can be changed out if one starts having battery issues, and they can be easily modified with different "bodies" so the robot "bases" underneath are really interchangable (the "body" designs were done primarily by John Brost, who managed to make some truely iconic designs out of a minimum of parts). Really, I could talk about it a lot... but a descent video beats my ramblings hands-down:

If you can make it to Brickworld, stop be and enjoy it... and if you can't make it to Brickworld, browse Steve's Monster Chess webpage and take a look at the videos there and the descriptions. With more than 100,000 pieces and 32+ NXTs, it's probably not commercially viable... but it is awesome to watch.

Brian Davis

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