Intro: Playable BMO Costume
What time is it?
You got it,
My favorite character from Adventure time is BMO. I wanted to be him for Halloween, but not just any box with paint on it, i wanted people to be able to play games on it too.
after a little research i found a few "gameboy" style costumes that were functional utilizing a laptop, and emulator software.
i did not have a laptop to dismantle, and i wanted as big a screen as i could get. so here i compiled most of the basic working of my creation.
the main reason of this project was a Proof-of-concept, to show it was possible to do.
this is a Low-Budget project. because the less i spend the more i have for other projects.
Step 1: How It Works:
The biggest hurtle of this project obviously is getting the screen as big as possible, while making the cabinet functional to wear. Which means you don't have much real estate inside of the case, after your body is inside, for the bits to make it work.
So i got to thinking, Whats the best way to get a giant screen?
Using a projector would allow a small package of electrics and the firepower of a large 20''x16'' screen.
A traditional projector shoots the image from behind the viewer to a screen in front. i couldn't really setup a projector and stand in front of it the whole time to let people use it, so i had to build it into the costume.
We're talking rear-projection here, folks, like those old school big screen TVs (RPTV). Which means a special screen, and a way to flip the image so everything goes the right way. some mini projectors have the ability to flip the image to do this out of the box, which is great, but you won't get the size screen you need from 6-8" away from the screen. the way a RPTV does this is by not only using a mirror to flip the image, but also to add distance diagonally to allow the screen to get wider. the farther the image has to travel, the larger the image will be when it hits your screen, Dig?
Step 2: Stuff You Need:
The bits your gonna need to invest in are as follows:
A small Projector, Battery operated
-- Mine is a Jak's Pacific brand, Eyeclops mini projector i got for x-mas last year. it's capable of a big screen (60" diagonal).
There are alot of other types of small projectors, some are purposed for office use, and are rechargeable, others are marketed toward home entertainment (more for children i've seen) but use whatever you can get your hands on, and withen budget. if you feel its not necessary for just a costume, i used mine camping, at school, on the road. its lots of fun, i can plug anything YWR plug into the side (pic). it uses a battery pack with 6 "D" sized batteries.
A way to play the games on your BMO
-- Mine is a SuperJoyIII its an all-in-one controller that runs on 4 "AAA" batteries. you can use anything with a composit (the YWR plugs) output, even an MP4 player with BMO's face's in a picture slideshow. but i didnt end up going that route. the SuperJoyIII is known as a NOAC, or to a commoner: Nintendo on a Chip, which has a bunch (88) of rip-off 8-Bit Nintendo games built into it. the games look and play authenticly, but there is always somthing odd about each game, either a picture would be slightly different in the boot screen, or the name would be changed or altered. the joystick is just for show, you use the d-pad and two of the yellow buttons for A and B.
A Way to Reflect and Flip the Image
-- Mine is from an Overhead projector that teachers use in class with the clear sheets to draw on. i salvaged it from a trash overhead i found one day dumpster diving. it's about 4.5" by 7"
now you can run to the junk drawer, or to the corner store and use any ol' mirror for this, which usually, is a piece of glass with the mirror coating on the back of it. but the best mirror to use is known as a First Surface mirror. this sort of mirror has the mirror surface on top of the glass, which prevents the image making double reflections of the same image inside the glass, and improves light transfer to the screen. which is the sort i found in the Overhead i dismantled.
-- I've experimented with a lot of different things to use for BMO's screen. High-end rear projection screens are usually a special thin silver color fabric impregnated with glass to capture light and make a nice bright picture. your material needs to be thin enough to let the picture through, and smooth enough to allow the picture to be focused nice and sharply. I have tried thin white sheets, drop cloths for paint, tablecloths both plastic and cloth, but the best I've found is a plain 'ol GARBAGE BAG. yup, you heard me. a white garbage bag works best for this setup on a budget.
-- i used double-thick cardboard for its rigidity. your going to need to either find a box the right size, or use a bunch of big pieces and make the cabinet like i did. your also going to need cardboard for the internal structure, and buttons/ D-pad.
-- i had to hand mix blue white and a touch of green to get the exact shade of BMO teal. the rest of the colors had to be close-enough and aren't as important as the main color, so i used out of the bottle colors for those.
hot glue gun/sticks
pics of BMO to reference for authenticity.
Step 3: Projector Sled
the main part of the projector setup has to hold the projector and mirror in specific positions to allow the optimal screen size and shape.
this part i have affectionately dubbed "the sled"
it holds the projector and mirror a set distance away from each other, and squarely to prevent distortion as much as possible.
the mirror needs to be able to pivot to allow adjustment when you assemble it all together.
to determine how far to place the projector from the mirror, cut a piece of printer paper the same size as your mirror. and tape it to the mirror. this will allow you to get the largest size image on the mirror as possible before the image finds the edge of the mirror. then make a cardboard frame around it.
the tricky part (after making the sled and fixing the pivot-able mirror the set distance away from the projector) is setting the angle of the sled to the screen. this makes the image square on the screen. now on my setup i have the top slightly larger then the bottom to fill the size better. you can make it as true or as out of square as you prefer.
see pics for diagrams of how the image travels off the mirror. it can get really tricky so take it slow, and adjust one thing at a time.
Step 4: Cabinet
the cabinet is not the part your body will be in, but where the image travels to the screen.
the front of the cabinet has the main faceplate on it with all the buttons (made of cardboard)
my cabinet is about 8"deep. deeper will allow a bigger screen but would be more cumbersome to wear.
you can see how much lower then the bottem edge of the screen the sled is. lower will make a larger screen, but you will have to fiddle with the mirror angle and sled angle, the lower you go, to keep it square and playable.
i had to keep it in its position because i couldent fit a larger image size vertically.
Step 5: The Rest
Once you get the electronics working, and all the angles set, you can either stop and play your BMO. or continue to make it look like a real BMO.
i made cardboard buttons out of a few layers and painted them respectively
if i had more time to dedicate to this build i would make the buttons all functional with a couple microswitches and lengths of wire soldered to the NOAC board. but fake buttons look just as good.
i also made the back of the case look as close to a real BMO as possible with vents and battery door
i cut a fresh piece of screen from a bag after assembly of the rear of the costume because it stretched and got all wierd on me.
cut a head hole. and logo the sides with speaker grills.
have people play you,