Here at the Function Foundry, we like to have a good time. In fact, we love having fun so much that we made it part of our job! As an all in one design, engineering, and fabrication firm, we get involved in a wide range of industries, but our favorite avenue of creativity has to be creating custom games and entertainment experiences. Fortunately for us over the last few years we’ve had the pleasure of working with Sam Largent, owner of Flatstick Pub and inventor of several completely original games that we’ve helped bring into existence. Sam’s chain of tap houses that operate across Washington and California serve an expertly curated selection of local craft beers and ciders, while offering entertainment in the form of one-of-a-kind mini-golf courses and golf-themed original games.
A sports lover and creative mastermind, Sam is always looking for ways to improve existing games to make something completely new. His other inventions Duffleboard and Ball Jockey, each came from putting Flatstick twist on an old classic. For ‘Stick Putt, we were tasked with finding a way to create a new game that combined the skill of putting with the excitement of an old arcade favorite: Skee-ball.
What we built was an enormous stand-alone game measuring 4 feet wide, 20 feet long, and nine feet tall that combines live-action putting with video game elements, animations, electronic score keeping, multiplayer options and digital leaderboards.
Players stand at one end of the putting green and use a three button controller to make selections, such as number of players or style of play, on the game’s video monitor. Then using a golf putter, players attempt to putt their golf balls into holes that are worth certain point values. Similar to Skee-Ball, the higher value holes are more difficult to make. Automatic ball return allows play to be continuous.
Sensors throughout the game can detect if a ball landed in a certain hole, or if it missed a target hole. Automatic score keeping, as well as animations, leaderboards and the entire user interface are run on an Arduino pc and displayed on a high definition monitor that is built into the game.
The build out of ‘Stick Putt was a great exercise in patience and finding creative solutions to unforeseen challenges. We’ve figured out ways to troubleshoot just about every bug possible while working through all the challenges that come from building a new interactive experience from scratch. The physical build, electrical hardware, coding, visual and audio effects all came together in the end for an exciting one of a kind gaming experience.
Want to play ‘Stick Putt? Visit Flatstick Pub’s Seattle locations in South Lake Union or Pioneer Square. Let us know what you think!
Visit FlatstickPub.com to find out more about ‘Stick Putt including information on leagues and upcoming tournaments.