The Winds of Venus: A Force Feedback Radio Box Controller

The Winds of Venus is a Zeppelin flying game with its own custom force-feedback controller crafted from an old Radio Box. It uses an arduino, servos, LEDs and potentiometers connected via Bluetooth to an Android Tablet running the game, all enclosed inside a beautiful wooden box.


It’s 1927 in an alternate universe. Thomas Tigerstedt, Findland’s master inventor, has sent a manned Space Dirigible into humanity’s first expedition to Venus… Or so he thought! You’re the pilot and only crew member of Tigersted’s ship, the ‘Winds of Venus’. Prepare to avoid tornadoes, surf the planet’s extreme heat currents and avoid Venusian abominations!


This crazy game began when we paid extra to get in a booth sale before anyone else. The first item we laid our eyes onto was a fully functional alarm clock shaped after an old plane radio. It was screaming to be taken apart and rebuilt as means to control an impossible space ship in impossible circumstances. So we bought it (for only for £10!), took some things out, put in some stuff, and made this game about navigating Venus in a technologically underwhelmed space blimp!


The game is a planetary exploration game where the player navigates a small Zeppelin through the strong storms of Venus. Wind visualisation helps the pilot navigate the flow to find harvesters and hopefully finally escape this sulphuric hell! The Zeppelin has steampunk-esque valves and levers that reflect the antique-looking radio and its control dials. The player is multitasking to keep the Zeppelin afloat and hold it stationary near harvesters to collect their cargo. If they collect enough, they might be allowed to leave…


The game controller is a repurposed portable radio box. It has been fitted with these cool features: - Motorized central dial - Force feedback leg that shakes the entire box - Underbody lighting - 2 switches, 2 3-way switches, a pushbutton and 3 knobs all connected via Bluetooth and an Arduino (Teensy) to Unity - Nexus 7 fitted to the lid to make the entire box self-contained (minus power, we didn't have time to fit battery packs)


Robin Baumgarten (Hardware, Programming, Concept) @Robin_B

Petri Autio (Models, Audio, Story, Concept) @Archbang85

Carles Salas (Story, Video) @Queledonio

Douglas Pennant (Music) @Ludiotic



Behind the Scenes:


Playable web version (using keyboard controls: Arrow keys to move, W+S to control buoyancy)

ALT CTRL Game Jam page

Rock Paper Shotgun article

Selected for the ALT.CTRL.GDC 2015 exhibit!

Follow me for my newest experiments: