The version of eBee exhibited at IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games is comprised of multiple player pieces. It resembles the iteration of our game presented at SIGGRAPH 2015 which also consists of hexagonal pieces and a substrate outlined with a hexagonal grid.
Quilting the Substrate:
The underlying quilt of the eBee game serves as much more than just the board of a board game. It cooperates with the player pieces and helps complete the circuit created by the placement of pieces.
The first step in creating it was cutting the two large pieces of fabric (for the front and back sides), as well as a large piece of batting. The front piece was cut slightly smaller than the back piece and the batting, so that it was about the size the finished quilt should be. These three layers were then placed on top of each other, forming a quilt sandwich. To prevent shifting, temporary fabric adhesive was sprayed between each layer.
Once sandwiched, crease lines were drawn on the quilt with a tracing spatula. Safety pins helped keep the sandwich intact while the triangular grid drawn was quilted with a sewing machine.
The boarder was created using extra pieces of fabric, cut into thin bands slightly longer than the size of each side of the rectangular quilt.
In order for the quilt to help achieve a working circuit and hold the pieces down, strips of conductive Velcro were added. Their positions were sketched in pencil. Six equilateral triangles (placed about one point so that none of them overlap) form one regular hexagon. Each side of the hexagon received one piece of Velcro, placed so that half of the Velcro fit inside the hexagon, while the other half remained outside the boundary. This placement is really important, because it facilitates the transmission of electricity between pieces. We made our pieces of Velcro wide, so that there is a clear outline of each hexagon, where any individual quilted piece could be placed. At the same time, we made sure not to make them too wide, because if any two adjacent pieces of Velcro touch, there is a possibility of short circuiting, which would prevent the illumination of LEDs on the quilted pieces.
Making the individual quilted pieces:
All pieces have:
- 2 different pieces of fabric (for the top and bottom)
- Conductive fabric
- Conductive Velcro
Cut using a laser cutter, slightly larger than the required size, so that the ends can be folded under the quilted pieces.
V shape: 8
Straight Line: 12
Positive Connecting Pieces: 7
Negative Connecting Pieces: 7
These 32 pieces were created by layering the back, batting and front (in order from bottom to top). The front and batting pieces were cut to the size of the finished hexagonal piece, while the bottom piece, once placed under the other two, had an extra three-quarter inch border perimeter. This extra border was then folded over twice to the front and ironed so that it could soon be sewn in place with a sewing machine. When we made this version, we selected different fabric pieces for the fronts of different types of connecting pieces, while still incorporating the same color scheme to distinguish between team colors.
After the sixteen hexagons of each color had their folded-over borders sewn in place, the pieces of conductive fabric were selected so that there were the same amount of each connector for both colors.
Player piece with v-shape as connector:
Player piece with chevron as connector:
Player piece with straight line as connector:
Per Team (or color):
Straight Line: 6
The conductive fabric was cut slightly longer than the distance between the sides on the hexagon that were to be connected. Allowing the ends of the conductive fabric to stretch over the sides of the hexagon, we then simply flipped over the pieces, so that only two flaps of conductive fabric were visible. These were folded over, onto the back, which was now facing upward. Conductive Velcro was then placed on these flaps, and sewn in place. (Note: Conductive thread may be used, but is not necessary, because the conductive Velcro touches the conductive fabric directly.)
This single piece contains the central battery to which circuits must be connected. It was created using the same process as the player pieces, until the connecting pieces were added.
Short circuiting happens if one conductive piece is connected to a positive pin on the battery and another conductive piece is connected to a negative pin on the battery. Because of this, the respective conductive pieces had to be separated, while ensuring that they would still each be connected to the pins on the battery.
We used normal fabric to hinder any possible short circuiting. The conductive fabric labelled for the negative pin on the battery was first sewn on the triangular buffer fabric with normal thread. We chose a triangle for this piece to help players understand the directional pattern for positive and negative outputs on the hexagon. To guarantee a connection to the battery, conductive thread was used at the point of contact.
While placing the battery, we were sure not to have any positive pins of the battery holder touching the conductive fabric piece labelled ‘negative’. Once again, using conductive thread, the conductive fabric labelled ‘positive’ could be sewn to both positive pins on the battery holder.
The triangular fabric piece with a battery holder and six silver extremities could finally now be placed on the neutral quilted piece. After correctly centered, the piece was flipped over, and each conductive piece of fabric was folded over to the back (now facing upward). Conductive fabric was then sewn over these pieces.
The process for making the island pieces was similar to that of the hub piece, however, it was slightly more elaborate.
We attached the conductive Velcro to the conductive fabric before everything else, so that it could be sewn in place by the machine. The battery holders were sewn directly on to the conductive fabric with plus signs on the front of the piece. The next step was sewing the conductive fabric pieces labelled with the negative signs on to the triangular buffer fabric piece. Then the LEDs were sewn onto this conductive fabric. Another buffer layer of normal fabric was added between this level and the top of the quilt sandwich (to prevent short circuiting) before the conductive fabric was folded over the edges of the full piece. We quilted everything in one step so that the sewing machine could neatly hold down all flaps of conductive fabric. This means we ironed, clipped, and sewed the quilted pieces, while folding the conductive fabric over the edges around it (which was already united with the Velcro). Then the sewing machine secured this thickly sandwiched quilt using a strong needle.