This project is Accepted by SIGCHI 2016! 

Introduction Video:

Paper can be viewed here:

Download (PDF, 3.64MB)


Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 5.20.17 PM

This is a physical musical role-playing game(RPG) where three players will fight together against monsters. 

Basically there is a warrior attacking the monster, a defender defending all of the three, and a mage healing all of the three. The three characters share the same life so they will get hurt or get healed for the same amount of health.

Unlike most of the RPG game, BoomChaCha! is a musical and group cooperating game. This means it is always better to follow the rhythm and acting cooperatively

In all, if you want to survive and thrive, follow the beats and dancing together!


Everything starting in a brainstorming, Wangshu and I decided to make a RPG game which can generate stupid but interesting songs. After we make a one-day prototype, we both believe that to make a musical game based on a RPG logic will be interesting —  and that’s exactly what Wangshu and I really want to do. So we started our project, then Carry was attracted by our idea and joined us.

During our process, we found that we want our game to be more lively and cooperatively. That is to say, make multiple people can play together, cooperate together, dance together and have fun together. So we arranged our music to be a triple beats, make the visual to be lively, make the physical form of weapons to be cute and multi-functional, such that make the game a harmony group action.


Physical Device:


We made three separate wireless weapons as the physical input. Each device has an accelerometer, an arduino board for control and a xBee for wireless connection, and a simple pattern cognition has been executed in the Arduino Loop. When the player doing the exact pattern, like a swipe of the sword or a punch of the shield, the arduino will determine that behavior and send a command back to the Coordinate xBee, meanwhile to lighting all the LEDs for reaction. The Coordinate xBee will always listening to each End point, and send the information to the software.


weapons IMG_20151208_203051


Unlike the traditional game, we designed all the characters looks quite strange. I mean, seems like all aliens. And actually something with a strange form will make the people get a feeling of funny instead of being threatened and thus make them feel leisure.

The animation part is totally matched to the beats of the music, make the whole game more easily to be united into the music. And the waving glasses, blinking stars and the blinking monsters will be the hints to tell the players when to execute their actions.



tom thumb_1O5A0871_1024


Final Result


We have a very good version now for playing, see the video below:

BoomChaCha! from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

During the game, there’s always a “Boom Cha Cha, boom cha cha” six-beat pattern repeating itself in the 6/8 background music, which creates a feeling of dancing party rather than a dangerous fight. During the first three “Boom Cha Cha”, players can do attacking, defending or healing by hitting the first “Boom” with the physical sword, shield or wand, and the effects will be executed in the next three “boom cha cha”. That is to say, if the warrior hits the first “Boom” beat, an attack will be executed in the next “boom cha cha”; if the defender/mage hits the first “Boom” beat, the next “boom” you will start defending/healing all the characters.

Since our aim is to invite people playing together, acting cooperatively should get a better results than doing alone, so we designed an “assistance” logic with the “Cha Cha” beats. That is to day, if the warrior hits the “Boom” followed by the other two hitting the next two “Cha”, “Cha” beats, you will get a huge attack-power bonus and can kill the monster fast without getting too much damage. The same applies to the mage and the defender.The more assists, the better effects the players will get. Better results are also granted by the better timings of you three hitting the first three “Boom Cha Cha” in the six-beat pattern following the music.

At the beginning, a practice mode is set for the players to learn how to play. When they are ready, they can enter the fighting mode and the monster will start attacking. The game will be a group surviving strategy, and those groups who follow the beats and dancing together will get a better results !

Next Step

  1. add a better tutorial for the player, rather than just talking them with the rules
  2. make a better visual and fabrication
  3. Preparing for the winter show

——————- Updated Records Below ——————–

Updated on Dec 6th

Organized and make the documentation for the Pcom-final presentation and the winter show submission, added several new battle effects and tidy-up the screen.

Updated on Dec 3rd

The playing test goes very well, most of the people love our project, several feedbacks art got during the playing-test:

  1. Though we got our weapon to be able to react with physical light, people will still focus on the screen, means we need more visual feedback in the screen rather than in the physical form
  2. Since the logic behind the game seemed a bit… complex, a tutorial should be provided before everything started
  3. We need to make the whole space more concreted to the game itself, rather than add too much unrelated objects.

People really enjoy the game when playing!!!!!!!!

playing-test1 from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

playingtest2 from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

playingtest3 from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

Updated on Nov. 30th

We made it!!! We mounted everything together!!! It works good like the video goes here:

mount1time from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

attackeffect from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

We will then meet four rounds of playing-test, since we have 1*ICM and 3*PCOM seperately.

Updated on Nov. 28th

Thanks to all working during the thanksgiving, the xBee communication has been solved, like the next video below:

xbee-wireless from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.


The game finally added every attacks, healing and defend effectively, means we can catch the playing test now. But the mount among weapons and the software still need to be done once the floor opens

IMG_3988 from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

dead from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

Updated on Nov. 25th

This is the last day before the ThanksGiving, I want to make some record here:

  1. We designed the sword and sheild, like the video below:
  2. The communication for multiple wireless devices will be solved by xBees, but not finished yet.
  3. Most of the visual effects have been done here, the final game will looks similiar to it.
  4. game

Updated on Nov. 18th

Another round of playing test executed, several feedbacks:

  1. the style of the role is not so creepy, and people feel like for them:
  2. Instead of moving the monsters, maybe keep them in their position will be a better solution for not make the staffs so complicated.

Updated on Nov. 17th

A basic engine of the game has been established, like the below one shows:

game_test from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.



Updated before Nov.11st

Named as “The Concert of Sword and Magic” at that time

For my PCOM final project, everything started from a very stupid Halloween Idea, to dress up as someone in MineCraft, like that:


When I and Wangshu are eating dinner, we find it will be interesting to make sound when waving swords, then, after one week’s developing, we successfully make something like below:

SInce I and Wangshu are in the different classes, we can have two times for the playing-test. For the first-day’s playing test, we take usage of the projector directly, and people doing staffs like below:

or something like:

Sword – Igoe2 from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

After that, we found that this method is lacking the potential of multi-players, and if we also lack a guidance of how to guide the users to wave the weapons. So for the next day’s playing test, we changed several logics, and add a wand for 2 players.



We tested several logics, including tracing the points

Hit each other

sword-hit from Fengyuan Zhu on Vimeo.

Or doing some certain pattern

Finally, we decided to keep the patterns, but the logic for co-operate , music composition and other staffs will designed like PATAPON, like the video below:


That’s it.