Retro Pong game

One of many weekly Blender challenges.

Retro game definition - Retrogaming, also known as classic gaming and old school gaming, is the playing and/or collecting of older personal computers, consoles, and/or video games, in contemporary times. Usually, retrogaming is based upon systems that are obsolete or discontinued.

This challenge took place in week 9. The start of March 2021.

My idea was to create an old piece of hardware, a PDP-1 from the Digital Equipment Corporation. In those days they played the game "Spacewars". Better known as "Asteroids".
My idea was to create a dark scene with a green monitor glow on the faces of children while they are playing the game of Pong.. Not historically correct, but I like the story better. More fun.
Also, the radio tubes are incorrect. These PDP systems were based on transistors.

Thumbnail sketches of battle axes

In the early days, I started making low-poly items, which I thought I would use.

On/Off switch

On/Off switch

Keeping it simply, use low poly.

This 3D object is really usable for other projects too. When zoomed in you can see it hasn't that much vertices.

Dial knob

Dial knob, game paddle

In those days they didn't have joysticks.

When I played Pong we had a rotary knob as main control to move the ping pong bat. So I created a simple looking game paddle device to move the bat.


Introducing too many vertices

The back wall with radio bulbs had too many details. Because of that, I got 3.5M vertices. Using 13GB RAM out of 16GB. Resulting in a unstable, unresponsive system with a lot of disk swapping. Which is very annoying in a process of trying and failing to adjust small details.

The two figures are stock objects. Cut in half to lower the vertices count. I hadn't enough time to create clothes. But I also liked the current look. It is less realistic but adds more mystery to the scene.

Radio tube bulp

Historically incorrect

I needed a warm color to compensate for the green glow. And radio bulbs are heated to do their work. Plus it adds a more authentic feel to the scene.

PDP-1 DEC Monitor

Using Blender brick shader.

The dark green (black) lines are build upon a extra layer with the Blender brick shader. The ball and bat are just green emmiting face materials. So no bitmaps were used here. I used a material ID to make them glowing with the compositor. But also here a slow process. Adjusting the compositor nodes takes a second or two.

Final scene

Using a vignette to darken the corners.

I spend 10 hours on this simple design. But it was a slow process because I miscalculated the influence of these radio bulbs.
At first I did a linked duplicate of a bulb. Very easy manual labour while using the grid. But then, somehow changing a bulb didn't change all the linked copies (still don't know why). Then I used array's, but then the system got slow because of the array calculations. And I couldn't randomize the object materials anymore (I forgot the 'position' trick).