Raspberry Pi Slot Machine

Raspberry Pi Slot Machine – Writing the last post for a project is always difficult for me as I keep guessing if I can spend more time on the project or if I’ve covered everything that needs to be covered. Luckily, I know I can’t spend more time on this project because I ran out of time two days ago so I can write this post. My original deadline to finish this project was actually two days ago, but by the time the deadline came, I wasn’t even close to being done. Thankfully, the good folks at Element14 gave me over 48 hours to finish.

Before we get into the major update, I want to take a moment to talk about why I’m behind and how Murphy’s Law has come into effect multiple times over the last week. The first problem arose when some of the parts I ordered for this project didn’t arrive. NeoPixels NeoPixels and arcade buttons didn’t arrive with the original parts order, I went ahead and ordered a roll of NeoPixels from Amazon in case they didn’t arrive before I needed them. I also ordered a pack of 10 arcade buttons from Amazon, but when they arrived they didn’t have microswitches attached, just button assemblies. I did manage to find two old arcade buttons in an old project parts box in the attic.

Raspberry Pi Slot Machine

The second problem came when I mapped the two GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi 3 to keyboard input. I’ve tried several different GPIO to keymap packages, but none of them work with the Pi 3 / Raspbian Jessie. After spending a day with it, I finally tried Adafruit’s RetroGame package, and while it worked, it somehow blocked the Python installation on the Pi. I ended up having to format the SD card and start from scratch. It’s not that bad though, because I save all the code. I reinstalled the RetroGame package and everything worked fine this time, so I think something was broken when I ran the makefile in the Retrogame install.

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The final issue is split on Friday evening and Saturday morning. I’ve been planning to design some graphics for the front of the slot machine and print them on lightweight paper, but it turns out that the large format printer at my local Staples is broken. To make matters worse, Staples is the only local place where you can print anything larger than 24 inches wide. So I got up Saturday morning and called several other printing locations within 30 miles, and they were either closed on Saturday or not willing to do a single print on short notice. This forced me to come up with a solution at the last minute, you’ll read more about it later. So yeah, this is basically the last week of my life and my apologies to E14 and this late post. Now let’s start the actual update!

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A key aspect of this project was using my left arm as the pull to trigger the slot machine roll. Since the Bfruit program uses keyboard inputs to control the game, I need to map a few GPIO pins to use as these keyboard inputs. As I mentioned before, I tried a few different packages and they should be able to do this, but none of them work with Raspberry Pi 3 Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspbian Jessie. I’ve used PiKeyed in the past and it was the first package I used, but apparently there is some issue with the Debian Jessie kernel that makes it useless. Basically I can get the PiKeyed daemon running, but it won’t register any keystrokes I attach to the buttons I have attached to the GPIO pins I have mapped in its config file. I have the same problem with two other programs I use, I’m assuming they are based on the same code.

In the end, I ended up using Adafruit’s RetroGame package. In hindsight, I should have used this package from the start, but I was under the impression that I had to install the full RetroPie suite for it to work, and I didn’t want it to add all the extra bloat and simple items. After talking to some people on the Adafruit forums, I realized that I could just install RetroGame and nothing else. There are some tutorials online and on the Adafruits website that cover the installation, but I found that they were all a bit different from each other and some were missing key parts of the latest version of the program installation. So, to make it easier for anyone at home following this project, I’ll list my setup process below, but first, I’d like to describe how to connect the switch to the Raspbery Pi 3’s GPIO pins.

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The game has two key buttons for gameplay. Left arrow starts Spin and Up arrow increases Bet. The game also uses Escape, Enter, and Right Arrow, but they’re more for menu navigation, so I’m not too concerned about them being broken down into physical arcade buttons. I’m going to have a wireless keyboard in my backpack when I’m showing off costumes at parties so I can use it to start and restart games. Looking at the Raspberry Pi 3 pinout diagram above, I mapped GPIO17 to the left arrow key and GPIO22 to the up arrow key. Ground pins located on board pins 9 and 14 are used as ground for each button. The image below should clarify this layout.

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As you might have guessed, I’m using buttons to pull their respective GPIO pins low when pressed, and some of you may be wondering why I didn’t add any pull-up resistors. The answer is that RetroGame enables internal pull-up resistors for every pin I map in the program config file. By using internal pull-ups, I was able to reduce the components required and keep the circuit as simple as possible.

With the connect button, I was able to proceed to install the RetroGame package. The process isn’t difficult, but there are a few key steps for new versions of the program that many older tutorials on the internet don’t have. NOTE: Now is a good time to back up any code you haven’t backed up before. As I mentioned in the introduction to this post, there was a problem during my initial RetroGame install that bricked the Python packages installed on my Pi, the only way I was able to fix the problem was a fresh install of Raspbian Jessie.

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Much of this tutorial was copied from Adafruit’s Install RetroGame tutorial found at (https://learn.adafruit.com/super-game-pi/initial-setup), I modified a few things here and there to Includes several steps exclusive to the new RetroGame.

Now, before we finish installing RetroGame, we need to edit its configuration file to map the Pi 3’s GPIO pins to the correct keyboard keystrokes. Find the retrogame.cfg file in /home/pi/Adafruit-Retrogame-master and edit it with nano to configure and comment out any GPIO pins you don’t want to map. Use the sample text below.

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If you can’t copy files to /boot because of permissions, you can go into root and move it that way, then exit back to raspberry.

Next, we need to set Retrogame to run on startup. To do this, we need to edit the rc.local file

Add the following line to the bottom of the file but above the final “exit 0” line. Don’t forget the “&” at the end of the string.

Finally, we need to create a new rules file for RetroGame to make it work more efficiently.

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If you are building this project on a Raspberry Pi 3 running Raspbian Jessie, you will need to make some small changes in Raspi-Config to call rc.local later in the boot stack. This is a known issue with Raspbian Jessie, and for those of us who like to use rc.local to run programs at boot, this is the best way to fix it.

When the Pi reboots, you can test that our keymap works by loading into the Pixel and navigating to the office suite and opening a new written document and typing some characters with the keyboard. Then press the button connected to GPIO Pin 17 and you should see the cursor move back one space. Pressing multiple times should move it back

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