The draw of tabletop roleplaying games is the freedom to take whatever action one can imagine. Video games are great at many things, but they can only handle actions and follow storylines that the programmers included. With a good game master, tabletop players can do anything. The drawback is having to keep track of your character’s stats and abilities. To make that a little easier, Melissa Matos built a cyberdeck dedicated to tracking her character sheet for Shadowrun gameplay sessions.
Shadowrun is a science fantasy-themed tabletop roleplaying game that blends urban fantasy with cyberpunk, so a cyberdeck fits that aesthetic very well. And like most other roleplaying games, there is a great deal of information for players to keep up with. That includes character stats, abilities, gear, current health and status conditions, and more. Traditionally, players use a pencil and paper to track that information. But as every tabletop gamer will tell you, that is a huge hassle and very susceptible to error. She’s still sorting out the programming, but Matos plans to track all of that on her cyberdeck. She’ll also create an interface for rolling dice.
Because she lacked fabrication tools, Matos built this stylish cyberdeck using only off-the-shelf parts. The two primary electronic components are an M5Stack Core2 ESP32 development kit and an M5Stack CardKB miniature tactile keyboard. The M5Stack Core2 includes a 2” 320×240 LCD touchscreen, MPU6866 gyroscope/accelerometer (perfect for a dice-rolling function), real-time clock, haptic feedback vibration motor, capacitive touch buttons, and 390mAh battery.
Without the luxury of a 3D printer to create an enclosure, Matos turned to good ol’ fashioned Erector Set parts. We think that turned out to be a boon for this project, as the industrial aesthetics really suit the device. The Erector Set parts also let Matos create a tilting mount for the M5Stack Core2 so she could adjust the angle of the screen. To top it all off and hammer home the cyberpunk feel, Matos added some RGB LED “noodle” neon lights that twist around the device’s frame.
This project is still in progress, but we can’t wait to see how Matos’ digital stat sheet software turns out.