BIG 20 is proud to be featured on, and a member of the Dice Maniacs Club!
Imagine a 90's cellphone, a magic 8-ball, and the ghost of Gary Gygax had a ménage à trois; BIG 20 is their baby.
How it works
Modeled after the classic 20-sided die, BIG 20 is a handheld digital dice roller that adds fanfare to your big gaming moments. When you pick up this beautiful icosahedral bastard and give it a shake, it's digital d20 guts take that vibration, convert it into a random number, and display your roll on the integrated screen.
Out of the box, each rolled number has a bad-ass corresponding animation, so you'll be rolling in style. And we know you don't just need a d20, so we've included all the standard RPG dice, from d4-d20.
Customizing your BIG 20
We know tabletop RPGs are about infinite creativity. That's why BIG 20 isn't just a tool, it's a canvas. Behind the pretty face is a Bluetooth-enabled brain that lets you fully customize your BIG 20 dice with our nifty mobile app. With custom dice, you don't even need to roll numbers, you can roll for random monsters or treasure. Hell, we'll throw in a custom die on top of the RPG dice, let's say level 1 monsters. You're welcome.
Choose your class
We know what you're thinking: "That's cool, but I want mine in black." Well you're in luck. BIG 20 comes in 5 colors. We'll even style its number rolls 1-20 to match the character class of the device color.
Oh yeah, it's also got a battery life of over 8 hours, so even a marathon gaming session will see you keep on rolling. So the next time you roll initiative, don't make it just any dice. Make it a BIG 20.
WHY WE'RE DOING THIS
We are passionate about tabletop gaming, and are inspired by the chance to create magical gaming experiences. We also are people that restlessly and constantly build, tear apart, and put things back together. BIG 20 is at the intersections of our interests. We've always felt that, as fun as RPGs can be, traditional dice don't capture the gravity of some of those critical moments.
When it's your last shot to steal the dragon's treasure, or the lich is about to take out the whole party, we imagined something that really gets your heart racing. Reaching for BIG 20 and looking for your future in this proverbial crystal ball just sounded flat out awesome, so we built it.
This project is about more than just gameplay. We're nerds; we wear that on our sleeve, and we hope you do too. With this project we saw an opportunity make a cool and stylish object that shows off who you are with pride. We think BIG 20 makes a great addition to a bookshelf, or your desk at work.
We think that the creativity and imagination of tabletop RPGs is amazing, and we wanted to make sure that BIG 20 could be a tool in your toolkit. That's why through our app, you can make your BIG 20 totally your own. Add monsters, add treasure, add new weird dice concepts. Or don't use it for gaming at all, use it to choose what you're wearing today, to pick a lunch spot, or randomize a color for your smart light bulbs. Whatever you want randomized, BIG 20 is your platform, so let us add a little chaos to your life.
In addition to being the first to receive a BIG 20 device, you can choose from some awesome goodies that show your support for this project.
What's your role?
We've got a package for everyone, depending on how much you can afford to back us with.
HOW WE'RE DOING IT
The outer shell of BIG 20 is a two part injection molded ABS plastic housing, in the shape of the iconic d20, but roughly 3.5" from face to face. ABS is a strong, durable material which will stand up to even the most abusive of adventure parties. Injection molding allows for a large number of plastic parts to be manufactured cheaply but with high quality, a key aspect of delivering an excellent product to you, our customers. The numbering on the exterior is a durable pad printed ink, which will mirror the ruggedness of the housing.
Inside BIG 20 is a powerhouse of fantasy randomization. With a 240 MHz processor, Bluetooth, 16 GB storage, and a 2200 milliamp-hour lithium-ion battery, this baby has everything you need to keep rolling the classics, and add your own twist to the mix. On the underside of the case are a reset button and a mode button, as well as a charging socket that accepts any standard USB micro plug.
This here's the money maker. BIG 20 features a 1.5" TFT LCD, which will display all your animations in full beautiful color.
Manufacturing can be a huge challenge, and we aren't trying to build the infrastructure required to make BIG 20 on our own. We are working with expert manufacturing facilities to ensure that the final product will be high quality, low cost, and delivered on time.
HOW WE GOT HERE
It all started when Brad made the first prototype, which had a badly 3D printed case, and an atrocious electronics setup, but people still thought it was cool. After brainstorming what could be changed, added, or taken away to make a device which would improve the experiences of gamers and DM's, we landed on our current product specs. Over a year of prototyping mechanical, electrical, and software aspects, and we finally created something we are proud of, and something we think you will like. Finally, that's where you come in.
We want to provide you, our customers with a product that is both affordable, and high quality, and the number one strategy to do that is to manufacture in bulk. Having all of you on board before we pull the trigger is going to allow us to spread the cost of injection molds over a large number of purchases, and help reduce electronic component prices via bulk purchase discounts. With your help BIG 20 will go from dream to reality, and your rolls will go from boring to BIG.
This is the original BIG 20. It was roughly the size of a soccer ball, the screen bolted in, and it ran on a Raspberry Pi 3. It has now been cannibalized for parts, but the shell remains as a reminder to the first step we took towards making the device.
The Case was held together with pins, and you can see here that we broke one of the posts that held the board. This first BIG 20 was printed on a makerbot 3D printer at Method design in San Francisco (Thanks David!). This device was just a project that Brad was working on for fun, but all his friends loved it, and it inspired him to turn it into an actual product.
This is the second revision of the BIG 20 case. It was printed at Star Rapid (Thanks guys!) on a stereolithography printer, with an ABS-like material. It measures roughly 5" from side to side, and was intended as a fit-feel-function prototype. You can see the cloudiness of the window. we originally planned to super-glue the window into the case, but we found out that super-glue attacks acrylic. We messed up some dimensions, so the circuit board and screen wouldn't fit inside (oops!). The case was sacrificed to test how well the material would stand up to epoxy.
The plan for this design was to bolt it together, hence the three holes on the base. We ended up not going with this design because A: it doesn't look all that great, and B: those holes go awful deep, and they were driving up the price of the injection molds.
This is the original circuit board that we designed and had manufactured. It's based heavily on on the Feather Huzzah ESP8266 by Adafruit Industries (which can be fond here: https://www.adafruit.com/product/2821 ). It's got 2 buttons, a micro SD card slot, a 10 pin ZIF connector, a shake switch, and a battery plug. This was the first circuit board our team had ever built, so even though basing it on open source hardware helped us immensely, we were nervous when we hit the purchase button. It ended up working great, but we didn't exactly like the way the battery wasn't attached to the board. Our original intent was customizing the device content via wifi, but this proved to be clunky in out testing, so later revisions updated the core chip to allow for bluetooth. This board was manufactured by PCBway.com
This is a case concept we toyed around with to try and drive down the cost of molds. it has a top panel and a bottom panel, and the two sides of the case are identical one another. The window snaps into the top panel. Again, this was printed by Star Rapid.
Bottom side of the same case.
Two identical case sides that fit together.
This is the second revision of the circuit board. The only change is this one holds the battery, instead of just having a plug.
This is our demonstration prototype. 3.5" from side to side, roughly 1 pound, and very close to what our final product will look like. It was printed at Star Rapid, and uses the same circuit board as the previous revision.
The back side. Reset button, mode button, and charge port. This prototype is epoxied together because we hadn't taken the time to develop snap fits yet.
A quick video showing some of the content we have been developing for the device. Run on the demo prototype.
Another video showing device functionality on our demo prototype.
We wanted to experiment with some different colors, and loved the results. These are promotional devices that we would like to send out to people who can help spread the word about our campaign. These devices are the same design as the previous, again printed at Star Rapid.
A shot of all 10 of the promotional devices in Brad's garage prepping for painting.
A closeup of the shells, and the screen holder.
All painted and ready to go!
The circuit boards and screens for the promotional devices. Same as the demo device circuit board, but these are white.
Close up of the promotional device circuit board.
Prototyping a new generation of circuit board. Nestled there in the middle is the Adafruit Industries HUZZAH32, an esp32 based board. The esp32 is bluetooth enabled, and represents part of the core functionality of the device: bluetooth updates via our app.
Our latest circuit board revision! Same features as all the others but based on the ESP32, and bluetooth enabled!
Check out that badboy.
Risks and challenges
We wanted to present as little risk as possible to you, our backers, which is why we took prototyping so seriously. Between 3D printing prototype plastic shells, purchasing development circuit boards, and developing our firmware and software a staggering amount of time, effort and money has been put into making sure we got everything right. We are mostly there, and we are confident that we can complete the project and deliver, but here at the start we want to be open and honest concerning each aspect of our project:
Mechanical Development – 80% Complete – This includes the plastic shell, the window, and the internal components that support the circuit board and window. All of these components are designed, and have been assembled and tested for fit, feel, and function. The last hurdle for mechanical development is implementing snap fits. By designing semi-permanent snap-fits to assemble BIG 20 we will drive down the cost of production, both in assembly time and in cost of goods. Snap-fits, however, can be a very challenging topic in mechanical design. In order to overcome this challenge, we have partnered with a local 3D printing house that will allow us to rapidly iterate on designs, and land on a snap fit that has the properties we are looking for. In parallel to this localized effort, we are sending each design iteration to our injection molding supplier in china, for DFM (design for manufacturability) evaluation, to ensure that our 3D printed design can also meet the requirements of our final manufacturing method.
Electrical Development - 70% Complete - For a long time, the plan for BIG 20 was to utilize WiFi, and have the device update over the web. In our product testing, however, this solution proved to be clunky from a user experience standpoint. So in order to provide backers with the best experience we decided to move to a Bluetooth based system, which was a big setback for development. Our new Bluetooth circuit board has completed proof of concept testing, and has been designed and sent out to our manufacturer, and we are working with them to explore cost reduction opportunities. In order to drive this development, we designed our board using open source hardware. This strategy has allowed us to leverage the work of people much smarter than us, and limit the number of iterations needed to arrive at a production board.
Firmware - 80% complete - we have very specific performance requirements for our circuit board, so testing our board mandated that our firmware be close to production level. Right now the firmware is capable of receiving images and animations from the app, decompressing them, displaying them on the device, and reacting to shakes from the user. What's left to do is some fine tuning of the feel of the device, specifically how it reacts to users and shakes.
Business Operations – There’s a lot that goes into making sure we can hold up our end of the bargain: supply chain management, delivery schedules, providing updates to backers, and a ton of stuff we probably haven’t thought of. Luckily, we know a guy. Our team has a few informal mentors who have successfully completed Kickstarter campaigns, and transitioned into running their own businesses full time. They answer all our questions, give us sound advice, and keep us from making the same mistakes they did. Between their good advice and our obsessive work ethic, we know we’ll be able to execute.
The man with the plan – Brad came up with the idea for BIG 20, and he is the central player for it’s development. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s in mechanical engineering, 7 years experience working on everything from exoskeletons to airplanes, and he has a pending professional engineering license (which is kind of a big deal for ME’s). He’s passionate about tabletop role playing games and robotics, and half the people in his family own their own businesses. What we’re getting at, is that if anyone is capable of running this project, and delivering to backers it is him.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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