The Charcade at Burning Man

This year's big fire art project was called the Charcade - a collection of seven fire art games set up in one big flaming arcade at Burning Man. Site 3 Fire Arts brought two projects: Super Street Fire, a reimagining of Street Fighter 2 in a ring of 32 flame effects, and Riskee Ball, 10 giant Skee Ball lanes that shoot fire when you score points. We also collaborated with five other fire arts projects and groups: Dance Dance Immolation by Ardent Heavy Industries; Rock Inferno, by Ar[sonic] Creations; Flamethrower Shooting Gallery, by Matisse Enzer; Toxic Bloom, by Ethan Garner, Christopher Linder, Joel Greenwood, and David Dowling; and Touch Me, by Noah Rosenthal and Nathan Clark.

The Charcade was a huge hit, and we burned approximately 10,000 pounds of propane (and ~100 gallons of gasoline - thanks, Matisse) over the week.

Photo by Neil Girling -

Everyone loved Riskee Ball - apparently everyone who has ever been a kid, at least in this part of the world, knows and loves Skee Ball.

Photo by Neil Girling -

Super Street Fire and Riskee Ball both use the control hardware I've developed - SSF uses individual fenode boards on each of the 32 flame effects, and each Riskee Ball lane is run entirely off of a dmxfire board that controls not just the flame effects but also the LED lights for scoring and the gameplay itself. Mens Amplio, by Don Cain, also used a wifire board to control its flame effects over I2C.

At the end of the week, the Ardent crew retired Dance Dance Immolation - by dropping a piano on it from a variable reach forklift. No joke.

Now that Burning Man is over, I'm going to return my focus to developing the line of flame effect controllers and accessories, and improving the firmware to make it easier to use as a drop-in solution for any project that wants to incorporate fire. Have an idea for a project and think this could help? Let me know!