It would be an understatement to call the Portal video game series influential, as it had a huge effect on the game industry and pop culture in general. Even if you have never played a Portal game yourself, you probably know that “the cake is a lie.” While Portal is a puzzle game with very few characters — none of the them human — to interact with, even the gun turret enemies are chock full of personality. It’s only natural that makers have reproduced those turrets, and we have see a handful of impressive examples at small sizes. But Yvo de Haas went all out and built a full-scale Portal turret.
Yvo started this project back in 2017 for the Still Hacking Anyway conference. That original version was functional, but somewhat unpolished. For this year’s Chaos Communication Camp (CCCamp), Yvo decided to almost completely rebuild the turret. The new version looks phenomenal, and is very nearly screen accurate — quite the feat for a gun turret designed for a video game and not to actually be physically produced. Almost all of the turret’s hundreds of parts are 3D-printed, which required more than 300 hours of total print time. It even moves, speaks, and fires “bullets.”
To control the turret, Yvo is using both a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and an Arduino Mega. The Raspberry Pi has a camera connected so it can search for and recognize enemies to fire at. It controls the turret’s various servo and DC motors through the Arduino for movement. The turret is also equipped with four Nerf guns that can each shoot two darts per second at nearly 100km/h. Yvo has generously provided all of the design files, but cautions that this is not a “turnkey” project. Yvo spend more than 6 months building the turret, and it will require a lot of skill in many disciplines to replicate. But we can all appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into this Portal turret.