Raspberry Pi Pico Adds Ambience to Tabletop Adventures

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Balthazar Rouberol)

Nothing beats the imaginative world-building of a good Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) campaign but what if you could take things even further? That’s where maker and developer Balthazar Rouberol’s latest Raspberry Pi project comes in. Using a Raspberry Pi Pico and a little CircuitPython, he’s created a custom D&D sound mixer that bring sounds and music into the game for a more ambient experience.

According to Rouberol, he wanted to develop an easy way to trigger songs, music and ambient soundtracks at the push of a button. This way, when he and his friends play D&D, they could hear music and sound effects to create a more immersive experience depending on what’s happening in-game.

Rouberol was kind enough to share a demo video of the final project showing off how it works. It features a Pico at the top along with a 4 x 4 keypad illuminated with RGB LEDs. Each key corresponds with either an audio track or control mechanism to adjust things like volume or even overlap the audio so multiple tracks can be played at the same time. The keypad sends data over a serial connection to a computer running a Python application which reads the input and plays the relevant sound file. Media playback on the PC is handled using PyGame, a popular Python module to create games. 

The mixer is driven by a Raspberry Pi Pico. It’s attached to a Pimoroni RGB Keypad which provides the key matrix with RGB backlit keys. This is used to operate the effects that control the sound mixer. All of the hardware is tied together with the help of a 3D printed base. This frame mounts the keypad at an angle, making it easier to use with a clean, professional finish.

Rouberol explains that the sound mixer required a user interface, so he created his own using a little more Python code and HTML via the Flask module. Using Flask, Rouberol created the UI to control the layers of audio, adding subtle audio cues for various stages of the dungeon.

If you want to recreate this Raspberry Pi project, visit the official project page on Rouberol’s blog to see both how it goes together as well as what it looks like in action.

Ash Hill
Contributing Writer

Ash Hill is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.