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Hearthstone: The Boomsday Project

It’s never quite chaos until a mad scientist is involved and Hearthstone’s The Boomsday Project intends of creating as much madness as it can. Blizzard called in all its best “mad scientist” including Slash Dynamic’s production team and Synn Labb’s “League of Extraordinary Nerds” to help Here Comes the Boom, the Doomsday Project expansion, come to life.


The expansion played on the crazy contraptions cartoonist Rube Goldberg use to pen in the 1900s The cartoonist would build massive and wildly complicated machines to do even the simplistic of tasks, pushing over containers, lighting fires and swapping levers simply to retrieve the mail. Goldberg’s inspiration led to the Dynamic and Labs team up with President Adam Sadowsky — the co-creator of the Goldberg machine in OK GO’s “This Too Shall Pass” music video — who has built a reputation on crazy contraptions including a 17-step machine for Google to drop an olive in a glass. Now the collaboration has brought the project to life.


“I’m fascinated by engineering,” Sadowsky told Newsweek, who broke the story. “I love odd, interesting uses of technology. There’s something about the Newtonian physics, really basic stuff, that’s approachable but allows me to express creativity.”


The challenge with bringing Hearthstone’s contraption to life was the safety concerns. The game plays on the side of unchecked science, allowing particularly dangerous concepts to exist within its fantasy realm. The group originally thought about mixing sulfuric acid with a vat of sugar to cause a carbon snake to push a lever, but the idea proved too long and lacked practicality, forcing Sadowsky and company to move to lighting steel wool on fire and spraying sparks all over. The idea died out quickly after it seemed too big of a risk with large amounts of expensive cameras on set.


Maybe slightly disappoint, the group settled for a bunch of steadicam’s shooting a 14-step Goldberg machine that led the audience to a Hearthstone game board. Testing and approval took just around 10 days before Slash Dynamics was setting out to build the concept. Joining the Slash Dynamics team was Goldberg machine expert Zach Umperovitch, sculptor Matt Gaulden and director of photography Jeremiah Pitman.


The concept was a natural disaster in the making.


Tennis balls on fire, ice melting that wasn’t supposed to melt and numerous resets was just the beginning of the testing process for the nearly two and a half minute video, but after days of testing, filming kicked off at 6:45 a.m. Still it took more tries than one could count with dozens of safety coverage and a 10 hour day before the crew was finally able to wrap up, but they got it.


And true to mad scientist style, they made chaos look beautiful.