Raygun competition fuses steampunk and future tech

If you thought a raygun shootout was only possible in Hollywood studios, then you’re dead wrong. 

Not only are rayguns “real,” but there is also a competition designed to test one’s raygun prowess.

Inspired by Greg Broadmore series of Dr. Grordbort’s catalogs where raygun technology was born, the contest is organized to design a real-life version of the novel’s technology. 

Organized by Integrid New Zealand and powered by Microsoft Azure, the competition organizers asked entrants from 72 countries from around the world to design a raygun capable of ‘destroying 7/9ths of an African elephant in two blinks of an eye.’


A lofty goal for most, a New Zealand digital artist Denham Kelly, and a California information systems manager Mark Rose rose above competitors and have been announced as the winners of the global Raygun Shootout competition at the annual Blender conference in Amsterdam. 

The participants competed in two different categories: a category where they built a raygun using Blender’s open source 3D software or in a category using a commercial software.

The winner of each category won a trip to Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand to meet Greg Broadmore, creator of Dr. Grordbort’s Infallible Aether Oscillators, a line of imaginery wave oscillation weapons.

Winner in the commercial software category, winner Denham Kelly gushed, “I feel like Charlie Bucket from Willy Wonka, Greg Broadmore is a huge inspiration to me and to win the opportunity visit Weta Workshop and meet Greg in person is unbelievable.”

“My design was inspired by the rifles and pistols designed by Greg Broadmore and also by the Steampunk style. It took me about three weeks to complete and I had no idea my design would be so well received,” added Kelly.

Blender software winner Mark Rose described that his inspiration for the raygun came from “the word ‘ostentatious’ in the challenge request. I thought about what Lord Cockswain, Greg Broadmore’s chief buffoon, might like while on the hunt and I came up with the brandy in the front grip, the humidor in the cheek rest and the removable lighter in the Vulcan’s Fury reactor.”

Aside from a fantasy contest, Andy Gordon, Platform Strategy Manager at Microsoft New Zealand says the competition is also a great opportunity to highlight what technology allows designers to do.

“Rendering services such as those delivered via the Greenbutton software allows designers to render high quality images using supercomputer processing power at a fraction of the time it would usually take them, not to mention it is exceptionally cost efficient. 

“This technology in particular is supported by the Microsoft Azure platform and demonstrates how to maximize the power of cloud computing. This is the future of digital design and has the potential to transform industries that rely on computer assisted design.”

Are real-life rayguns next? Maybe next year!

Additional information, entries and pictures can be viewed here