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  • Nixie tubes in lunar lander and musings on complexity

    Posted on March 12th, 2009 Iain No comments

    Without knowing quite how – I’ve decided to use nixie tubes to provide a score display for Lunar Lander. I’ve wanted to play with them for ages, but never had a project where it made sense. I didn’t want to do a nixie clock because it’s such a geek cliché. The score board might replace one of the analog meters on the display panel.

    This is making a project that is already too complicated even more so, but its going to provide another level of richness to the experience. You can make anything appear on an LCD screen, but the actual experience of solid objects that move and glow is more satisfying. Let’s hope the combined effect pays off. I want to have something with the richness of a pinball machine or a (British) fruit machine. The news that a pinball machine has half a mile of wiring and 3500 components scares me.

    The really sweet thing to do is to invent simple things that are still very interesting. My problem is that my ideas seem to require complex implementation. I am clearly not the only person with this problem. I went to see Felix’s machines recently. They are increadibly densely worked with many moving parts. The whole installation is tiny though – just the corner of a room with a huge loom of wiring to move all the servos. Overwhelming the user with massive visual impact doesn’t come easy.

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