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  • Lunar Lander at Makerfaire UK update

    Posted on March 16th, 2009 Iain No comments

    Back home from Makerfaire UK in Newcastle.

    Of course I tempted fate by saying that Lunar Lander had worked perfectly. When I powered it up on Sunday morning the horizontal motor was stalling when the carriage got to one end of the track. Seems to be primarily due to a dodgy earth connection on a piece of breadboard I used to temporarily route the power supply (bad idea of course). However I also noticed that the pulley at one end of the track fouls on the bearing block for the carriage so a bit or rework there would be good.

    With the power supply fixed it worked fine again, so I am cautiously optimistic.

    There are quite a few things about the game that I think I will change from what I learnt.

    • Basic parameters for the game seem about right.
    • Even quite little kids can play it well once they get the hang of the controls
    • Using “thrust” to slow down isn’t an obvious concept to a lot of people. They assume that thrust will always make you go faster. Needs a bit of explanation on that aspect.
    • Once people understand the controls they normally make a reasonable attempt at landing. However the first few goes they either don’t use the thrust enough (or at all) or do it too late. I think the best way to give people a fair go at the arcade is to offer lots of “trys” to land (perhaps about 10), but limit the total amount of fuel. That means that people will still have enough time to get some fun even if they play really badly, and people who understand the controls will still have a challenge to land on all three levels
    • The transitions between levels need to be speeded up (well I pretty much knew that anyway)
    • It might be good to spot some common mistakes and provide tailored advice to help people improve (not using the rocket enough, only firing the rocket near the bottom, letting the ship go too fast)
    • <Edit 2>Need to collect game metrics – how many plays, how many wins and stuff. Something I really missed having at the faire. It would be nice to know how many people played.

    <Edit> Oh – and it should have a big blue “Lunar Contact” light just like the real Apollo

    The game was a big hit with all ages (apart from the few teenagers that showed up, but then they don’t like much anyway). Several people were kind enough to say it was their favourite thing at the faire.


    2 responses to “Lunar Lander at Makerfaire UK update” RSS icon

    • Yeah, it was tied first in my book with the “grass is always greener” thing from curiosity collective.

      It’s impressive that it lasted all weekend with only the bugs you had.

      Maybe the velocity dial could flash red & buzz when speed is too high…?

      I came away from the faire with schemes concerning pac-man done with magnets thanks to you 🙂

    • Hi!

      I am sending you this link to my video of the Newcastle Maker Faire – featuring the LUNAR LANDER!

      Enjoy – link away!
      (ps, I really liked your work, and your general persona + attitude – if I may say 😀 )

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