The No-Video Game!

It’s a vidya game but not! A completely audio-based game, the objective is to use sonar to find the hidden submarine and destroy it with depth charges. But be careful! If you are not close enough to hit the submarine, it will get away and you must hunt it down again.

Got an Arduino Mega2560 on the innards side. Got the joystick and arcade buttons from Ada Fruit! Very nice quality, shipped very quickly, and not too expensive to boot. Box was just a little, prefab wooden deal from a craft store somewhere in the middle of nowhere. And the speakers, I think I pried them out of a few alarm clocks.

Open Source is a Philosophy, Not a Checkbox

I just got back from the 2012 Open Science Summit which took place in Mountain View, CA. It was an excellent meeting and a great opportunity to meet others using open tools and ideas to forward Science! Check out the list of talks and you can also access videos of all of the talks. And you can also read more about the speakers.

I gave a talk too where I delved deeper into the science behind our work with RepRap for research in Regenerative Medicine and I made the case that open source is a philosophy, not a checkbox. Try not to get caught up in semantics of open vs. not-open (e.g. one could try to label Arduino as not an “open” platform since it has proprietary Atmel chips on the board). Instead, try to think of open projects as those in which you see people as collaborators (“open”), not customers (“closed”). We all have many things we can learn from each other, and who doesn’t want more collaborators to learn science together? Some interesting Q&A at the end too.

Hive76 gets interviewed by CNN

CNN stopped by the space last night, Oct 22nd to interview some of the guys on their projects for a report called “Made in America” which airs Tomorrow, Oct 24th. However, we did shoot some cool video and photos alongside them. There’s a full album available on our Facebook page.  We were also fortunate enough to get some quick shots of our projects at work.

Tonight at IndyHall: Cory Doctorow book reading and 3D printed sugar

We are cosponsoring Cory’s Pirate Cinema event at IndyHall tonight, but since there’s not much for Hive76 to do, we decided to make him a present. Here’s a video of production last night:

That’s a 3D printed sugar head! Cory’s excited to see it in person. You should be too! Come to IndyHall 22N 3rd at 7pm tonight. Here’s the Anyvite link to RSVP. We’ll be bringing a boomcase for the PA too.

The gritty details: That’s a Baricuda extruder using air pressure to extrude molten sugar. Now I need to figure out how he can get it home to the UK in one piece.

Fast JavaScript Game Loops


Okay, so I’m going to switch over to a very simple format, with very short examples of how you do certain things. The long article format is just too much for everyone to digest and takes too much time for me to write, so I tend to put it off forever.

Types of Games

Most games fall into two patterns: turn-driven or time-driven.

Turn-driven games have distinct periods where user input is taken, then periods where game updates are made, and the two do not overlap in anyway. The user-input section waits for the user to make their choice, and the user then waits for the update section to finish before they take their next turn. Many puzzle games and most board games are going to be of this type. For example, in chess with an AI player, the game waits for the player to move a white piece. Once the player moves, the AI takes over and calculates a move for a black piece, during which time the player is stuck and cannot make any moves. Once the AI has moved the a black piece, it’s up to the player to make a move decision again, and the AI cannot progress until the user has decided.

Time-driven games work completely differently. They are constantly updating the game, never waiting for the user to first make a selection or hit a button or waggle their joystick. If a user does perform some kind of input, the input is not processed separately, it is taken into account for the next update. Think of a game of Asteroids, in which the big, giant rocks float around the screen all on their own until the user decides to turn her ship and blast them.

There is actually a third class of game called alternate-reality games (ARG) that do not really update and do not really take user input–not in the same way these other games do–but they are way outside of the scope of this project. ARGs are more literature projects than programming projects.

Turn-driven games are relatively simple to create, as the user drives everything and performance issues do not cause noticeable artifacts like frame-rate stutter or audio clipping and buzzing. When we get into handling user input, you’ll learn all you need to make turn-driven games. Actually, time-driven games turn out to have many of the same features as turn-driven games, just with the additional features of not waiting around for the user first, having its own pump to drive the game forward.

We will be focusing on time-driven games, as they are the most technically challenging.

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Fight, Robots, Fight! Built at Hive

The original ALF 120lb combat robot, 2005.

Many folks surely remember the days of fighting robots on TV: Battlebots, Robot Wars, Robotica, etc. And while its televised days are behind it, the sport is kept alive by groups of builders and competitors across the country. The Northeast Robotics Club (NERC) is just such a group, and one that I have been a member of since I first saw robots destroy and get destroyed on TV.

In the years since, I’ve traveled up and down the East Coast competing with robots of my own. But this past weekend, our own city of Philadelphia hosted NERC’s annual Franklin Cup, held in conjunction with the Franklin Institute. For this event I decided to continue the lineage of a long-standing family of NERC bots: ALF!

Now, this is the first robot I’ve built since I’ve moved to Philadelphia. My center-city apartment is about the size of a large phone booth and lacking any machine tools, so it’s obviously not a good workspace. The Hive, on the other hand, with its storage space, large work areas, and 24hr availability of tools and resources, was the perfect place to build. It may sound like a shameless plug, but the story of ALF would be incomplete without it.

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Hive76 @ Maker Faire NYC 2012

Hive76 sure made the rounds at this year’s Maker Faire. With 2 tables in the 3D Printing Village, we had a steady stream of visitors both


days, ranging from Chocolateers, Digital Artists, to young children asking about 3D printing toys and parts for their projects. Discussion started about 10 minutes after we left Maker Faire for what to do next year. Check out the album for some quick snapshots of this year’s events including Karaoke, Thumb Wrestling, and of course, the occasional interview.