Spell Dev Log: 0.1.3

Here is another… SPELL UPDATE!
The reason Spell development has slowed was due to finals week at my school. Finally (sorry, that was bad) I can go back to working on Spell.

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However, several things have changed since the last update. The largest change is that a new person has joined our team. AlphaBetaR is the new official graphics designer of Spell. He has created artwork for the character sprite (no more rectangles!) and he has created art for each of the elements of the game. He plans on creating the graphics for each spell as well.

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Another, huge update is that the hardware for the server has arrived! It only cost $9, and should allow up to 10 players on at a time, maybe more. I would need testers to test that. Also, there is experimental server code that has been written by me. It will be running on the new server sometime on Thursday. Right now, it is somewhat glitched as people don't ever disconnect, so a 'ghost' version of them is left on the screen which requires a server restart to fix. I will hopefully fix this by Friday.

So far, the server support the joining of players, and the movement. Spells cannot be implemented until we have an image file to render. Still, it is pretty good progress, considering how much time making games usually takes.

Spells and spell bias also were implemented by EpicMittMitt. He had been pushing lots of code recently, since I haven't had much time. Spell bias shows which element the player prefers more. If you use mostly fire based moves, your fire bar goes up and other bars go down. This is a good step towards completion of the game, and now very few aspects need to be worked on!

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When I say spells were implemented, I mean they were implemented except for actually seeing them. As in, in the code they are rendering, but we have no image to render it to. This means that nothing appears on screen, but stuff is happening behind the scenes. You can see your input on screen.

Our plans for now include:

  1. Adding better graphics
    For this, all we need are 4 backgrounds for each of the maps we plan on releasing in March. After that, we need one for each Spell, which is a lot of art.
  2. Adding XP Orbs
    These XP orbs are so that if there is nobody else on to fight, you can still level up and grind your character for levels.
  3. Working up the multiplayer.
    We need spell support, and player deaths. This one will take a bit of time, but it should be completed by the due date.
  4. Gamepad Support
    Gamepad support would be cool for all of the people who play super smash bros. After all, this game borrows some of the 2d platformer aspect from it, and some people prefer a gamepad to a mouse.

All of these need to be finished by version 0.2 Alpha. After that, we will have an official release. However, we need your help! If you have any suggestions, email them to me, or make a Github Account. Then, on our repository, create an issue.
Here is a link: Click Here

I have one question for anyone who is reading this: What platforms would you like Spell to be supported?
That's about it for this Spell Update! The game will be out soon!

Building a Robotic Arm for Cheap: Part 1

This year, I am participating in Science Olympiad. Science Olympiad is basically a yearly competition, where students from around the country compete to do the best in their event. This year I picked robotic arm.

I haven’t done many things like this before. The arm hasn’t been built yet, so this blog will be like progress updates. Each update I will share pictures, possible parts, and later, video of the arm in action.

So, back to the arm. There are a few main components: motors, microprocessor, battery, and frame. All of these fit together to create one cohesive product that can be very efficient, and powerful. I’ll explain them one by one.

Motors. You have definitely have heard of these and used these in your life. However, what you may not know is that there are different types of motors. The different types of motors are servo, DC, and stepper. DC is the kind most people are familiar with. Give it power and it spins. More power = faster spin. Unfortunately, using this in a robotic arm is very unwieldy. You cannot keep it steady, because it would start to fall down the moment it stopped spinning. They are unwieldy, and not suited to a fragile arm.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/DC_Motor.jpg

The best motor to use is the servo motor, or servo for short. Servos are good for an arm because instead of giving it power and it spins according to power, you give it power and an angle. This lets you have infinite control over the motor, because while it has power, it will try to stay at that angle, useful when you go to pick something up. Then when the arm dips down, it will be able to hold that position without jittering.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Servomotor_01.jpg

What is a microprocessor? If you have read my previous post, you may recall that a processor is in a computer, and that it does calculations. Well, a microprocessor is just a smaller weaker processor. Why do you need one? To control the position of each motor as it receives data from the controller.

The microcontroller I am using in my arm is the Arduino board. It is cheap if you buy it off brand, and it is reliable. The huge community built around it means that someone else has already done what you might be struggling with. The Arduino board is programmed in a language called Arduino-lang, which is very similar to C. C is an advanced programming language, along with being one of the oldest.

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Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Arduino_Uno_-_R3.jpg

There is one more thing which I haven’t covered quite yet: what a shield is for an Arduino. An Arduino shield is like an accessory that lets the Arduino do more. In our case, I bought a servo shield, which lets me plug in servos without doing and complicated soldiering or splicing. The shield automates the power distribution, and it makes it easier to control the servos.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/Arduino_Protoboard_Shield.jpg

I will write another post as I get closer and closer to finishing the arm. It will cover the frame, the battery, and some of the code required to use the arm. See you all next post!

Ajusa

Today I am excited to announce that after 4 snow days of hard work, ajusa alpha will be released soon. It has a blue and white color scheme. The logo will be done by our very own FunnyWabbit. More info to come soon.

B-GAV

I am here to officially announce that G-BAV is finally finished and working. G-BAV (Ground Based Automatic Vehicle) was designed by MittMitt, Sathvik, and I as an offensive remote controlled drone with a video feed. We succeeded in making an indoor and out door version. Too see more about the robot, click on the G-BAV page at the top.

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