That could have gone better....


This component (the joystick) actually worked quite well, which is more than the rest of the system did.

I have strong opinions on the subject of software development. There are two things that I'm very keen on:

  • Make sure that you sort out any "stoppers" (things that must be there for your system to work) as soon as possible during a project.
  • Don't make any assumptions about what you are making.

Well, what's the point of making rules if you don't break them yourself every now and then?

One major stopper would be if the controller was unable to talk to the control elements. The idea is that you have to plug your fire button and joystick into sockets on the controller and during gameplay the sockets will fail and you will have to switch to other ones. In other words, a big part of the game is plugging and unplugging elements of the controller. It's kind of important that this works.  I'd assumed this would just work. It didn't. Plugging in a controller element caused the Arduino to crash, probably because as the plug goes into the socket it makes contact with power and ground signals and shorts them out.

In a sensible world I'd have checked this all out right at the start, before building anything else. In my world I left it until the last minute to find out that my choice of hardware had doomed our project. Oh well. We did win a special "Judges Award" prize - Most Ambitious Failure. The controller will rise again. I'll post some pictures once I've got a design I'm happy with. 

The judging passed off very well, with our judges doing a sterling job, going round each team in turn. Each team had to make a 3 minute pitch for their entry, which was videoed. I'll post videos, pictures and full details in an event report later in the week, once I've got all the pictures back. I wasn't able to take any snaps of the winners as I was helping with the presentations and didn't have my camera with me. 

Anyhoo, the whole affair was most excellent and everyone was very keen to do it all again. And I reckon that, since Grimsby College have been kind enough to come north of the river to visit us for the past two years, we should travel south next year and hold the Gamejam over there - if they would be happy to put up with us. With a bit of luck and a following wind, we can make that happen. 

Here's to 2015, and thanks again to everyone:: sponsors, organizers, judges, camera guys, security guards, pizza "disher-outers", general "make it workers" and of course the competitors, who made it so memorable.