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Makey Makey Featured Guide: Walk-on Maze

I’ve always felt interactive programmable floor mazes were just too… static. So why not make one you can take with you?! Actually, I just use multiple classrooms, so it was easiest to make a roll-up portable version that could be moved between rooms when we were working on it.

I’m pretty chuffed that my maze remix is featured and has been taken as the #CSEdWeek Hour of Code Challenge Day 3 by Makey Makey – and they made blog post about it.

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This is a take on the Makey Makey Journey, whereby two people walk along a conductive path – holding hands – to control a computer game. We made our own version with tinfoil tape (becoming one of my favourites) and plastic outdoor sheeting.

Testing_1

One path is wired to the Earth terminal, and the other to Space. The connection was a bit ropey at first, but we managed to find where it was dropping off and added some booster wires.

We used Scratch to make a circus game with a tightrope-walker and big top music. The featured guide is on Labz and Twitter, and explains it best. This includes a (hopefully funny) video.

Now, I’m away to frame my maze and stick it on a (large) wall in my parents’ house.

No more flicker

Over the past couple of weeks the flicker has been gradually reduced. I’ve now implemented my own buffering code, rather than using the built-in support, to eliminate it altogether. We now have a decent frame rate with smooth robot movements and no annoying background flicker.

PacMan! (updated with video)

JAKE isn’t just limited to robots and beepers. Since we have Movers in JAKE, we can create all sorts of objects, not just robots. It’s entirely possible to set up your own PacMan scenario, as in the video below:

I’ve already written about Ghosts. While working on the example programs to accompany JAKE, I’ve created a KillerGhost – a subclass of ghost that kills any robots it touches. All of this was done within the JAKE editor – it’s something (albeit difficult) that a student could do themselves without having access to the underlying JAKE Java code.

So we have a ghost that can kill robots. Since Movers can use different icons (using the name of a file in the same directory), we can also create a new PacMan class. This class is a type of Mover, so we can change its icon and give it move() and turnLeft() instructions. We can create methods on the controller (buttons) to move  our PacMan character about the maze. Since it’s a type of Mover, it can’t move into walls.
If we add extra beepers to the world, the PacMan object can pick them up to use as food (as in the original game).

Two simple programs (video)

These videos show the creation of two simple Java robot programs in JAKE, based on an earlier blog entry about creating control events.

The robot/wall graphics are a little choppy, but that seems to be something to do with mixing Java and the screen-capture software.