New Game: Red January

I’ve really been enjoying my Blinks since they arrived this weekend. So far Puzzle 101 is my favorite title. I have 6 game ideas in my head that I am thinking through. I have 2 completely thought out that are ready for implementation. I’ve got nothing but positive feedback and excitement from my friends and family that I’ve discussed the games concepts with. I wasn’t sure if I could portray my vision for Red January into the Blinks platform though. I’ve done imbedded device programming before, but never Arduino. After two nights of coding, I have setup for both sets of blinks 90% done, player blink code 75%, and a basic skeleton of station blink code done, and taking 48/49% memory without doing any optimizations yet, I’m pretty sure I can make it work.

I’ve been writing code in a variety of languages on a variety of platforms for around 35 years. So from just the software development perspective, I should be fine. I might have some specific Arduino or Blinks specific questions though since I’m totally a n00b when it comes to those two :slight_smile: I spent my first night writing out a detailed file for Red January between helping my children with homework. I basically used the README file to help me articulate my idea and write out my user interactions. I find this is really helpful to be your first step. You get documentation out of the way, it helps you think through your idea, and it can be used as a requirements/design artifact you can reference as you write your code. With that being said, I think the easiest thing to do is to provide you Red January’s README file.

I’m open to feedback and suggestions to make it better. I have a basic game that is purely cooperative. I have an advance mode that gives you a little more gameplay options. There is a chance a saboteur may be among you. You also have the option to try to do “expert” repairs instead of regular repairs. Expert repairs provide an opportunity for station crew to get buffs and perform better, but also provides “cover” for the saboteur since both types of actions use the same button presses.

I’m hoping to have a working prototype people can try by next week. If I’m not done with it this weekend though, I probably won’t get a chance to work on it again until after Thanksgiving. Since this is just a copy & paste from my file, hopefully markdown syntax looks okay on this forum.

Red January

Save the space station orbiting the red planet.
A cooperative or semi-cooperative game for the Arduino based Blinks platform


The first model or prototype of any big engineering endeavor has it’s quirks and problems.
When mankind adventured to build 12 space stations orbiting the red planet Mars, the first
station, the prototype, Red January was no different. The first crew sent to man the station
struggled with hull breaches, system failures, power outages, fires,
and problems with life support.

You are now the replacement crew relieving the initial crew so they can have a much deserved
break from station life. Supposedly, your new crew is better trained and equipped to handle
these continuous series of unfortunate events. The fate of the entire RED program to build
twelve orbiting space stations around Mars lies in the hands of your team. If successful,
the plans will continue with the other 11 stations, beginning with the construction of
Red February, the second station. If you fail, the program will likely be scratched. Even
worse, failure could cost your team their lives.

To further complicate matters, the initial problems have stirred a divide between both
political and public support for the project. Intelligence warns there are subversive
elements trying to sneak a saboteur aboard the station to ensure the demise of the
RED program. We have implemented extra precautions and extensive screening of you and your
crew mates to ensure you are all of noble intentions and not affiliated with any of the
extremist groups.



Place all the blinks together into a single cluster. Have the Blinks learn to play Red January.
Then separate the blinks into 2 clusters. One cluster should have as many Blinks as the
number of players. The other cluster contains the remaining blink to form the space station.
When Making the space station cluster, keep in mind that players will have to connect and
remove their player blinks to the external faces of the station to fix the problems that

For the Red January space station blinks, double click any blink in the cluster to let them
know they are the Red January. They should begin to figure out among themselves the layout
of the station and light up the exterior.

For the blinks in the player cluster, single click a blink to let them know they are player blinks.

For an increased challenge, for blinks in the player cluster, LONG click a single blink instead
of a single short click to let them know they are player blinks, but have the chance one of
the player blinks turns out to be a saboteur. Once you have the player blinks apart, in secrecy
from other players, single click your blink. If nothing but white is shown, you are a normal
crew member. If you see a mix of white and red, then you are the saboteur.

In either difficulty mode, each player needs to LONG click their player blink to ready up for the
game. Once all players are ready, one player needs to single click a Red January blink, to start
the game.


Single click your player blink to change your crew members equipped toolset:

Color Toolset
BLUE Life Support/Oxygen
YELLOW Electrical
MAGENTA Critical Systems
WHITE Welding Torch
RED Fire Extinguisher

During the game, the Red January will experience a series of problems. Crew members will need to
remedy the problem using an equipped tools set matching the color of the problem. With the right
toolset equipped, connect your player blink to the Red January blink with the problem. Leave it
connected until the problem indicator goes away and the space station blink returns to normal.
The longer the condition existed, the longer it will take to repair. Once repaired, you can remove
your player blink.

If playing the challenge mode, players may double click their blink before connecting to Red
January to perform the repair. You don’t have to double click, doing so may have the following effect:

Percentage Possible Outcome
40% No change, just a normal repair
20% You repair this malfunction 20% faster
20% That Blink is 20% less likely to malfunction until its next malfunction
20% That failure type is 20% likely to occur until it’s next occurrence

If playing the challenge mode and you are a saboteur, double clicking your blink will do one of:

Percentage Possible Outcome
??% Repair this malfunction 20% slower
??% Make this blink of Red January more likely to have it’s next malfunction
??% Make this failure type more likely to occur
??% Auto trigger a follow on malfunction when this one is resolved
??% Auto trigger the malfunction to spread to a neighboring blink
??% ??? We’re thinking up more options

Sometimes, malfunctions can get worse. They can either spread to a neighboring section of the
space station or they can trigger a follow on malfunction once they are repaired. The various
ship malfunctions are:

Color Description Follow on (cascading) malfunction types
BLUE Lack of oxygen Fire
YELLOW Power Loss / Electrical Fire
MAGENTA Critical System failure Power loss
WHITE Hull Breach Lack of Oxygen
RED Fire Lack of Oxygen, Hull Breach, Critical System Failure

To reset the blinks, put the player blinks into their own cluster.
Long press each station and player blink and they should reset to their red display
awaiting for you to start station and player setup again


Oh this sounds fun! What do you think about adding a Spaceteam element, wherein players need to obtain tools from other players before they can make the repair? Rather than being able to cycle through tools, each player is assigned one tool color. When a blink on the station malfunctions, it can signal both the tool color needed and the player required to fix it. For example, two red flashes means player two needs to use the red tool. If player two doesn’t have the red tool, they need to link up with the correct player to swap before being able to repair the malfunction.

Of course this would require the station blinks to know how many players there are, and would possibly limit the number of malfunctions/tools to the number of players. But it might add a bit more frantic fun to the game! Just a thought!

what a cool game idea! I look forward to seeing it develop :slight_smile: