Got something you wish Blinks could do and think it’s possible? This is the place to let us know!
The ribbon cable between the ISP and jig has a 2x5 pin connector, and the cable continues onto the 2x3 connector. Is it possible to extend the 2x5 to another 2x3 (new ribbon cable w/ connectors) that could be used to connect to another jig for parallel flashing? Ken
To allow for parallel programming, the programmer would need to be a little more sophisticated than simply running the same 6 pins(VCC, GND, MOSI, MISO, SCK, RST). There are gang programmers and a number of ways to make them, but I imagine your main interest is to allow you to update all of your Blinks with less manual labor. For that, I have detailed the solution we are working towards here.
Right, of course, the update protocol itself would have to accommodate parallel programming (more than electrically connecting)… (shaking my head now on what was i thinking). Look forward to shortening the code-test-debug cycle.
Sound would be great. even if not polyphonic.
Vibration would be cool but it probably would drain the battery fast
usb/induction charging which would allow vibration feature as battery would not be an issue anymore
Top of my head wishlist:
- Sound - Beeps and boops are better than nothing
- Better neighbor light shielding - Light spilling from segment to segment is pretty high and detracts from the useable color range
- Seventh, center light - A seventh light in the center of the tile would be pretty useful for some games, I think
I also like the ideas for vibration and an embedded rechargeable battery.
I second all of these in this order:
- Light shielding
- Center light
- Induction charging (although it would not be good if one would have to replace a Blink once the rechargeable battery inevitably loses its charge)
- Vibration (unless this means one has to charge the blinks too often. Battery life is key! Things like this don’t get played with if they aren’t ready to go whenever you feel like playing. Nothing is a more annoying/demotivating interaction than having to first charge something before you can use it.)
BTW, I am now using a new prototype speed-dev blink that lets you vastly speed up your dev cycles! It is a special blink with the programming cable permanently attached, so you never have to fiddle with batteries or pogo pins.
There is also a new version of the firmware that automatically starts a download seed after the blink is programmed, so it is possible to hit the "upload’ button in the Arduino IDE and have a group of blinks running your fresh code a few seconds later without touching anything. It has made me significantly more productive.
If you are handy with a soldering iron and have a blink you are willing to cut the rubber top off of, then you can make one of these now. LMK if you want more info!
For anyone looking for a hacking project, it is possible to add sound and/or vibration to a blink with with a tiny bit of soldering. It involves attaching a tiny speaker or vibration motor to one of the debug port pins, and then writing code to drive it.
I am guessing this request is really for all blinks to have sound and/or vibration, but if you just want to play around or you have a specific thing you are thing to make happen, this could be a way to get there.
I think this post belongs here.
Some days ago, trying to find ESP32 boards on aliexpress, I just found this, that is essentialy a square “blink” with screen, USBc and no battery, it even has IR led:
That made me think about having this on a blink, not all blinks, but a master blink with a hexagonal led matrix for showing numbers.
That can be a good adition, just to have one blink in your collection able to show you scores for example.
Ir can be cool to have “expansion” blinks:
- Speaker blink.
- Screen blink.
Edit: Looking a little bit more on the manufacturer, I founded just what I was saying, a hex led matrix: https://m5stack.com/collections/m5-unit/products/hex-rgb-led-board-sk6812
@Confus3d I think that this is a pretty cool idea. An easy way to see the current score, game timer, and other more abstract game concepts would really open up the door to some more complex games. I also think that audio adds a tremendous amount to the immersion factor for games. Perhaps another way to approach this would be a blink that could send and receive Bluetooth signal from the blinks to an app on mobile. This functionality would be completely optional and would allow for the easy display of game information and the triggering of sound loops, background music, etc. Games interaction mechanics could be configured app side so it would even be possible to make it backwards compatible for existing blinks games. Also, you wouldn’t have to sacrifice precious blink memory space to store audio or visual information. It could all be stored on the app. The app would also allow for a greater opportunity to display game art and other thematic elements to up the immersion. It could also provide a simple central location to store game information / rules / etc. From a marketing standpoint, Move38 could use the app to market it’s newest game release directly to their customers.
I might be alone on this, but I think I really honestly prefer the simplicity of Blinks as they currently are - working around all of the constraints, including the display, makes designing games much more fun - I can spend more time focusing on gameplay and far less time worrying about artwork. Though I guess an “expansion” blink that features a screen or a speaker would be just fine.
The talk of adding a screen is actually reminding me of a product, Sifteo, that was made a while back, but didn’t really take off:
@jrcwest brings up a good point about developer perspective. As it stands today, it is really pretty simple to develop new games for blinks and the barriers to entry in becoming a developer are pretty low. I speak from experience as someone with no programming background and relatively minimal computer experience who is currently developing several blinks projects. I think this low barrier to entry will hopefully allow a large and robust developer community to form. Any additional functionality added such as audio cues and screen based visual feedback may make the skillset needed to create a blinks game much higher. I can’t say that I have much audio engineering or artistic ability, so upping this functionality would make it a lot harder for someone like me to develop for the platform (at least on my own). I guess I’m a bit conflicted because as a blinks player, I think that audio and screen based visual feedback would be awesome, but as a developer I know that I probably don’t have the skillset to develop with this functionalty. Just something to keep in mind I guess when discussing new platform additions.
Sifteo cubes actually look pretty cool! Especially for their time! I’m going to guess that their downfall was the price point. It’s hard to compete with traditional game consoles for value or game library when you start creeping up towards that price point.
@TheGoodSire I should walk back my comment a bit… your response actually kind of pointed something out about my perspective as a game designer that I really need to work on - my focus has always really been about the game rules and interactions. If you ever look at the prototypes I share on here, I rarely put much effort into the graphics - just enough to make game conditions understandable. That being said, I realize there’s a ton of potential for people who might be more artistically focused, and having that kind of focus adds a TON to the game. The extra polish @Confus3d puts into his rule books is a good example of this.
You’re also right in that adding a more complicated piece of hardware adds to a steeper learning curve, but you certainly can get a better payoff. Once more I feel like the livestream from yesterday about animations really hammers that in - Dynamo was stupid simple in it’s animations when I first shared it, but having Dan’s help with graphics code made it feel much more like a “thing”. I’m trying to actively do that myself now with my newer prototypes.
Point being, while I personally don’t have a whole lot of interest in a blink with a screen, I could definitely see some really cool applications for developers who have a more artistic mindset.
@jrcwest @TheGoodSire I agree with both! The good point about blinks is simplicity, so that said, I don’t think something like sifteo cubes could fit, but, something like the thing I posted can fit pretty well and even be ported easily to blinks (I’m even thinking on making a hat with that led matrix for a blink) also the board used has 4MB of memory, so can store all the graphics, and be independent of the other blinks! And is also based on Arduino (is a ESP32 board with WiFi and Bluetooth, and is pretty cheap)
Also about complexity, with only the LEDs, can be done easily with code, just as the color on face, but with more pixels!
@Confus3d Here we are discussing blink functionality additions in a purely hypothetical sense and you already have plans to make a potential prototype! That’s is so awesome!!! I bet you could implement some epic animations on something like that! Perhaps an official retail version could come with a bunch of pre-programmed animations which could be triggered based on input from neighboring blinks. If it has WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities you could also potentially update and change the animations on the board wirelessly too. If you decide to go down the prototype route I’d definitely love to see what you come up with!
@TheGoodSire I know nothing about development, I don’t think I can do anything like that!
But anyway I just bought one cause I was searching for a ESP32 board to make another project and is kind of cheap!
The point is just the idea of a blink with hexagonal matrix of LEDs, I think it can be pretty awesome!
BTW, can blinks output current trough the serial Port?
@Confus3d That makes sense! Haha I had thought that would have been pretty technically difficult which is why I was surprised! Regardless, I do think that the LED matrix idea is pretty solid and would definitely open up the possibility for many new game mechanics and interesting game animations.
There are 2 things I would really love in a Blink:
1 - More storage space. And i do not even mean anything outrageous here. Say 10 Kb instead of ~5kb. Considering what a blink does, managing the ~300 bytes of memory available is actually ok as long as you know what you are doing, but storage space can fill up pretty quickly and hinders up debugging bigger games.
2 - More leds. I would love an entire face full of little leds that you could basically draw what you want on it but, realistically speaking, even adding a few extra leds would definitely make for more interesting animations. Say, add an extra inner ring of leds (i.e. another 6). In fact, if you could put a single led on top of the button, that would already open up the animation space considerably.