The Inspiration for our project stems mainly from our combined enjoyment of the Circuits classes here at the University of Oklahoma. Most of us have taken some and sought for a better, more fun way to learn about circuits or simply practice for Circuits II. We also wanted to bring back an old time Nintendo feel for our project so we decided to take some inspiration from the first generation Pokémon games for the graphics. Creating a puzzle game to solve these circuits does just that so we all pitched in to create Retro Circuits!
What it does
What our application does is provide 10 levels of varying difficulty to help one get better at practicing basic circuits rules. You start at the main screen then move to the level selector. After you choose a level, you move on to observing a circuit and, based off of the voltage going into it as well as the set up of resistors in the circuit, you determine either the total resistance, the power dissipated at a point, or the resistance at a point. Once you connect the circuit, you can either retry or move on to the next level!
How we built it
We first started by using unity to set up buttons and labels that displayed all the information talked about prior. We then made all of the assets by hand using gimp and imported them into the project. Then we created the problems on paper to make sure they all worked. Finally, after connecting all of the assets and labeling all of the circuits, we made sure that all of the buttons were working and put in our answers. At this point, the last thing we did was ponder what we could do to make it better in the future.
Challenges we ran into
Our first challenge that we ran into was getting an idea going that we could actually start and build off of. Half of us were undecided on what we should do and we spent a good deal of time just deciding where to start. After talking and going to the brainstorming activity however, we were able to nail down what we wanted to do and started shortly afterward.
Another challenge we had was creating assets of the project. We use a simple background with 2 versions, a light and a dark, as well as 10 different circuits. All of these took quite a bit of time to make do to constantly fixing old designs and having to create the circuits in the first place. It took almost the entirety of the first day, but we were able to finish everything on time.
Lastly, a big challenge we had to get through was simply getting the code to work as we wanted in the amount of time we had. Initially, we planned on having a grid where the user could build a circuit while meeting certain constraints and that's how we would determine a win or not. It turned into, however, a simple page with labels and a single input box to write any answers in. If we had time, we would've went further, but to have a final project this is what we decided to do.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are all proud that we were able to come together and make a working project in the time allotted. Not everyone is able to finish every important step on time and we did! We are also proud with how it looks since it's exactly what we were looking for. It looks strikingly similar to a stretched Gameboy advance screen.
What we learned
We learned that it was definitely the right call to downgrade the question system and to stick with your needs first. We wanted to go above and beyond with a lot of aspects of our project, but since we were so limited on time it was difficult. For instance, we were going to add a Gameboy advance border to the screen along with a passive screen wobble and shake whenever you finish a circuit. These things turned out to take more than we thought so it was definitely a learning experience.
We also learned the importance of sound in the game. We initially didn't have any but it made it lose so much life that we decided we needed it. It took a couple of hours to find every sound clip we needed, but that just showed further how important a role it plays in games.
What's next for Retro Circuits
Next time we work on Retro Circuits, we plan on adding a tutorial button on the sign that helps the user understand what calculations they need to make for ease of access. We also plan on adding the Gameboy border and camera shake as well as a filter over everything to make it more realistic. Past that, Making a circuit builder and tester would be a nice next step for Retro Circuits.