It was a fun way to test the LED matrix and also show how useful these small LED matrixes actually are!
The project also got my interested in other ways to create more advanced Arduino games and maybe even some kind of Arduino Game System.
As a start I made a new Arduino Breakout Game using a small tv screen as the display. For this project I used the Arduino TVout library to generate a composite video signal in software.
I will be making another blog post about this game at some point, but for now all I have is some pictures and a video of the ball movements from when I started making the game.
Arduino Game System
After working on the Breakout Game above I wanted to start working on a more dynamic game system. This new system will have a start menu where you can choose what game to play, display high scores etc.
I usually only write about my projects after they are finished, but since I have had some very nice feedback on the initial images and videos I have shared on both my Facebook and Instagram pages, I have decided to make a blog series about the project while I am working on.
This blog series will not be a regular tutorial or How-To, but instead give an insight into what I am working on, the difficulties I encounter, the possible solutions to potential problems and the design choice I make.
Stay tuned for the first blog post which will include the schematics and the base code for my first Arduino Game System.
Until then here is a short video of the Arduino game I am currently working on.
In this blog post I will present you to a simple no-soldering way to add jumper strips to you dc motors.
This method can be used when you just want to try out a new idea or if you are a beginner with no soldering iron.
For more permanent connections, soldering could however be required.
What you need:
dc motor: the motor you want to connect to your project
2 x jumper wires: make sure one of the ends (male/female) fits to where the motor should be connected later
Step 1: Strip off insulation
First we have to clip off one of the ends of the wire. Make sure that you clip off the right head, and not the one you need later to connect the motor to your project!
After removing the end, strip off 2-3 cm insulation.
The wire is now ready to be attached to the dc motor.
Step 2: Attach wire to motor
Insert wire through hole at motor.
Fold the wire back onto itself and twist it together.
Be careful with this part. The metal connectors on the motors can be quite fragile, so don’t move then around to much.
Add a small piece of gaffe tape to strengthen the connection.
Repeat step 1-2 for the second wire.
Tips and tricks
Congratulations you have now added jumper wires to your dc motor!
Using this method you can now connect your motor to a male/female header on your project.
Remember that the connectors on the motor can be fragile, so you should be careful not to pull to much in the wires after they have been connected. You could also tape the wire to the side of the motor to decrease the chance of pulling off the metal connectors.
September is here, which means no more vacation and lots of studying!
And of course also new Friday Videos here at Maker Tech 😉
I am currently working on projects about getting different kinds of tv outputs from the Arduino. Mainly for games but the same tricks could of course also be used for other applications 🙂
So todays videos are also about graphics. Old school graphics.
How old school graphics worked – by 8-Bit Guy
I found this 8-Bit Guys channel on youtube some time ago. He has a lot of interesting videos, but the three below are especially good if you are into graphics, retro gaming, programming tricks and so on.
They are also really good to watch if you want to do graphics on a small micro controllers like the Arduino etc..
From the videos you get an insight into what simple tricks were used to create relatively complex graphics with a small processor.
In this post you will find details on how to start making your own 8×8 LED matrix Arduino breakout game.
The gameplay is simple but still entertaining because of the different ways the ball bounces when hitting the paddle.
L: move paddle left.
R: move paddle right.
Action: release the ball
Increases speed of game for each game won (max. three times).
Blinking sad and happy smiley for when you lose or win the game
Ball bounce in the different ways depending on where on the paddle it hits:
In the middle: ball bounces directly upwards
On either end of the paddle: ball continues in same x-direction but the y-direction changes. Exception: If the balls x-direction was 0 is will be changed to either -1 if it hits paddle on the left and 1 if it hits the paddle on the right.
On either side of the paddle (not directly over the paddle): ball bounces back to the direction it came from. Changes both the x- and y-direction.
It is only possible to hit all the bricks by combining the different ways the ball can bounce.
This is mainly a software project and thus only require a few parts.
1 x Arduino Uno
1 x Adafruit Small 1.2″ 8×8LED Matrix w/I2C Backpack – Pure Green
3 x 6 mm tactile switches (buttons)
3 x 10 kΩ resistors
Solderless Breadboard (830 point)
You can also use a LED matrix without the backpack, but this will require additional code and connections. I will try to make a post with inspiration on how to do this at a later time – but it is a more advanced project.
Circuit and schematics
9: L button
8: R button
7: Action button
A4: I²C D (data)
A5: I²C C (clock)
Bellow is photo, illustration and schematics of the connections and circuit. Hopefully this will be enough for you to assemble it correctly. Do not hesitate to leave a comment if you need additional information 🙂
Make the game harder by decreasing the size of the paddle after a certain number of wins.
Add a scoring system to the game.
Make it possible to move the paddle before sending the ball on its way.
Bring the prototype to the next level and make some kind of case for the game.
Add sound effects
Tired of playing the same game over and over? Why not make a full-blown 8×8 LED Matrix handheld gaming console? Snake, pong, space invaders, car game, Simon Says, Tetris or maybe even an adventure maze game?
For information about how to install the backpack to the LED matrix, and how to install the needed libraries, checkout Adafruits own guide here.
Maker Faires were first created by Make: Magazine in 2006 with the purpose to “celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset”.
Since then it has grown into many Maker Faires being held around the year all over the world.
They are about showing off what makers are making, being inspired, getting ideas, being amazed and maybe even learning a new thing or two.
And they are about meeting other makers.
Makers, Maker Movement and Maker Faire
The Maker Movement is all about sharing and learning from each other. And we can do this easily with the internet.
But gathering lots of makers in a Maker Faire makes it even easier to share. Especially between active makers and all the potential new makers who visit the faire.
Knowing where to look for information can be tricky if you are new to the Maker Movement. By attending a Maker Faire this gets a lot easier, because you have direct access to lots of makers!
What is on display at a Maker Faire?
If it can be and has been made by someone, then it might also be found at a Maker Faire.
Beginner projects. Advanced projects. Useful projects. Useless projects. Art projects. Using all kinds of materials for all kinds of purposes.
Can I attend?
Everyone can attend one of the many Maker Faires around the world.
You can attend as a guest and just walk around and experiencing the ambiance of the Faire. Or you might even want to try some of the things on display. Some places it is even possible to just walk in and start making something yourself!
For those who make things themselves it is also possible to attend as a maker, and get a booth where you can display you projects.
The Maker Movement is about learning how things work and building things ourselves. And it is about sharing.
Sharing our learnings and projects with others can keeps us motivated for learn more. At the same time what we share can also help others to learn, build and further sharing.
By building maker communities which focus on sharing we are democratization both knowledge and technology. We are all makers!
How did the Maker Movement start, and where did it come from?
Humans have always been makers. We are curious by nature and this curiosity has helped invent both fire, the wheel and radios and it has send men to the moon.
However what we might think of as the Maker Movement and the democratization of knowledge and technology is relatively new.
I remember when I was 14-15 years old, and it took an hour to download one mp3 song. We had to do it in secret, since we were not allowed to be online for that long because of the extra cost it would add to our phone bill.
The knowledge sharing that is happening is only possible because of the internet connections we have today. And because of how many actually have access to the internet today.
The Maker Culture and access to machines
With the internet came easier knowledge sharing. But the new Maker Movement is also a result of cheaper hardware, machines and other components.
Lower costs on different machines has made it easier to create Fab Labs, hackerspaces etc. around the world. Where everyone can join and get access to 3D printers, laser cutters, cnc machines and meet and learn from each other.
Some places might require a paid membership, while others are free to use. But in both cases many people now has access to machines which previously was reserved for large companies and specialists.
Before long we might even have more of these machines in our own homes? The price of some 3D printers is already low enough for this to happen.
Arduino and Raspberry Pi
Cheaper computers and components has also cleared the way for products such as the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi (and many more microcontroller boards and micro computers like them).
And with the Arduino IDE it was also made much easier for just about everyone to start programming a microcontroller. Further development such as an extension of Scratch for the Arduino has made this even easier for people of all ages.
In 2005 the first Make: magazine was published. Make: is a about do-it-yourself and do-it-with-others projects involving electronics, robotics, woodworking, computers, 3D printing and much, much more.
To celebrate the Makers and the do-it-yourself mindset, Make: held the first Maker Faire in 2006. Since then it has grown and many Maker Faires are of different sizes are held around the world each year.
Everyone can join, learn and build
The internet, Fab Labs and hackerspaces and the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, has made it easier for everyone to start making and sharing.
With the Make: magazine and the Maker Faires these possibilities has gotten even more visual than ever.
The result is clear. Everyone can join, learn and build.
We are all makers!