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Build mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles. Escape planet Eniac and discover how computers work.
Build mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles. Escape planet Eniac and discover how computers work.
4,198 backers pledged $404,071 to help bring this project to life.

Progress update numero uno

Posted by Paul Boswell (Creator)

Now that the Kickstarter is over, we're digging in and working hard to get Turing Tumble shipped to you as soon as we possibly can. I expect this will be a bit of an adventure. :) We'll try to bring you along with us through the experience. This is the first of many updates.

I (Paul) took a few months leave from my job to devote 100% of my time to Turing Tumble. It's been great and weird at the same time. Great because it's super fun! Weird because it's been nothing more than a hobby for a long time. I can't shake the guilty feeling that I'm skipping work to play video games all day. The commute is marvelous!

Part Tweaks

I started this week by making tweaks to just about every part. I ordered some new CNC milled prototypes on Friday to test the changes - they should arrive in a week or two. The most important change was to the stand.

New stand with 3 different tilt angles!
New stand with 3 different tilt angles!

I added slots for three different tilt angles so you can adjust the speed of your computer, and I made the stand sturdier as well.

I also added an arrow to the gear bit. Some of you noticed that it's hard to tell which way the gear bit is pointing.

Now you can tell which way it's pointing!
Now you can tell which way it's pointing!

I also shaved off a centimeter or two from the height of the board and I modified the ball release mechanism to make it sturdier and more reliable.

The Box

We've been giving a lot of thought to the box this week. What's the best way to pack everything in a limited space? I've never paid so much attention to boxes and vacuum molded parts in my entire life. 

The goal was to design a vacuum molded insert that has slots for each individual part. The thing is, if you've looked at most vacuum molded inserts, they're not usually very complicated. They have a few trays (maybe for a deck of cards or dice), but that's about it. In this game, though, there are a lot of parts, and the insert needs a slot for each one. Here's what I came up with. Hopefully it doesn't stretch the plastic too far. 

The vacuum form insert that will go inside the box
The vacuum form insert that will go inside the box

We considered chopping the board in half in order to make the box dimensions smaller, but it turns out that the unchopped dimensions are the perfect size. Any smaller and we'd have to layer inserts on top of each other.

On the top left, there's a spot for each of the 30 ramps and in the last row there are holders for each of the six crossovers. The right side has slots for the bits, gear bits, gears, and interceptors. Those are all recessed because the puzzle book will lay over them. And on top of the puzzle book, the two halves of the stand will lay. At the very bottom of the right-hand side of the insert, there's a funny-shaped hole for the presser (it sits upright) and a small tray for the balls.

There are also two big trays you can see there. A big one on the left and a smaller one on the right. When we ship the game, we'll probably have all the parts stored in bags held in those trays. We tested the tray sizes to see if they could fit all the parts. They can!

They all fit!
They all fit!

For those of you who ordered extra parts (or plan to later), you'll eventually be able to use the trays to store those parts.

Over the top of all this, we're thinking of having a layer of thick cardboard that rests on top of the parts so they don't come out when the box is shaken. On the top surface of the cardboard we'll have a picture of what's underneath, with all the parts in their places. We're thinking about how to give that cardboard piece a premium feel. Maybe it could be on a hinge of some sort?

And finally, the game board will rest on its back on top of the cardboard piece. I'm modifying the board to give it feet that lift it off the surface so that when it's laying on its back, the parts protruding out the back don't touch the surface it's laying on.

This week, the plan is to work on the box art. We're still trying to decide what it should look like - particularly on the front cover. Any ideas/opinions/thoughts on that?

Expect to get another update in a couple weeks about the backer survey. At that time you'll be able to get add-ons or additional copies of the game at Kickstarter pricing.

Thanks again! Much more to come.

Paul and Alyssa

K. Garcia, Maurice van Loon, and 56 more people like this update.


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    1. Michael D. Hensley

      @Yann: Shhhh! Don't tell everyone!

    2. Missing avatar

      Yann Vernier on

      What is this "original Turing Machine" people want put on the cover? The 1936 paper has no illustrations.

    3. Michael D. Hensley

      Is it to late to vote for the cover having the original Turing Machine and/or an Enigma? :)

    4. Catherine Villeret on

      @Paul, about Retro-fururistic and game description compatibility : I wouldn't think it would be that hard to blend the two ideas if you consider either a graphical representation of the board (like you could find in some 60's-70's vintage boxes) or a photoshop retro effect on the photo of the game...

    5. Nata Di on

      Thank you two for this update! :-) I´m so excited!

      My husband have an idea for the front cover: The original Turing Machine from 1936 & an Enigma Machine <3

    6. Paul Boswell Creator on

      Great ideas! Retro-futuristic it is. I think the real trick will be to figure out how to make it retro-futuristic while also being descriptive (e.g., showing a photo of the game itself on the cover). It's going to be a little tricky to cross the two.

    7. Missing avatar

      Stephen Weber on

      It would be a good idea to include a bag with a drawstring closure for the loose parts.

    8. Zak

      +1 for Steampunk
      If not, +1 for retro-futuristic style alas Tron or Casio Scientific Calculator (it IS a calculator)...
      But most probably it should fit the style in the comic book.

      Please, oh please, do NOT put a family playing in the box, neither front nor back... That's part of my past I don't want to relive XD

    9. Blake Thomson on

      Hi I'm an international backer, so due to decreased shipping fees I have an extra ten dollars in credit, am I able to turn my base turing table to a turing table++? Thanks!

    10. Matthew Kelling

      Looks absolutely stunning! My only comment would be a +1 to the idea that the parts need to stay in place if the box is given a light shake (or if it is stored standing up, etc.). Thanks for being amazing!

    11. Missing avatar

      Mark on

      Thank you very much for the update. It is most appreciated!

    12. Missing avatar

      Cynthia Kay on

      Paul, I am excited too!!
      I think the box should be simple
      Just the LoGo on front
      This way it is a carry case and easily noticed by the users!!

    13. Missing avatar

      Garrett Hartzog on

      For the cover art, one or more of the following concepts:

      - Charles Babbage
      - Steampunk
      - 70s/80s futuristic (or any "retro" futuristic design)

    14. Missing avatar

      riel on

      If it helps, the most intense plastic moulding I've used that is designed to hold pieces is the current spirograph.

      It works to hold the pieces and account for them, but as the pieces get smaller, it gets more difficult to get them in and out. For the smaller pieces i need to get a screwdriver or pen to pop them out.

    15. Missing avatar

      David Cooper on

      Front cover - obviously kids and family enjoying building/playing, with a background motif. Could be standard "family at home", but I was thinking retro-futuristic (aka original Tron), or, as this IS a mechanical computer, I could see Steampunk, if that's not too on the fringe of your market. All the best; and our kids 8, 6 & 4 are looking forward to the journey!

    16. GameGhost

      I'd love to see some retro-futuristic box art. This game has evoked feelings of a lot of great late 80s, early 90s games. I remeber growing up with all sorts of games that had physical interactive parts.

      Lining up the box art with the art in the puzzle book would also be nice.

    17. Adolph Pernal on

      Wow! Super impressive stuff. I'm so excited for this project to evolve and come to fruition. Have you ever seen the insert for Mech Vs. Minions? It was a genius design because it didn't matter what minion figure you put in the mold, it would fit. I think that (if possible) This project would benefit greatly from such an insert. That way we could choose to be as meticulous as we'd like. Sometimes it's hard to find the exact spot for a piece when you're trying to put it away causing a longer than needed tear down time.

      Just throwing out ideas.

      Great job so far!!!