Turing Tumble Progress Update #4: Turing Tumble VR?!?
Thanks for filling out the post-Kickstarter survey! Ninety percent have done it, which is great! If you haven't done it yet, please fill it out as soon as you can. It's important because it's how we get your shipping address.
On to the update. And at the end I'll show you something really, REALLY cool. :)
It feels like we've made a ton of progress since the last update. One big step was a trip to GenCon in Indianapolis, where I met with LongPack Games (our manufacturers) to show them the prototype and talk through a variety of manufacturing details. I met with Cy, our project manager, and Dave Snyder, who has been sort of our account rep and injection molding consultant in one. Here they are:
We talked for two hours. Cy brought the prototype back with him to China as an example to show the engineers how things should work in the end. I brought a white copy of the book back to MN so I could take its measurements and finish designing the box.
We decided it would be smart to hold off on creating the injection molds until after that meeting and I think it was a good idea. The 3D printed version of the game they'd made didn't work right - I think the board was printed at a slightly different scale than the parts, so the parts didn't turn easily and there was some confusion as to how everything was supposed to work and fit together. Now that they have the prototype, they totally get it. Yesterday, we sorted out one final issue and creation of the injection molds has OFFICIALLY begun!
One issue we talked about at GenCon was the packaging. Cy thought those pockets I had on the lid to hold the board supports wouldn't be very sturdy and he thought they would also take a significant amount of assembly time to glue on, which would slow down production. He thought it would be better to have a second tray that holds the board supports on top of the first tray. I resisted, but he convinced me. :) So I went back and changed it. Here's the new design, now also with the correct book dimensions:
The second vac tray shown in the picture above is glued to a chipboard separator. I think it will be quite sturdy. The holes should make it easy to put your fingers in and pull it out.
The following picture shows how the board will fit onto the top tray.
Tooling will be more expensive for these trays than we expected. Apparently, due to the tight tolerance requirements for the plastic trays, they're going to need to make the molds from aluminum rather than the plaster they normally use. I think it's worth it. I 3D printed sections of the bottom tray to make sure the parts fit correctly and can't fall out, even if there's a small gap above them. They slip in with such a satisfying 'clink'!
And here are four small sections of the bottom tray (mashed together) that hold the other four types of parts. They're not going anywhere.
I finished creating the other nine puzzles! Woohoo! Now there are 60 in all. Some of them lower the learning curve for the earlier puzzles a bit and the others add more challenging puzzles. Those of you who wanted more of the hard puzzles, you got your wish!
Jiaoyang also finished making edits to the comics. The comics are complete now, though the text still requires a small bit of editing. They look *great* in print. I think you'll be impressed - she did a fantastic job. Here's a teaser of another page from the comics:
I also added a page about how the mechanical computer compares to an electrical computer. I still plan to add a page about Alan Turing (I'm reading his biography right now), but other than that, the content of the book is complete. And that feels good. Really good. Jiaoyang and I put a ridiculous amount of time and thought into that book. It's sitting at 116 pages now.
As I said before, we started working with a company named Mackey Creative here in MN to design the box art. They've done an outstanding job. Last week they gave us six drafts of ideas for the front panel of the box. Here's the one we like best:
Now keep in mind that this is just a draft. The copy will also change. For instance, it's not going to say, "Code your own...", it will say, "Build your own..." and so on, but we like the feel of the design a lot.
Next, they're going to contract an illustrator to turn the image of the board and the hand into a highly realistic illustration that fades off on the top into more of an architectural/vectory/computery image. We're really excited to see what they make! It'll probably be a few weeks until we get the final image, but we'll be sure to show it to you.
Mackey is also working on the back and sides of the box. We sent a rough design over yesterday with the copy we want and they're going to make it look better. Well, a LOT better. We're excited to see that, too. And Jiaoyang is currently illustrating a more polished version of the image of Alia on the front cover.
Turing Tumble VR
And now on to the main event. This is amazing.
You might remember from a previous update Lode Vandevenne, who created a wonderful web-based Turing Tumble emulator. Now meet Tom Verdier, who created a virtual reality one. Tom is a backer from France, living in Paris and working as a freelance developer. He said he didn't want to wait until January to get his copy of Turing Tumble because he was "way too impatient to play it", so he programmed a virtual reality version of the game that simulates a 50-foot board. He sent me a video of him playing it. He wanted me to make sure I mention that it is just a rough, alpha version. He is thinking about making a variety of improvements in the future.
So, without further ado:
In order to do this, Tom created his own 3D models of all the parts, which he gathered from the Kickstarter video and gifs, he created a user interface, and he used PhysX to handle the physics simulation. But apparently, he had to write a lot of his own code for the physics simulation because PhysX wasn't able to handle it quite right. I know I'm impressed! It could be a great way to share puzzles or heck, it could be turned into a full game.
Here's a little information about Tom:
I was born in 1980, and started programing computers at the age of 7. It was basic GFA, on an Atari 520 ST. One of my grandfathers was a math teacher specially interested in logic and the other was creating electronic devices. Both taught me very early the boolean logic and digital electronic fundamentals.
Last few year and until January 2017, I was a full time web developer, programing mostly in PHP and on the server side. I tried a VR headset on a friend’s PC in March 2016 and as been totally amazed by it’s fully immersive effect and by it’s potential at large, leading me to start and develop for VR high end headsets in January 2017.
As I felt in love with TuringTumble concept and design, I programmed a VR simulation of it targeting the HTC Vive Headset and controllers, allowing me to play to this great thing few month before I could get it. My simulation is based on 3D Models I recreated from TT project page’s gifs and video, thus a little different from the original.
It's been so fun working on Turing Tumble the last couple months and getting to know some of you. Thanks again for making this adventure possible.
Paul and Alyssa