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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.

Turing Tumble Progress Update #7: Our Pre-Production Sample Arrived!

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Hello friends! Today we have two fun bits of news:

1. We will release the virtual pack on Monday the 13th. For those of you who get the Virtual Pack as part of your reward level or as an add-on, we're going to "lock down" your order on BackerKit that same morning. "Locking down" your order means that you won't be able to add or remove items from your order from that point on. So if you'd like to add or remove anything from your order, please remember to do so before Monday.

2. Yesterday was a very big day - the first complete sample of the game arrived! Injection molded parts and all. Here's the unboxing:

The package when it arrived. So exciting!
The package when it arrived. So exciting!

I was anxious and excited - will the box look any good? Will the plastic parts work right? Will the game have a good quality feel?

You can start to see a little bit of the game box through the bubble wrap...
You can start to see a little bit of the game box through the bubble wrap...

LongPack Games already warned us of a few issues. Apparently the box was unavoidably scuffed when they stretched paper over it, so we will have to add a matte lamination to the surface to prevent that. Also, the injection molded parts aren't the correct color - they were made with some randomly colored plastic that the molder had on hand at the time. They are also still rough - they didn't remove the machine marks and they didn't add any texture yet.

Looks good so far!
Looks good so far!

I was surprised to see the spot varnish on the box. I expected that this version of the box would just be inkjet printed, but it actually looks like a final product.

The picture doesn't do it justice. It looks GREAT!
The picture doesn't do it justice. It looks GREAT!

I was shocked at how nice the box looked when I pulled it out. It looks and feels amazing! Here are some more pictures of it:

You can see a little of the spot varnish on the hand.
You can see a little of the spot varnish on the hand.

 

The teal stripe around the outside looks great.
The teal stripe around the outside looks great.

 When I opened it up, here's what it looked like on the inside:

The board sits on top. It's pretty rough at this point in the process.
The board sits on top. It's pretty rough at this point in the process.

You can see all sorts of machine marks on the surface of the board. Those will go away when they put the final touches on the injection molds. One real problem, though, is that the board is warped. If you look along the far edge, you can see the board bows down. That's likely caused by the injection molding process. When the plastic cools, it shrinks, which can cause it to deform. Fortunately there are things molders can do to reduce warpage, so hopefully they will solve that problem in the next iteration.

I pulled the board off the top and it looked like this:

After taking the board out...
After taking the board out...

The board supports will be black in the final version. Here they're dirty white and the rubber feet haven't been added yet. Also, you'll notice the circles in the top vacuum tray aren't cut out. You should be able to stick your fingers through them to pull off this layer. They're planning to do that in the next iteration.

The board supports fit together nicely.
The board supports fit together nicely.

 

The board fit onto the supports perfectly.
The board fit onto the supports perfectly.

 Down to the next layer. I took off the top vac tray and this is what I found:

The plastic parts!!!
The plastic parts!!!

The parts didn't stay in their spots, but I think that's ok. When the game is shipped to you, the parts will all be in bags inside the two big trays. It's only after you take out all the parts and put them in their individual holes that they could possibly shake out of their spots. Even so, I did my own shake test where I put all the parts in their spots, closed the box, and shook it around as hard as I could. Only a few parts came out of their slots and they didn't move far. Certainly the game could be stored on its side or even upside down and the parts would all stay in their places. You probably couldn't store your game in a paint mixer, though.

At this point, I started putting the board together and testing all the parts, so I completely forgot to keep taking pictures. But I did go back just now and take pictures with the old prototype parts inside (so the colors would be correct):

With the book on top...
With the book on top...

 

...and without.
...and without.

There are more than a few issues we'll need to work through with the injection molded parts. I think the molders were a bit conservative on this first iteration and made all the joints loose. So the ramps, for instance, wiggle around on the pins so much that they often fly off the board when balls run over them:

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Crossovers do the same thing. One good bit of news is that the injection molded parts have considerably less friction than the CNC milled parts I've been using. This makes the gears and gear bits work like a dream. Here we have 5 gear bits connected in a line and they work perfectly. I'm sure you could add even more, but I didn't test that, yet.

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Yesterday I put together a comprehensive list of about 50 changes that need to be made and I sent them off to LongPack. They've already started working on them. I suspect it will take 2-3 more iterations before we go into production. We'll find out soon how long they think these changes will take to complete.

Overall, we're very, very happy with how things turned out so far. It looks and feels like a high quality game or kit. And it's satisfyingly heavy at 6.7 lbs.

Thanks again to you all! More to come next week when we release the Virtual Pack.

Paul and Alyssa

Comments

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    1. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Paul Zagieboylo: Yeah, I thought I'd maybe ask my 3 year old to stay quiet long enough to re-take the video, but the video is about 30 seconds long and he lasts a maximum of maybe 10 seconds without talking. :) He was talking about the "steppin' stones" he was making. He painted them yesterday and he is very proud of them.

    2. Paul Zagieboylo on

      I was really enjoying your kid and wife helping out in the background audio of the second video. He sounds just like my co-worker's kid who comes to the office sometimes, so I was thinking "huh, I didn't see Ollie come in, is he here today?"

    3. Missing avatar

      FredericLep on

      Oh, blurry pics are a must, especially for many video games KS projects lol.

      It is great that you are keeping an eye on the work quality from the factory. It will help in the long run : you want a mechanical computer after all, not a marble-launching device (well, not yet!) hehe.

      Thanks again for the updates and good luck!

    4. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Frederic: Ha ha! Shoot - I'll make sure and get at least one blurry picture in the next update. :)

      Good question about the ship date. We're still on schedule, but there's some risk in the injection mold changes. I'm not sure how long it will take to make all of the 50 or so changes I sent back to LongPack. I've had a lot of CNC milled parts made, and the precision of those parts was pretty good, so I expected the injection molds would be even *more* precise. Especially since they are cut out of metal rather than plastic and they cost a *LOT* more. So I was surprised that a lot of parts came back out of spec. LongPack went through our list today and talked over all the changes among themselves and possibly with the injection molders. I think we'll find out in the morning when LongPack thinks they can fix everything and send us the next sample.

    5. Missing avatar

      FredericLep on

      Indeed the updates are well-paced and informative! And I like how the pictures and texts are so opened about the good and less-good part of the whole process.

      It changes from the poor updates in less well managed projects: « Wow, we showed the game to random people in unknown convention! Real good reactions! Such fun!! Much Hype!!!» [insert blurry pictures showing people hiding the actual game]. ;)

      I guess we are still looking at a delivery time around january 2018 or is it still too soon to make a call about that?

    6. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Chris Charles: Wow, thanks so much! That means a lot!

    7. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Lode: Oooooooh yes I'll add that to the community page. I'm putting together a set of design challenges that have me totally stumped. That's a great one! I'm excited to see how you all solve them.

    8. Missing avatar

      Chris Charles on

      I've backed quite a lot of Kickstarter projects. I've seen them run well, and I've seen them run very poorly.

      You guys are killing it.

      Updates are coming at about the right pace, and each one is full of great content. I think you've been very transparent about a few small issues so far and dealt with them well. I really feel that you're doing what you set out to do.

      Great work. Keep it up!

    9. Missing avatar

      Lode Vandevenne on

      Whoa, the balls seem to be going very fast in the first video with the falling ramps!

      I remember the cancelled stand with custom angles, but I realized anyone could do it anyway: it's seems like a very doable 3D printing project to make a custom stand yourself :)

    10. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Eric Anderson: Actually, those are machine marks from the CNC machine that cut the injection molds out. They didn't bother sanding them out because they figured they'd need to make some adjustments to the molds after we saw the parts. In the final version, that surface will be sanded out smooth. Some surfaces will have a sandblasted texture and others will be smooth.

    11. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Jay Dontneed: Thanks for the idea! I've gone back and forth on that. It would be cool to be able to create a circuit and cover it with a transparent cover so you wouldn't have to worry about it getting messed up, even if the board was tipped forward. We haven't had very many requests for it, but if we get more, we could create it as a separate item. If it were included in the game, it would add significant cost. Thanks again for the idea!

    12. Missing avatar

      Eric Anderson on

      In the videos there is a kind of odd pattern on parts of the board. I'm guessing that's because of a circuit-board kind pattern on the back of the board (similar to the stand) and a lamp right behind it?

    13. Jay Dontneed on

      What about adding a removable clear plastic cover to the main piece so it could be used by a wider range of children and protect them from eating small parts?

    14. The 4th Jawa
      Superbacker
      on

      Good to see that it's starting to look like finished product (even if some parts feel like flying). Now I better make up my mind about the add-ons ;)

    15. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Melina: Thanks so much! You can either message me with the new address or go into your BackerKit account and change it there.

    16. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Brian: I didn't laugh at all. My stomach just dropped to the floor. :) But once I got out the calipers and figured out what was causing it to happen, and found that it should be an easy fix, my stomach came back. I guess with injection molded parts, it's easier to add material than to subtract it off a part. Fortunately, all of our fixes just require more material to be added. Phew!

    17. Missing avatar

      Melina on

      Well done guys!!!! You should be bursting with pride! Can’t wait to see and receive the final product - it will be worth the wait! I am changing address - please let me know who I should notify

    18. Brian Cutler
      Superbacker
      on

      Great unboxing. Got a laugh when the parts fell off, oops. I'm sure that's on the fix list.

    19. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Brendan: Ha! Yeah, I guess it does involve literal assembly to write this code.

    20. Paul Boswell Creator on

      @Shereen: Thanks, Shereen! It certainly has been an adventure. Yesterday was an anxiety/excitement overload for both of us. It was not easy sleeping that night. :)

    21. Brendan Dolan on

      Wow! I feel smarter already! It's almost like I wasn't completely lost in my assembler language class!

    22. Missing avatar

      Shereen M. Page on

      Thank you for taking backers along on this journey. It has been so exciting watching this unfold. I often wonder 'what's happening' and then I get an update! So happy for you both, your success is well deserved.