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Math Quickies Entertainment Games

Working Calculator Created in LittleBigPlanet 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the impressive dept.
jamie pointed out a really impressive creation from the LittleBigPlanet beta. The game allows the creation of puzzles from a collection of simple objects and tools. A player called upsilandre used 610 magnetic switches, 500 wires, 430 pistons, and a variety of other objects to create a functioning calculator that will do decimal/binary conversions as well as addition and subtraction. The creation does well to illustrate the potential for amazing creativity in level design. Another user recently designed a level to play the Final Fantasy X theme song. LittleBigPlanet is almost finished and set to be released later this month, though the controls may be refined in a future patch. We recently discussed a student level-design event at the Parsons New School for Design and Technology.
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Working Calculator Created in LittleBigPlanet

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  • Two words: (Score:5, Funny)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @06:34PM (#25293083)

    Fuckin'. Awesome.

    I knew a low-level understanding of computing must be useful for something! ;)

    • by krakass (935403) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @06:40PM (#25293167)
      Great, now other games are going to try to one-up them and Half-Life 3 is going to make you design a 386 processor in order to solve a puzzle.
    • Re:Two words: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Brian Gordon (987471) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @06:43PM (#25293199)
      Full adders are really simple to implement.. this really isn't so awesome. But you can do amazing things with wire mod in Garry's Mod.. I've seen autonomous pets, auto-targeting turrets, and chess engines constructed out of physics objects. Also it's extremely powerful because you can write lua scripts that are represented as black-box "chip" objects in the game with inputs and outputs.
      • Re:Two words: (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @07:21PM (#25293567) Homepage Journal

        Full adders are really simple to implement.

        A full adder is simple in theory, and quite easy to implement in electronics. It's not nearly as easy to implement when you're looking at mechanical parts. Granted, this particular mechanical calculator is virtual, so it doesn't need to worry about mechanical stresses. But that doesn't mean that it lacks the complexity of wiring up 16 bits via mechanical means. (7 bits for the number, one bit for the sign, two numbers.)

        It's not like he can simply call "add(8)" and have an 8-bit full adder with carry flags magically created for him. (As so many modern electronics toolkits can do.)

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by Goaway (82658)

        So if you have a general-purpose programming language, you can make complicated things? Well, I sure am amazed!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pizzach (1011925)
          This is special in a similar way to writing a Java interpreter in JavaScript. Or weird. That might be the word. It does however serve as an example of how flexible the editing is in LittleBigPlanet, which I think was a large part of the point.
          • by Goaway (82658)

            I was talking about the Lua stuff in Garry's mod there, not LittleBigPlanet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TehZorroness (1104427)

        I remember a while back someone made something like this in doom out of dummy players, conveyer belts, and doors. Absolutely nothing new, but fun to play with none-the-less :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014)

      Well, it appears that the system in question is a kind of circuit simulation, and every problem in NP is reducible to Circuit Satisfiability, it's not surprising that ... surprising things can be done with it.

      This kind of thing is really the heart and soul of Computer Science: transforming the representation of a problem solution into a form in which at first glance seems unsuited for solving that problem. That's why students have to master the puzzle of representing algorithms on Turing machines. Turin

  • by philspear (1142299) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @06:37PM (#25293125)

    Someone has spelled out "BOOBLESS" on said virtual calculator. This comes 3 seconds after the level went public.

  • by AsnFkr (545033)
    This seriously makes me want a PS3. Are there any other actually good creative games for the system? I don't care about your normal mainstream-crap like Guitar Hero or FPS'es. Anyone have any other suggestions to push me over the edge to drop the money for a PS3?
    • Re:PS3 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Trogre (513942) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @07:04PM (#25293401) Homepage

      Tell me - might you like Guitar Hero or an FPS if they weren't mainstream?

      • Thats a legitimate reason. New ideas/games are good. Its reasonable to be sick of something thats been done to death. Guitar hero kinda sucks in the first place its just a popular fad. L2Play guitar oh yeah that would actually involve talent. And there are like 5million FPS' out all of which are better on the PC making it pointless to put on a console.

        • It's not a legitimate reason. Disliking a game because it's popular is just as lame as disliking a band because they are popular. If you don't like guitar hero because you don't like it, that's one thing, but if you don't like it "because it's a fad," you are missing out on what is actually a great game.

          And I have to say this, learning to play guitar takes no more talent than it does to learn to play guitar hero, just more time. For proof, look to the many talentless idiots who play guitar and troll on s

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gstoddart (321705)

          Guitar hero kinda sucks in the first place its just a popular fad.

          Sadly, you're missing the point that the gazillion people who are playing Guitar Hero like games legitimately find them to be fun, and are willing to spend money on them. You may dislike them and think they suck. But, seriously, look at the sales figures for these games. This isn't "just a popular fad".

          For a lot of people, games like this are fun, and games like FPS are annoying and tedious. These games appeal to "non-gamers". I'm one of

          • by AsnFkr (545033)
            Like it or not, GH3 and that kind of game are not going to go away anytime soon.

            I could care less if they make GH games. I'm glad people have fun with them. Some of my best friends are even ga....I mean like Guitar Hero. I just want to know if the system offers other more creative platforms before I invest in it.
            • I could care less if they make GH games. I'm glad people have fun with them. Some of my best friends are even ga....I mean like Guitar Hero. I just want to know if the system offers other more creative platforms before I invest in it.

              Well, there's Rock Band!

              (What can I say, I'm a HMX fanboy...)

          • Magic the gathering sold multiple billions of cards. And yet turned into a fad. Hell i'm sure atleast a million or 2 sets of pogs have been sold.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          L2Play guitar oh yeah that would actually involve talent.

          Actually, it wouldn't. But most people think it would. That they won't be able to learn it because you need to be a special person with some special talent. Which is part of the reason why guitar hero sells so good, I believe.

          To learn how to play guitar, you'd need a guitar, and play. Play more. Learn chords. Play more. Learn patterns. Play more. Learn picking. Play more. Learn barres. Play more. Listen to what you play. Play more. Polish it by moving your fingers differently. Play more.....

          • ok swap talent for effort i suppose. It has a higher degree of difficulty. I agree with what you are saying about talent. Though i DO think however that talent is needed in the higher end. Or ... a deep understanding of music which is not gained through practice. More of love of music the ability to express emotion w/e. Without that you can be very good but not great.

          • by KDR_11k (778916)

            Or you get Wii Music (yes I know it's not released yet so add some waiting), skip the whole learning part and just play.

            • When you say 'play'.. I'm assuming you mean "wave your arm around a bit", because Wii Music looked atrociously shallow even compared to games like Guitar Hero. The drums could be good if they did them well, but I'm not hoping for much at all from that title.

              I liked Wii Sports, and Wii Fit is good fun, but Wii Music to me seems too much to me like having your 50th birthday party in McDonalds, or putting rally cars on a scalextric type track so that they can't fall off the sides.

              No doubt some people will find

          • I am a self taught guitarist and drummer too, but some people honestly just don't have the dexterity, coordination or perhaps consistency to play. Sure I agree that sometimes it comes down to dedication and practice - unless someone has some physical or mental disability which prevents them from progressing - but you have to concede that some people simply find it a lot easier to play instruments than others ('virtuouso' types). Same as a lot of people just find maths or running easy while others struggle.

        • by quadrox (1174915)
          I used to think somewhat along those lines about Guitar Hero until I tried it. It's just a whole lot of fun.

          I have a real Guitar too. I'm not very good at it yet, but even if I was I'd consider Guitar Hero to be extreme amounts of fun. And if I were any good at it, it still wouldn't be the same without the rest of a band. And it's sort of difficult to get together with the rest of the band on a pure whim, whereas you can always just fire up guitar hero for a song or two.

          I think I have been trolled :/
        • L2Play guitar oh yeah that would actually involve talent.

          I can play guitar. I still find Guitar Hero lots of fun. I didn't think I would, but I happened to play it at a friend's house and within a couple of days I'd bought my own copy.

          Rock Band is even better (despite all but Green Grass and High Tide being incredibly easy for guitar even on expert) because singing or playing the drums on Rock Band are basically the same as playing IRL. Yes, I play real drums too, though I start to struggle at about halfway through the expert setlist on Rock Band since I'm self t

      • by AsnFkr (545033)
        Tell me - might you like Guitar Hero or an FPS if they weren't mainstream?

        No. I want creativity and beauty in games, which for the most part FPS'es, rhythm and *most* big production games tend to omit. Of course, there are some of them that think outside of the box. For instance portal was epic, and is sort of a FPS, right?

        Things I have played in recent time (aside from Portal) that I have found to be good are things like Soul Bubbles, LostWinds, N+, Patapon, Loco Roco, Rez, Geometry Wars, Castle Of S
        • On a Blue Ray player and taking the ability to play Little Big Planet as a bonus... Now if I can just get my wife to see it that way.
        • Sounds like you basically just like 'puzzle games'. I like them a little too, but they lose their appeal pretty quickly. Loco Rocco can be completed in like half an hour the first time and then even faster once you get the hang of it.. and there only seems to be one level?

          Portal was okay, but ultimately again just a puzzle game. Once you complete it, that's it.

          I love Grand Theft Auto and any game that allows you to free roam, as it has a lot more replay value for me. And it has plenty of creativity and beau

      • by merreborn (853723)

        This seriously makes me want a PS3. Are there any other actually good creative games for the system? I don't care about your normal mainstream-crap like Guitar Hero or FPS'es. Anyone have any other suggestions to push me over the edge to drop the money for a PS3?

        Tell me - might you like Guitar Hero or an FPS if they weren't mainstream?

        It's not really a killer app [wikipedia.org] if it's not an exclusive. You can play an FPS or Guitar Hero on any platform, so they're not really high on the "reasons to buy a PS3" list, espe

    • by atari2600 (545988)

      - The Last Guy
      - fl0w

      to name a couple.

    • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is a great adventure game with spot on voice acting, brilliantly rendered art, and characters and plot worth caring about.

      Rachet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction was a pretty neat platforming game if you enjoy creative games that don't necessarily have a message to drive home (other than that lombaxes are awesome)

      GTA IV is available on PS3 if you don't already have it for something else - a great game even apart from the hype machine.

      Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

      • by KodaK (5477)

        Just an FYI: I bought the MGS4 bundle because I wanted backwards compatibility (my daughter has taken over my old PS/2) and I have yet to make it through MGS4. I'm told fans of the series absolutely love it, but so far it's been incredibly boring with long, drawn out (mostly skip-able, thankfully) cut scenes that make absolutely no sense. Whoever did them has absolutely no sense of pacing, and a cut scene that should be a minute or two is drawn out into 20 minutes with lots of unnecessary pauses in the d

      • Metal Gear Solid 4 is an awesome nine hour miniseries with a few gaming sections in the breaks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by deek (22697)

      Some of the most creative games on the PS3 are only available for download from the Playstation Network.

      Have a look into the following:
      Pixeljunk Eden
      flOw
      Everyday Shooter
      Echochrome

      They're my favourites, anyway. I'm also looking forward to Flower, made by the same group as flOw.

      • by AsnFkr (545033)
        Awesome! This is exactly what I was looking for. I will def be hitting youtube looking for videos about these games. Question....when you get a game from Playstation Network do they enable you to download a trial and then buy if you like it, or do you have to buy before you can play any of the game? Thanks!
        • Most games have demos you can get, but not all of them.

        • by deek (22697)

          Eden and Echochrome have demos available. There's also plenty of youtube videos of Eden; it has a feature to upload directly to youtube. Check out wikipedia too. I'm sure the games have a writeup there.

        • by FlyveHest (105693)

          Question....when you get a game from Playstation Network do they enable you to download a trial and then buy if you like it, or do you have to buy before you can play any of the game?

          This is, unfortunately, one of the let-downs of PSN, many games have no demos available, and its buy-and-try.

          Sony really should enforce demos on all PSN games, like MS does on XBLA (At least, I am yet to find a game that doesn't have a demo there)

      • by FlyveHest (105693)

        Some of the most creative games on the PS3 are only available for download from the Playstation Network.

        That is also true for XBLA .. It seems that PSN/XBLA is more or less a return to the older days, where a couple of guys (or girls) could make a game in their basement, and get it published.

        Which translates to "No, EA does not have any say in this, and I can make the game mechanics work any damn way I please"

        I have bought a lot of games on both PSN/XBLA, and I find them a lot more enjoyable than full-priced showcase games like eg. GTAIV.

    • by Shaterri (253660)

      I have yet to drop $60 on a retail PS3 game (LBP will be the first, and I actually got my PS3 just for it -- a few months back, when I could still get a PS2-compatible system), but both flOw and Everyday Shooter are $10 titles available through the PSN store that push the 'art game' form in different directions. flOw is a bit closer to interactive screensaver than to game in some ways, but it's still gorgeous to watch and reasonable to play; and the gameplay in Everyday Shooter is fantastic. More recently

    • by mr_exit (216086)

      Ratchet and Clank (there's also a downloadable followup)
      Gta4 can be creative.

      and some great cheap downloadables
      Pixeljunk Monsters
      Pixeljunk Eden.
      Riff everyday shooter
      echochrome

      I'm not a fps or a driving game guy but there is plenty to keep me entertained on the ps3

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DikSeaCup (767041)
      I got my PS3 originally for the BlueRay ... and the fact that it had be eons since I had had a game console (that SuperNintendo is currently gathering dust in a closet right now). My first two games were "Ratchet and Clank Future" and "Resistance: Fall of Man".

      I liked the "story" of Resistance, but hated the gameplay (and FPS style, since it was story driven ... the "maps" were very linear in order to make sure you went the right way). FPSs are so much better with a keyboard and mouse.

      "R&CF:ToD"
  • A player called upsilandre used 610 magnetic switches, 500 wires, 430 pistons, and a variety of other objects to create a functioning calculator

    How many MPG does it get?

    • by mangu (126918)

      How many MPG does it get?

      With 430 pistons, I'd say about forty rods per hogshead.

  • Dwarf Fortress (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Danny Rathjens (8471) <slashdot2NO@SPAMrathjens.org> on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @06:58PM (#25293347)

    This reminds me of the way you can combine the various elements in Dwarf Fortress to be able to perform computations. The graphics are at a wee bit of a different level, though. :D

    http://www.dwarffortresswiki.net/index.php/Mechanical_logic [dwarffortresswiki.net]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Ah, Dwarf Fortress... The text-art game that can make a Pentium 4 cry.

    • I'm reminded of Rocky's Boots for the Apple ][ which was very similar. You would connect gates to various contraptions to make simple machines. Thanks to that software I know the pure joy of creating an alligator kicking machine which is, quite frankly, beyond words.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @07:20PM (#25293553)

    As they say, there's no problem which cannot be solved by adding a level of abstraction.

    1. There was a world full of physical objects, with all the interactions between them exactly as they should be.

    2. Someone built an amazingly powerful calculator out of these parts.

    3. Someone else built an amazingly complicated program which could be run by said calculator. The amazingly complicated program would simulate a very small subset of the physical world as described in 1. on the machine.

    4. Someone else built a calculator out of the parts available in the world available in the program running on the powerful calculator. This second calculator was much more simple and less powerful than the first calculator.

    • by Spazntwich (208070) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @10:50PM (#25295179)

      Kind of makes you wonder what happens once we design a computer fast enough to accurately simulate physics exactly as in our universe.

      How would we limit the universe? Maybe just create a pacman-like solution where hitting the boundary sends you back to the other side. Maybe increase the size of the simulation as you can throw more computing power at it. You'd need a method of interacting with the matter in the universe to make sure the new space is utilized, right?

      Why not just create some shit that doesn't ruin the rest of the simulation by interacting in any fashion other than pushing the various systems away from each other so your ant farms don't get too close to one another and fight.

      what?

      • Eh, at that point I imagine that infinite regression would be the result. Which has resulted in me having an epiphany that will lead to my winning a nobel prize. Probably not, but its an interesting thought. I have long argued that there is nothing in principle that stops us from building a complete simulation of the entire universe past, present and future (as quantum mechanics becomes a stochastic phenomenon on a macro scale and is thus perfectly predictable). Thinking about your post made me realize
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bentcd (690786)

        Kind of makes you wonder what happens once we design a computer fast enough to accurately simulate physics exactly as in our universe.

        Some would say that the only computer capable of accurately simulating physics exactly as in our universe /is/ our universe. And, further, that our universe is already doing these calculations at the maximum possible speed. If this conjecture is correct then in order to make accurate predictions of future events you would need a computer even bigger than our universe to do so. Implementing this is left as an exercise for the reader :-)

        • by HTH NE1 (675604)

          If this conjecture is correct then in order to make accurate predictions of future events you would need a computer even bigger than our universe to do so.

          What does size have to do with it?

        • by TheLink (130905)
          42 :)
      • by storkus (179708)

        > Kind of makes you wonder what happens once we design a computer fast enough to accurately simulate physics exactly as in our universe.

        What makes you think you aren't living in one right now a la "The Matrix", "The 13th Floor", etc. For that matter, what's to say that, if this world is a simulation, that the "real" world "above" doesn't make this world look like "Tron" or the digital world of any cyberpunk novel? Just because those worlds are cooler than ours doesn't mean that our reality isn't the op

        • Yes, exactly my point actually.

        • by TheLink (130905)
          The truth is, we're all in suspended animation and travelling in a fleet towards some distant planet (because our old planet got a bit crappy).

          It's a very long journey.

          In order to stop our minds from rotting away even in suspended animation, we have to keep them occupied with something.

          So we have computers to simulate a world and our minds can then "live in it". Fortunately since our minds are slowed down by the suspended animation by many orders of magnitudes, the computers can manage to simulate things in
    • So presumably the next step is for the calculator to run Linux?

  • Very impressive! Make a Babbage Difference Engine next!

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @08:04PM (#25293973) Journal
    I owned my first calculator 30 years ago and implemented my first one in BASIC not long after. If it's only just reached the capability of a machine with just a few K of RAM and a BASIC interpreter then it can't be very impressive. What is LittleBigPlanet anyway? The codename for the latest OS from Microsoft? Trust the /. editors not to provide any context.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nutshell42 (557890)
      Trust the /. editors not to provide any context.

      I know that you were just trying to be funny. But honestly, this is the 1-in-1000 /. story that actually explains what it's talking about in the second sentence:

      The game allows the creation of puzzles from a collection of simple objects and tools.

      So, kudos to Soulskill who did not remove the useful part of the submission. You must be new here.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        > The game allows the creation of puzzles from a collection of simple objects and tool

        But I work with a system like that every day. It's called C++.

  • by JSBiff (87824) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @08:06PM (#25293997) Journal

    I've, from time to time, mused about the possibility of trying to create a game with a 'programming' mini-game. This might not obviously be programming to most users - maybe it would use some sort of icon-based programming (which it sounds like LittleBigPlanet sort of has with this parts system). Maybe this could be a system to let users create their own spells in a magic game, or used as a 'hacking' mini-game in a sci-fi game (something like Bioshock or Mass Effect, but replace the simplistic GUI puzzle 'hacking' mini-game with a slightly more robust mini-game which actually encourages people to learn real programming techniques), or maybe the ability to give a ship or other piece of equipment new abilities in a sci-fi game.

    Anyone know to what extent this idea has been tried in the past by any other games? The only thing that comes to my mind is a game I saw a few years ago (can't remember what it was called now), where the player was in some sort of base on Mars or one of the moons of Jupiter or something, and the player created these autonomous vehicles by combining parts (chasis, engine, wheels, breaks, batteries, and various 'logic components') using a wiring system (which is sort of like programming). Then the vehicles would be pitted against each other in a sort of arena. Sometimes you would be racing an obstacle course, other times the vehicles were fighting each other (you could get weapons which you could wire up to the vehicle).

    I imagine that, for the game to gain any popularity, this should be a fairly optional part of the game, since most users might get a little overwhelmed by it, if it were complex enough to be fairly powerful.

    • on a slightly related note, bit bath [hacker.org] programming IS the game. I'm admittedly not too good at it but the idea of competitive programming is just too fun in concept.
    • Garry's Mod for Valve's Source engine is extremely powerful, but easy enough for just about anyone to make an attack tub. Especially when you take into the addons for it such as Wire, which itself could be considered a programming language.
    • Garry's Mod does this: Afaik it offers a very solid framework where people with some knowledge of (iirc) LUA can create their own gametypes.
    • Well, you always have the programming games, like AT-Robots (http://necrobones.com/atrobots/). You program a robot to fight in an arena. There are many varieties in this genre, with many different "languages", but what I like with AT-Robots, is that it is assembly style, with interrupts and registers etc. In many ways, it actually feels like you are programming a cpu in that robot, interfacing with all the hardware.

      I found it quite educational when I first came over it in my Uni days and actually submitt

    • Lego has this of course with its most advanced sets that allow for simple programming of a control unit.

      As introduction to programming there are 'games' that allow you to program a robot and you 'win' by using the fewest instructions to clear a maze the fastests.

      The problem is however limits imposed by the game. A maze is only so complex, the sensors in Lego only so good. Pretty soon you hit the game limits, the solution has been found and the game is over.

      It is not that you can't make a game out of it,

    • I've always wanted a good new version of Omega [wikipedia.org], where you design a tank, then write an AI for it with a proceedural language.

      You're talking about Mind Rover, which tried to be that new version, but just never seemed to manage it. Maybe I should take another look at it, though.

  • by adavies42 (746183) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @09:04PM (#25294379)
    Reminds me of Marathon 2/Marathon Infinity--back before Aleph One and the addition of a scripting language, some people liked to use only standard game elements to create logic effects. One guy designed a half-adder cell using two monsters, a platform, and a switch, and used a bunch to make a ripple-carry adder that triggered as you ran down a hallway, displaying its results on a bank of lights at the end. Another guy won a Bungie contest by reimplementing most of Myst Island's puzzles in Marathon.
  • by mzs (595629) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @09:07PM (#25294395)
  • finally the PS3's true processing potential has been revealed to us!

    but seriously, it's funny to think how many hundreds/thousands?/millions?/billions? of calculations the ps3 is doing... simply so that game can do a little addition. bwhahaha

  • by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @06:51AM (#25297603)
    When you watch the start of the clip you think big deal, there's probably a script doing the addition or something. Then it starts panning up and you just see hundreds of ropes, pulleys and levers which are all wired together. A simple interface hides a horribly complex set of mechanics. Even more impressive that all this is modelled in a game using a level edito. The accuracy of the physics and the sheer number of interactions is deeply impressive. The sheer quality and variety of levels in the beta phase shows how awesome this game is going to be. Two weeks to go.

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