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Math Quickies Entertainment Games

Working Calculator Created in LittleBigPlanet 142

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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  • 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?

  • Re:Two words: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> 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.)

  • by nutshell42 ( 557890 ) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @09:06PM (#25294389) Journal
    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:PS3 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @09:40PM (#25294661) Homepage

    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 them. You're welcome to your FPS on your PC, but you're being shockingly arrogant to think that a game like GH3 which sold 1.4 million copies [] in October of last year and which seem to drive actual music sales [] is just a fad.

    Like it or not, GH3 and that kind of game are not going to go away anytime soon. I know a ton of people who fall well outside of any realm of what you can call gamers who are absolutely into the instrument rhythm games.


  • Re:PS3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @11:04PM (#25295295)

    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.....

    The more you play *and* try to improve what you can, if possible in logical small steps, the better you'll learn it. I've taught myself to play drums and play guitar. People seem to like what I play, and how I play it.

    However, I seriously don't recognize this "talent" thing at all. Unless it's created by learning and playing.

    The bad thing about the "talent" idea is also that it's a self-fullfilling prophecy. If you'd believe you'd need a special talent to learn something and believe you don't have the talent, you believe you won't be able to learn it, and never seriously take the first step towards learning it.

    And then you can say, see, I can't do that, I don't have that talent.

    But if you'd seriously give yourself a chance to learn 2 chords (easiest is A minor and E minor to start with, real simple on the fingers) and a simple strumming pattern, I think you'd quickly discover it's something that *you* can learn as well.

  • Re:Two words: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @01:04AM (#25296065) Homepage
    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 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.
  • Re:Two words: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:43AM (#25298195) Homepage Journal

    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. Turing machines have no practical usefulness, but the skills needed to use Turing machine are very practically useful.

    This kind of transformation happens every day, we just take it for granted. We take it for granted that sending an email, playing a video, or painting a picture can be transformed into a sequence of operations like additions and subtractions, bit masking and register shifts.

    Serious software engineers are called upon all the time to do these kinds of contortions of imagination. Security researchers, for example, have to ask whether a black hat can inject data into a system that will trick it into running an arbitrary program. Cryptographers studying steganography ask whether one kind of data can be represented as another in a way that defies casual inspection.

    Once I was asked by a humanitarian relief agency whether a satellite container tracking device could be adapted to track vehicles in a war zone without giving away the position of personnel. The devices, which were designed to function for years on a single battery, transmitted a brief burst of data every ten minutes or so -- to brief and infrequent (as long a it was moving) for radio location techniques, but including the GPS fix in plaintext. There was considerable system engineering to be done to answer this question definitively, but the very first question was whether a sixteen bit pic with 20K of RAM and maybe 32K of ROM available for the program could even run some kind of reasonable encryption algorithm on the message payload. The answer was yes, but a secure system would require more auditing by bona fide cryptographers than the project could afford.

    This kind of thing does not strike me as that far removed from making a simple calculator inside of a game. If that doesn't strike you as interesting, then you are probably doomed to be a code monkey: you don't have what it takes to be a senior engineer.

I've got a bad feeling about this.