My Last Three Days With micro:bit

Peter Cunderlik edited this page Jan 27, 2016 · 2 revisions

My first three days went quickly, so did my second half of the week with micro:bit. (Yes, there are 7 days a week, but unfortunately Real Life got in the way.)

My plans were grand. I wanted to use crocodile clips I received with Marja, so I connected them to a speaker. I wanted to make some noise. Being influenced by all the ZX Spectrum beeper music, I thought I could make a simple sequencer. After all, playing chords is not that difficult, you just have to repeat all tones in rapid succession (for example Antiriad). Drums and other effects could be achieved by dynamically adjusting the pitch or even sending my own data to the pins. It turned out I was a little overambitious and all I did was:

drumkit.py (code)

My problem was time. I didn't realise how much time and effort it takes to make noise that resembles anything. I'm sure I'd have succeeded eventually (if it's possible on a Spectrum, it must be possible on a micro:bit), but I didn't want to dedicate that much time to a single project. If I ever get hold of my very own micro:bit, I'll definitely explore this more. Maybe with the help of some C code or assembler one could achieve samples (like Dark Fusion - yes, it does sound like nails in a hoover, but it's cool nails in a cool hoover).

drumkit.py is a very simple drum sequencer. It can generate some noises at predefined intervals. I was deciding whether to implement some kind of user interface, but I decided against it - generated noises are not so exciting that people would want to spend much time with it.

I also played with some chords (you can see a simple frequency table) but in the end I didn't really use them. I'm not a musician and producing anything listenable would probably take ages.

lawnmower-simulator.py (code)

I wanted to write some games and since nobody had written a micro:bit remake of Advanced Lawnmower Simulator I took the opportunity. The game is not really a game, all you have to do is to mow the lawn square by square by pressing button A repeatedly. The game is not as bad as the original because of the very limited garden size (5x5) but I made it more challenging by making the grass grow. This guarantees endless fun!

I had little time left so I had to start looking for the next person to receive Marja and I didn't manage to write more games. I thought that summer sports-style game would be achievable: I'd have 2 disciplines - hurdles and javelin. The player would run by pressing buttons maniacally and then at the right time they'd press another button to jump. Or in case of javelin to set the angle. Adding some sound effect would make it more entertaining. I know this kind of games would probably ruin micro:bits in no time, but hey, you can't have fun without destroying stuff.

The End?

I wish I could spend more time with the micro:bit. It appears to be very limited but it provides more fun than generic computers/boards. As I write in my previous post, the path from idea to implementation is quick, straightforward and fun and this is what matters. Despite the title of this post I hope they weren't my last days with micro:bit.