This week, it’s about *you*

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus, General News, Gravity Simulator, Wednesday Update | May 30, 2013 | 4 Comments

For this week-in-review, it turns out I’ve got more questions than answers.  Questions for you, in fact, the player/reader/steward of science.



I’m thinking of adding some forums to the site.  The hope is, a forum would provide a nice place for science/game discussion.  It’d be a spot to chat about:

  • The science in these games. Got a question about the relativity in Velocity Raptor, or about the math in the Gravity Simulator?  Ask away!
  • The games themselves.  Say you’ve made a picture in the Gravity Simulator, or created a level in Agent Higgs.  Perhaps you’re stuck on a level and want some help.  Maybe you have a feature you’re dying to see in a game.  Bring it to the forum!
  • Science Games in general.  There are a bunch of other neat science-y games out there in the world/internet.  You’ve probably come across some that we need to check out.  Share and share alike, I say.

Those are *my* thoughts, but I’d be interested to hear from you.  What would you want out of a forum?  Would you have any use for it?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.



The newest version of ~~The Electric Shocktopus~~! is ready.  Let’s call it the ‘pre-alpha version 3.’  I’ve already got some helpful playtesters are giving it a trial run, which I’m so thankful for.  If you’re interested in helping out, too, send me an email.  When it comes to playtesters, the more feedback I get about the game, the merrier.


Gravity Simulator

With Shocktopus back out of my hands for the next week or so, I’m working on the Gravity Simulator again.  There will be two big changes to the preexisting game.  For starters, it won’t just be a flash game anymore, it will be playable on a bunch of devices — online, android, iOS, the whole gambit.  Also, there are going to be a lot more features.  You’ll be able to, say, change the colors of objects.  Or add them easily along evenly-spaced grid lines.  Or modify the celestial bodies mid-flight.  All the things I’ve heard people say that ‘they’d love to see’ in the simulator.  Is there something you’d like to see in the new update?  What is the current simulator missing?  Again, leave it in the comments, or send along an email.


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  1. By A Random Player

    Posted May 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    A forum would be great! I think that a good way to separate the categories would be to have a group for online and iOS, or simulation and games, and have each game have its own subforum:
    –Slide rule
    –Velocity Raptor
    –Agent Higgs
    –Electric Shocktopus
    Other Science stuff:
    –Science games
    –Science in the news
    etc. And like you said, you could talk about almost anything about the games in the forums. I would probably use them for giving ideas for games/features (Level editor in VR?), but that might change. Though one important thing about forums is installing good antispam software. Spammers are very annoying.

    About gravity simulator, the only thing I have on my mind right now is a time speed-up/slow-down slider. Well, also a hide/show objects button to be able to look at the paths more carefully. And maybe a show forces option?

    So, yeah 🙂 Those are my thoughts. Hope you decide to add a forum!

    • By TestTubeGames

      Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Some great thoughts, BARP. I like that structure for the forum, though I might combine some categories. I think the sundial, slide rule, and walk/run, for instance, might be fine in some joint ‘Apps’ category.

      It turns out to be easier to add a forum than I had guessed. It’s quite literally ‘click this button and you’ve got a forum.’ Ah, the wonders of the internet. The difficulty, as you hinted at, is upkeep. The forum I’m looking to use has anti-spam systems in place, so hopefully that shouldn’t be a problem.

      One thing about the forum, though, BARP, is that to register you ~will~ need an email address. Here’s hoping that’s not too much of a hurdle for ya. 😉

      As for gravity:
      hide/show objects button — love it, it’s in
      time speed-up/slow-down — love it, it’s in
      show forces — ooh, I hadn’t thought of this one, but I love it, and it’s going in

      • By A Random Player

        Posted May 31, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I had thought about that after I commented, but didn’t want to post a new comment at the time. Also, I had forgotten to mention that a site/forum section for things like reporting/suggesting bugs/problems/features in the site would be needed (and very important!).

        For the email part, I guess I’ll be allowed to use my parent’s email or make one really quick—After all, this is educational and about science! 😀

        Though right now I’m wondering what forum software you’re using. Is it phpBB like xkcd’s, or FluxBB, or something else?

        Oh, and before I go ahead and comment this, what about a switch reference frame for gravity? Right now, all the paths and objects and plotted against the “luminiferous aether”, so you could add an option to follow a planet/asteroid, plotting things against the planet/asteroid’s reference frame. Or, for that matter, letting the view be able to move. Or maybe even following the barycenter of the system. I’m not sure which is best.

        • By TestTubeGames

          Posted May 31, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

          Sure, bugs/suggestions/requests would be a great use of the forum. Some of those discussions would fit under the various games, but there should be a place for general/original thoughts. (“Change x about the site”, “Make a game about Feynman Diagrams”)

          I’m using phpBB, which is a very strange experience to set up. I’ve been to -so many- forums (xkcd’s fora included) made with that software, that to suddenly have it be -my- site’s forum really flips my expectations. When I’m signing up test-accounts on the forum… for a moment I stop and read the forum-rules before I realize that I’m the guy on the other side of that contract!

          As for the gravity suggestion, I added a go-to-center of mass button to the new version (assuming they’re no stationary stars… which mucks that up a bit). I’m planning on figuring out some way of adding even more tracking-ability — but I, too, haven’t settled on the best way of doing it (Or the way that doesn’t break the orbit-paths). So your suggestions are helpful, and I’ll add them to my list of motions-to-try-out.

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