Friday Fun #1

Posted in: Friday Fun | November 30, 2012 | No Comments

In addition to Wednesday news updates on my site, I’d like to start a tradition of posting fun things on Fridays.  Sometimes it’ll be science games.  Sometimes it might be science news.  Sometimes it may even be me trying to rival XKCD’s artistic skills.

This week, I’m highlighting a game I remember fondly: Electric Field Hockey.  This was made years ago by PhET.  A bit o’ background on PhET (‘Physics Education Technology’, btw): they make great science interactives.  They are especially well geared towards educators, so if you’re a teacher looking for activities, check them out.  They do good work.

Electric Field Hockey, though, is one of my favorites.  It is a simple bare-bones game based around the electric force.  And that’s really all you need.  You move electric charges around, place them were you will, and try to get your test charge to the goal.  I played around with this for longer than I’m willing to admit.  But don’t listen (read?) to me blabbering on about it, go give it a play.  (Note, you will have to download the java script and run it on your computer.  Them’s the breaks for your Friday Fun.)


Electric Field Hockey

Click to Run


PhET keeps coming out with new stuff, so if you find something cool on its site, let us know below in the comments.


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Wednesday Update #1

Posted in: General News, Wednesday Update | November 28, 2012 | 2 Comments

To keep you all up to date, and to keep me honest, I thought I’d try posting weekly news.

The website roll-out went well, and I haven’t gotten any reports of problems.  (That’s a good thing, right?  That means they don’t exist, right?  Right?)

And after finishing that up I turned back to work on my long-awaited project: the quantum mechanics game.  I’d been batting around ideas for this one for a while now, testing things out, building prototypes and the like.  But as I hunkered back down to work on it, I realized that I didn’t quite like the direction it was heading.  It just wasn’t coming together, making something that was (a) educational, (b) accurate, and (c) fun.  I was and am very excited to make a quantum game, but I’ve decided to put it on the back burner for a while.  It needs to percolate a bit more.

In the meantime, I’m turning to a few projects I’ve had on the back burner.  For those of you following along at home, you may remember that I’d been working on an evolution simulation.  I’m looking forward to polishing that and getting it out the door. Generation after generation of curiously locomoting creatures!

As for a game, I’ve turned to working on one that I’ve been mulling about for a while.  It revolves around a simulation of electric and magnetic forces (more along the lines of my gravity simulator than, say, the more qualitative Agent Higgs).  I’ve started making some levels for it – and I’m liking the direction it’s going.

Some day, though, quantum mechanics game… some day.


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Major Website Overhaul

Posted in: General News, Gravity Simulator | November 20, 2012 | 2 Comments

As you may notice (if you’ve been here before), there are a bunch of changes to this website. Not the least of which is the new existence of a ‘blog.’

No longer will my musings and updates be listed haphazardly on the front page. Pshaw! Instead they will be here, with an amazing organizing scheme holding them in place. (Thanks to WordPress!) You can browse my posts by category, by month, or even by search for words and phrases! And let’s face it, who hasn’t wanted to do that?

Also in the new blog, we’ve now got a comment system. So let’s say you are reading this post, and you’d like to remark that this blog is snappy. Well, friend, just head on down to the comments section and post it for the world to see!

Of course, there are a bunch more changes to the site than just the blog. Not much remains from the old site, in fact – except for the games, of course. There is a new gallery for the gravity game, for instance, which you can find here. You’ll find social-media links all throughout the site now, making it easier for you to share things with your friends. And by all means, do!

Finally, you can’t miss all the visual changes to TestTubeGames.  A big thanks to my wife (who has a great artistic eye) for helping me edit the site appropriately.

Caveat: I tried to test the website in different browsers, but if you seem to be having a problem (broken links, or strange distorted layouts) let me know so I can try to fix it.



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Sneak Peek #2

Posted in: Quantum Game, Velocity Raptor | November 10, 2012 | No Comments

Game Hint #2

With more than 20 votes cast for Velocity Raptor, here is another look at my upcoming quantum game.

Want more? Go vote!


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Voting Extended!

Posted in: General News, Velocity Raptor | November 9, 2012 | No Comments

Voting is now open until the 12th. So if you haven’t had a chance yet, follow this link to vote for Velocity Raptor: VR 2012!

And if you vote, we may just get another sneak peek at TestTubeGames’ next science game!


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Sneak Peek #1

Posted in: Quantum Game, Velocity Raptor | November 5, 2012 | No Comments

As promised, with more than 10 votes cast for Velocity Raptor, here is the first look at an image from my upcoming game.

Get off my book!

There you have it, folks. If you want to see more, go vote! And do it quick! We only have until Wednesday…


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Vote for Velocity Raptor!

Posted in: Quantum Game, Velocity Raptor | November 5, 2012 | No Comments

Voting for NSF’s science game competition is heading in to the last few days. So go here, register quick, and vote!

In fact, I’ve decided to make a deal. For every ten votes Velocity Raptor gets, I’m going to release a sneak peek at my upcoming Quantum game. It is in development, and has been up to this point fairly secretive.

But you can change that! Go vote, get your friends to vote, and if you’re in the US, show up at your local polling place tomorrow, and ask people if they’ve voted in the election that really matters.

If you check the link, you’ll notice we’ve already hit the first benchmark of 10 votes. So I’d better go get ready to release the first pictures of the game.


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VR is a Finalist!

Posted in: Velocity Raptor | November 1, 2012 | No Comments

As you may notice from the tasteful and discrete button above, Velocity Raptor is a finalist in an NSF competition! Specifically the ‘International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.’ A mouthful! (SciVis for short).

And before reading any further (and wandering off into the bushes or some such thing), click the button and go VOTE for Velocity Raptor.

Basically, this looks for great science visualizations. There are categories for photos, videos, etc. One of the five categories is ‘Games and Apps.’ Thanks to the eagle eyes of a friend who noticed this competition going on (my head was off somewhere else, daydreaming about quantum mechanics games, most likely), I submitted. I just heard today that Velocity Raptor is one of the Top 10 finalists in the games category. Yay!

At this point, some judges will take a look at the games and rate them through some magical and mystical process. In fact, I encourage you to do the same. The list of finalists are posted, and many of the games are free/easy to get. So if you like science games (one of the two big reasons to be on my site in the first place), go here to check out some cool ones.

The other big reason you may be on my site is because you know/like/tolerate me… in which case, do me a favor and VOTE for my game. That’s right, in addition to the judges, there is a People’s Choice award that goes out. Voting runs until November 8th. It’s free and easy to do, so go vote for Velocity Raptor!


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