My name is HappyNeedo. Some of you might know me from either the Mechanic Miner forum or our Discord channel. I’m the Community Manager at Mechanic Miner. Even though my main job is moderating and helping the community I also use a lot of time testing Mechanic Miner by creating different contraptions. Today - in this first part of a two parter personalized developers log - I’ll show you the progress of creating some of the contraptions I made while testing v.0.1.2.
One of the new things in v.0.1.2 was the pistons, so of course I had to make something with those first. Finn, our Game Director, had been building and perfecting his Spider-mech (pictured beneath) which is using rotation to walk, so naturally I had to make a better walking contraptions - but with pistons!
Beneath you’ll see my first prototype. A “robot” with two legs and a body containing a circuit with two switches. One switch to push or pull the outer pistons (lifting and lowering the body) and another switch to push/pull (in vise versa direction), thus dragging the lifted body left or right.
Notice that the circuit is constantly applying an output (either up or down), so the pistons will never be left alone with gravity. This specific property in the circuit will - as you’ll see later - be needed in many of my creations, so I’ll get into that later.
Two things I noticed while building the first prototype. 1) The body easily gets too heavy, making it impossible for the pistons to lift it. The solution is to build with planks (which is lighter than plate), and to only build what’s necessary, thus keeping the weight to a minimum. 2) Be careful not to run out of physical space. The circuit in the body easily tangled, and you’ll end up not being able to connect the cables correctly.
It gets pretty annoying to constantly have to turn the switches on and off, so I decided to make it work automatically. I had to make a more advanced circuit. Beneath you’ll see two circuits I created to implement in the body of the robot.
The circuit on the left was my first prototype, a 4-phase signal emitting 1 output at a time in rotation. My idea was that the 4-phase signal rotation should emit power to do the following rotation of actions:
- Lifting the body (outer pistons pushing)
- Pushing/pulling the body horizontally (inner pistons pushing/pulling)
- Lowering the body (outer pistons pulling)
- Pushing/pulling the arms back at the starter position (inner pistons pushing/pulling)
Above you’ll see the final circuit and the robot merged together. Yay it’s working! Notice that I had to add 10 more pistons to be able to lift the whole thing! It becomes heavy real fast. Naturally I was really proud of my robot, so I showed it to the rest of the team and so Finn quickly commented that the robot should have more arms/legs (like his spider-mech, which have 4 legs). Sigh - I had to add two more legs.
So I did (pictured above). First I had to make the circuit ready for two more legs, adding a few extra converters and a bunch of cable. Next I had to create two more legs and convert the current legs (and the new ones) into coupling, so they wouldn’t collide when moving. Notice that I had to add 4 more pistons on each leg! As I said before, it gets heavy real fast.
That’s it, this was my final version, although there’s so much more that could be added - e.g. the ability to make it walk in the opposite direction. So what’s the final conclusion? Does the robot work and is it better than Finns Spider-mech? The answer is… no and no.The robot is very unstable, and just a small hill or slope would cause it to stumble or get stuck. Also it’s very big, which makes it impossible to take down in caves and adds a lot of work to the building progress. In spite of that, I still think it looks very cool.
So what did I discover while building this robot? Well mostly a bunch of bugs related to the logic gates - e.g. randomly changing output when adding blocks connected to them or when fusing them together. But no major bugs related to the pistons.
My next project - a crane being able to lift an object - turned out to be very simple, and only took me an hour to design and build. Again I’m testing the pistons.
Notice the 3 sets of logic gates on the top-left? One pushes/pulls the arm horizontally, one to lower/lift the arm, and the last one to grab the iron block. When working with pistons, I found these specific circuits of logic gates (pictured beneath) really useful - as they’ll keep the pistons from being affected by gravity and (some) external movement.
There’s not much more to say about the crane. It was really easy to make, and I did not discover any major or unknown bugs while building it. At this point, I felt like the pistons were ready. All of the previously known bugs with the pistons were fixed. My testing of the piston were exhausted and no new bugs appeared doing the progress of building these contraptions - it was time to test something else, but I’ll get into that in part two of “Testing by creating”.
Feel free to comment or show of your contraptions in the section below.