Skip to Content

How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

22 replies [Last post]
DSfan
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969

A Game I am working on right now. After the Sunset is a game about battling Vampires and Werewolfs, and what can both not stand? The sun of course!

I thought it would be pretty cool for a lightbulb in the middle of the board to turn on at random, and all creatures in the light are either removed or weakened (I haven't decided yet).

The only problem I have is making the lightbulb turn on at random, does anybody know how to make that work?

Thanks a lot,
-Justin

Hedge-o-Matic
Hedge-o-Matic's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/30/2008
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

Are we talking about a physical lightbulb? I assume an LED would work as well? You wouldn't want pieces too close to the bulb to burst into flames, I image!

If so, here are some physical problems you might want to consider, gameplay-wise, before you put too many eggs in the lightbulb basket.

First, how often is this bulb to light up? What is the minimum and maximum timeframe? If the presence of the light destroys creatures, what actions must the players take to reflect this? It would be a problem if it takes too long, since the bulb is going to turn on againat aome point.

Also, when dealing with realtime elements, the actual time it takes to perform game tasks needs to be considered. Dice rolling must be kept simple. cArds can have no more than a few words on them. there can be little calculation involved, and game resolution must be kept very simple. "Spacehulk" is a great example of how to do this sort of thing right, but Spacehulk could keep the complexity higher because the player under pressure had a minimum time to act, and could use this time each turn.

With a random realtime, these balancing issues become far trickier. If you think normal game balance is difficult to achieve, how much worse is balancing the physical and mental processes needed to play againt the time alloted?

I really think you might want to consider a non-realtime solution, such as a shffled deck of cards. You could have a "sun track", with the following states:

Sunset
Night
Midnight
Night
Pre-dawn
Dawn
Day
Day
Dusk

Each turn, or each action, the players turn a Time card face up. If the card is the very next state listed on the Sun Track, the track is advanced to that state. If not, the card is placed on the Reshuffle pile, and the turn continues without a Sun change. When Midnight is reached, the sun cards are all re-shuffled into the pile.

This will make the night last longer than the day (as there are more cards in the mix), divide the time into game-usable segments (allowing for frantic dashes back into coffins, and whatnot), and keeps a random element not based on realtime. After all, the sun doesn't pop into the sky at random, and vampires without some circadian rythm remaining to them would be quickly snuffed out, Darwin-style.

Just a thought!

Nando
Offline
Joined: 07/22/2008
Re: How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

DSfan wrote:
The only problem I have is making the lightbulb turn on at random ...

I'm with Hedge on this...is random what you really want? For all of the implementations of this I can imagine so far, I can't see how you could retain turns and turn order in a fair way. Maybe it isn't what you meant, but unfortunately, words matter (otherwise people wouldn't complain of poorly written rules).

DSfan wrote:
... does anybody know how to make that work?

I'm sure someone does, but this seems like a production detail. I mean really, why worry about it until you're ready to prototype? Maybe just flip a token colored yellow on one side (sun) and white on the other (moon). Or close your eyes while you set an egg timer. Or periodically try to turn on the room's overhead light by throwing balled up socks at the lightswitch. ;-)

DSfan
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
I really think you might want to consider a non-realtime solution, such as a shffled deck of cards. You could have a "sun track", with the following states:

Sunset
Night
Midnight
Night
Pre-dawn
Dawn
Day
Day
Dusk

Each turn, or each action, the players turn a Time card face up. If the card is the very next state listed on the Sun Track, the track is advanced to that state. If not, the card is placed on the Reshuffle pile, and the turn continues without a Sun change. When Midnight is reached, the sun cards are all re-shuffled into the pile.

Cards would work too. I actually like the idea of cards (and it most likely would of been my last resort).

This would also allow players to perform more attacks on their enemy, while also allowing them to move closer, and find save spots.

Thanks for the replies Nando, and Hedge
-Justin

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Making the light bulb or led glow

OK

I won't give you the exact recipe but I can still give you some information to make you chose if it really worth it.

There is 2 path you can take :

- The electrick analogue way
And
- The electronic numeric way

The electrick way will use a real light builb. Put it will be really difficult to programm some sort of behavior to the light bulb. The only thing I can think of is setting some sort of clock against yur power entry that cut and enable the current. Still it won't be random.

For the electronic you will use a led for light. First you need a crystal to make oscilation a some kind of clock chip. This will make some kind of clock. Then you can use a counter chip will hold a value that increment itself each time the clock send a signal.

So in this case, let say the clock sent a signal each second, you can say that when the counter reach 20, cut/enable current in the led and then reset the counter. This will make the light change each 20 seconds.

Now the problem is the randomness. There is no chip that produce random numbers ( not that I know ) it can only be done through software algorithm. Still, one thing you can do is keep a full real clock in the board and when you change the light, reinitialise the counter to a clok value ( the seconds for example ). This will somewhat vary the 20 seconds fixed delay. But it will still be predictable.

Now if you want to do randomness by software ( let say you really want to do it ) you must first add a processor chip and then a ROM chip where you will write your programm on it. You might need some other chips for a buffer ( I am not sure ) but basicly it is what you will need.

So making pure random number out of electronics can be really hard ( unlss they have made a chip to do the job. It could still be possible to make a simple clock circuit, it won't be easy but it can be done by hand in and won't be too much complex to debug.

You could also think about using interruptors. Like some even in the game can allow you to push a button that will influence the circuit. It could allow some kind of randomness.

Sayonara(^_^)

Larienna

Aerjen
Offline
Joined: 08/28/2008
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

There's an easy way to produce randomness. You could just use something which produces static noise and have a threshold at which you would let the light switch on or of. You could also let it use a counter to have it turn on/off after exceeding the threshold an x number of times.

seo
seo's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

Is the random factor going to be automatic (the light migh turn on in the middle of a players turn) or turn based (as if it were triggered by a roll of dice or the pick of a card)?

I think the answer to that will influence both gameplay and how to implement the random light.

I would rather go for turn based, to avoid players slowing the game just waiting for the light to randomly turn on, or playng in a mad rush to avoid the light, if they are in the risky area. (Now that I think of it, that wouldn't necessaryly be a bad thing, though).

If turn based (say, every player makes his/her move(s), then triggers the "Random Light Switch(R)" to determine whether the light remains off or turns on), you could spin a wheel or soemthing. The wheel would have some conducting areas and some insulated ones, and work as a swithch in the light circuit. Sometimes the wheel will close the circuit and the light will turn on, some other times the circuit will remain open, and the light off. This shouldn't be too hard to bouild, just a cardboard disc with some metal foil swatches (like rays that join at the center) on the back.

I've just build a rough model to check if the idea works, and it does. :-)

The 2" nail and the kitchen aluminium foil aren't the best choices for mass production, though. You're granted a free licence of my Random Light Switch(R) as long as you solve those two issues. ;-)

Here is the RLS(R) at work:

And here are the unmounted view showing the high end technology involved:

You can control the likeliness of the light turning on by modifying the % of conductive areas in the wheel. Mine is 'calibrated' for 1/3 (aprox) chance of light and 2/3 of no light.

HTH,

Seo

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Real time game

HI

On my point of view, I prefer turn based game but I have seen 1 real time game in my life. It was called "Nightmare".

It used a video tape that you play on your VCR and triggered events in the game. Yes you could speed up or slow down the game process. But in this case, I think it was either player or the video tape that could win the game. So the player needed somewhat to cooperate.

So it is possible to make realtime game, it's just really different. It's your choice.

By the way, nice setup for the "Magic Wheel".

Oracle
Offline
Joined: 06/22/2010
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

Your best bet would be to use an LED instead of a lightbulb, and have it controlled my a microcontroller.

Microchip (www.microchip.com) makes an MCU roughly the size of a grain of rice that's 49 cents in production quantity (under $1 in singles) that you could use. With this device all you'd need is the MCU, LED, and a coin-battery. Total price should be about $1.50 and it will be very tiny.

Of course you'll need someone to write the very simple assembly program for the MCU as well as program the chip and assemble the device.

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

Sounds like the MCU would do the trick.

That said, I really dig the spinner! Heck, you could simulate the fun of the spinner with the programming, the player pushes a button and have the light flash very quickly, then more slowly, then even more slowly, until it either stays on or off. This would provide a lot of nice tension, I think!

-- Matthew

seo
seo's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

I have to admit that your electronic solution sounds a lot more practical. Production costs for my wheel would be higher, and it will be more prone to suffer from construction or assembly problems.

It was fun to build it, though. :-)

Seo

Anonymous
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

FWIW, IMHO (sorry)... concepts like, an actual physical light (non-heat producing of course) in a game... instead of a track or cards is EXACTLY the kind of component that would make me look twice... it takes me back... (there was an old game with a plastic ghost that had a tiny light bulb in it... my memory fails me tho.... anyway...

BRAVO! Stick with it.

Now, to be nitpicky, you may want to stick with Vampires (werewolves have no aversion to sunlight).... but you could introduce a *MOON* as well as the *SUN*... now this is something.

I am envisioning pieces moving around a game board and as they hit each square, the sun could pop up (die vampire die!) or the moon could rise (billy, why is your mouth foaming!?)... the led could turn orange/red (sun) or yellow/white (moon)... or two separate leds in the middle of a picture of a sun and a moon... whatever

anyway, just a small little think tank explosion I had here, maybe it will spark ya.

Anonymous
DOH!
phpbbadmin
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2013
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

Brahmulus wrote:
FWIW, IMHO (sorry)... concepts like, an actual physical light (non-heat producing of course) in a game... instead of a track or cards is EXACTLY the kind of component that would make me look twice... it takes me back... (there was an old game with a plastic ghost that had a tiny light bulb in it... my memory fails me tho.... anyway...

Green ghost perhaps?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/4460

Although technically it didn't have a light bulb, but in reality it was just a glow-in-the-dark game.

I love the possiblity of combining electronics with the classic board game. I think if done properly, you can get a lot of the benefits of both genres into a pleasant gaming experience.

-M

VeritasGames
VeritasGames's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/01/2008
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

I have a game called Vampire Hunter

http://www.gamepart.com/product/item/fly_628.html

It uses a color changing light in a castle. The game must be played in the dark, and the board is done in red and blue and the spaces on the board change in either red light or blue light.

It uses a simple push button switch -- push it once it's red and again and it's blue. Game effects change what color the light is supposed to be.

That's a very simple solution.

Vampire Hunter can be purchased very cheaply at Kay Bee Toys. Buy one. Steal the tower. Come up with mechanics (dice, cards, etc.) that effect a light status change. If you like the effect, build your own light structure. A cheap and easy way to playtest.

I thought the spinning wheel randomizer was, by the way, the bomb. If you need random, that's one of the best ways to go. Whatever you do, do NOT use a time-dependent algorithm, or as others have pointed out, people will stall until the light changes.

DSfan
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

Sorry I haven't really been replying, I've just kind of been looking at all the different ideas!

Anyway, I also really like the the Random Light Switch Seo, its really neat.

If I could, do you have the directions for how to make something like this? I also want to how much it would cost?

Thanks,
-Justin

Anonymous
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

DarkHorse:
Nope not that one, but great attempt, it was a white ghost may have been Casper related? The game you pointed out shocked another flashback into my system... a game with witches and pieces that looked very similar to teh green ghost entry on bgg. gotta love that stuff.

VeritasGames:
You may wanna peek exactly two posts above yours. *wink*

seo
seo's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

Justin,

I've just uploaded detailed (and I hope fun) instructions to build the internationally acclaimed RLSĀ®. You cand check the PDF here.

Have fun, I sure had. :-)

Ariel

Yogurt
Yogurt's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/09/2009
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

The random light could work in the game, if there were some other reason to avoid stalling, for example, any player can trigger end-of-round when ready, leaving stalling players in the cold.

Like any real-time game, close calls would still probably cause disputes among players who are prone to them.

Oh, and I bow to the RLS, as well!

Yogurt

DSfan
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

I'm going to go with a turn-based design right now, as it will prove (and already has) to be the easiest ;)

I just built a small RLS to test it, and it thankfully worked.

My intent is to have 3 parts to the board. The first is the bottom. This would just be some cheap cardboard. The second (which would be connected to the bottom) is the Random Light Switch. Each side of the bottom layer will have a part of the RLS hanging off of it, so that each person can spin the spinner. The third - and final - part is on top of all those. This is the gameboard. The light (which represents the sun) will stick out of the middle of this piece.

Now after going through all that I noticed a problem... Cost!

-Justin

seo
seo's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

yogurt wrote:
Oh, and I bow to the RLS, as well!

Wow, thanks, Yogurt. I'm flattered. :-)

If only I could build as successful games as gadgets, I would have a shot to detrone you from the Game Design Showdown kingdom. ;-)

Anonymous
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

Quote:
The game you pointed out shocked another flashback into my system... a game with witches and pieces that looked very similar to the green ghost entry on bgg. gotta love that stuff.quote]

Woo Hoo! Found it...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/3577

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
How do I Make A Lightbulb Randomly Turn On?

I forgot all about that game... used to have it as a kid! And loved it! Thanks for reminding me!

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut