I am still going through play testing and making sure the game runs properly. To get everything right, including the right sound effects in the right places, I filmed the screen as I played Taipan! on the Virtual Apple 2 site. I was then able to play back the films to match the behaviour to my version. The game is done now apart from tweaks. I want to clean up the code, comment it and document it before putting it up here. I also need to finish the actual physical game.
The other week I started turning my first edition Tai-pan copy into a suitable housing. Basically I am making a hollow book. First you remove the dust jacket and hold it for use later. Next I mixed up some PVA glue and water and added a drop of washing up liquid. The washing up liquid helps break down the surface tension of the glue mix to make it flow easily. Then I just used a small paint brush to glue on the outside edges of the pages of the book. I left the top few pages unglued. I used waxed paper between the top pages and the glued bottom ones then left the glue to dry with a phone book and some weights on top of it to keep the book flat.
Gluing the outside of the pages.
After a few days, once the glue was dry, I set about hollowing out the book. At this point the bulk of the book is a solid lump of paper with the outside of all the pages well stuck together. On the top glued page you mark out where you wish to cut then using a steel rule and a sharp knife you start cutting. Just a few pages at a time to get the start of the cut neat. But then you can cut deeper and remove more pages.
After a while the cut got too deep for my small knife so I had to get a bigger one. Using that I cut all the way down to the rear most page. This took about an hour and made quite a mess, paper everywhere.
Next I used the same glue mixture I used on the outside of the book to glue the inside edge of the cut pages together. And once again used greased paper and the phone book and weights to hold it down till the glue dries.
Once that is done I should have a nice housing to try to put the guts of the game into. I need to work out how I will build up the Arduinos. I do have small experimenters boards I can build up to make them stand alone. But that will mean two circuit boards I need to mount. Or I could build them on one board (using strip board) which I think will be easier. I can use the parts from the experimenters boards (sockets, regulator, reset switch, oscillator, etc) to do that.
The other thing I shall need to do is strip the small LCD I am using to make it small enough to fit into the book. I will also need a suitable front panel. I am thinking wood and thin brass (and hope no idiots start shouting steam-punk – I already did that). All the controls, keypad and screen will need to be recessed so the book can close of course. Batteries are another worry. Can I even fit them in there or will it need to be externally powered? If I can how many should I use? The LCD will run from about 7 volts to 12 volts or so. But at the lower voltages it draws more current. Batteries would be best though to make the game totally portable. It will also have a jack so you can plug it into a full sized video monitor.
Still a bit to do!
Oh, and what to do with all those cut out pages? I did think of using them to light the fire but luckily I have a free NZ Herald subscription for 6 weeks to use for that (that drivel is NOT worth reading).