The Mr Benn Expo quickly became more of a challenge than first anticipated, but as Amy and Ged explain, although they were down they were certainly not out!
Since my first post about the Mr Benn project, the game made by the gaming team was completed and, as it turned out, worked out really well! However sadly the robot team suffered a tragic experience on Tuesday, the day before we were due to finish, resulting in the robot being broken.
The first issue that we encountered on Tuesday was that we could not get the controllers to synchronise with our robot as we were not sure about how to stop it from running through a web server. After fixing this by programming the robot to run through the keyboard arrow keys, the robot crashed into a chair leg and broke! What made this worse was that if we had one more day we could have fixed the problems and completed the robot so that it was usable for the Mr Benn expo.
We tried a number of different fixes including putting a new Raspberry Pi onto the robot. This did work originally, but then we found that the controllers would not cooperate with us and by this time, we had ran out of time and it was the day of the Expo so we had to call it a day.
On the day….
On the day Marc, Ged, Josh and Andy took a full computer, with screen, mouse and keyboard for the wolf computer game, however when we arrived at Northumbria Uni where the expo took place we couldn’t find a power cable for the machine for almost 20 minutes!
Luckily Marc had made a replacement for the robot challenge on his laptop – a 2D version of the original challenge. Just like the robot the 2D version was controlled 4 buzz controllers, all set to go in a certain direction so it required team work from the school kids to complete the racetrack. To make the game more interesting Marc coded the controllers so that every time the controllers were pressed 50 times they would all change! So the controller that originally went left now goes right, right would go forward and forward would be back, etc. These changes were all completed random and cause quite a lot of confusion, but added to the fun.
Unfortunately we found that a few schools had pulled out of the Mr Benn Expo last minute, however there were still around 3-4 schools that participated. The schools were split up into groups of 5-6.
There were a few glitches for the first two groups of young people as the wolf game wasn’t set up since the power cable was missing but once the wolf game was set up everything ran really plain sailing. The students all got engaged in the challenges and seemed to really enjoy our stand. One woman at the expo told us at the end that all the students were talking about our games, even after they moved on to take a look at other companies.
I didn’t have the chance to look around at the other business’ stalls however from where I was standing they looked very informative and less hands on like ours was. Of about eight tables only three had practical, hands-on activities to get involved in.
Overall despite the bad luck we had with the robot challenge the Mr Benn expo was a success. By starting off by introducing ourselves and what Wolf did, then going into our practical activities I think we managed to both educate the students, yet keep them engaged at the same time.
To find out more about the academy or learn about how you could become involved visit our Wolf Academy pages.
Written by Amy & Ged.by