A major lesson learned from this project was how to work with what we have, both from a materials standpoint and from a user experience standpoint. Having chosen a very ambitious project with a short timeline, it was important to plan for our game not having all the capabilities we initially hoped for. How do we still create a fun and engaging game with what we do have?
With the gantry only driving in one axis during the gameplay, the game could easily have become trivial. We needed a way of increasing complexity so that the game would take a few tries to win. This meant fine-tuning the amount of fuel allotted to the user and the speeds accepted as a win condition so that the game was winnable, but required a specific strategy. This allowed us to get the most gameplay out of our limited system.
In addition to needing to be resourceful in regards to gameplay, we also needed to learn how to work with what we had with our limited budget. This meant 3-D printing many of our parts and making as many parts of the mechanical system from scratch as possible. Our project was much improved by the 80-20 donated by the teaching staff.
Finally, we learned what a large difference aesthetics make. With many Olin projects, the emphasis has been on getting a working prototype with no concern for a polished project that is pleasantly designed. For this project, the user experience is a large piece. Once the cabinet was installed and the vinyl-cut stickers placed, the game suddenly looked a lot more approachable and playable.