Minerunner


The version 1.0 hand controllers and the reflectance sensor (with two green bands located near the front edge of the belt) of the Minerunner controller system.

Minerunner is made from a treadmill. It uses a reflectance sensor that reads the rotation of the belt rollers and translates the rotations into different speeds. Speeds on the treadmill are generally equivalent to speeds achieved in the game when a node is equivalent to a cubic meter. Currently, there are ten speeds configurable in the game.


Version 1.0 Controls on the left: this controller requires two hands. The white button turns left, the red button turns right, and the blue buttons are both jump buttons. Version 2.0 controller on the right. This is made from a Wii nunchuk and incorporates X and Y panning, a jump button, and a secondary button (currently mapped to dig or mouse click), all on one handy controller with a cord that's slightly too short.

The Pololu A-Star can act as a human interface device so the controller inputs, be it buttons or a joystick are translated into keyboard and mouse data. For example, on the v1.0 controller, the blue buttons, the "jump" buttons, are translated into presses of the space bar.
The speeds of the treadmill are translated into different keypresses depending on how fast the belt is moving. The odometry is achieved by taking reflectance readings off of one of the belt rollers. There is a piece of white tape on the roller and each time it passes, an infrared emitter and detector pair 'sees' the IR light reflected off of the tape (and not off of the bare roller). Setting up different speeds for this part required modifications to Minetest and I can think of several ways to do this. The approach I chose, which I don't think is the best solution but it was quick and reasonably easy, was to add in 10 different speed keys each assignable in minetest.conf.


A detail of the sensor. The sensor reads reflectance off of a strip of tape on the roller.

Traveling over land is generally safe and is the fastest means of travel. However at night it can be hazardous. It seems that most of the harmful monsters currently defined in the game are land-based. In particular, the vombies are fierce and come out at night in numbers and can be difficult to escape. Aside from the Hairy Eyeball, currently all of the aggressive NPCs I use in the game come from the Animals Modpack.


The control board for Minerunner is pretty simple. (This is the version 1.0 board. The v2.0 board, shown above, is similar and simpler.)

Some notes about this controller:

The code for Minerunner is open source and available here:

Please send questions, comments, complaints, and/or bug reports to minercise @ richfox dot org

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