Flotilla projects feedback

My daughter (5) and I are enjoying the projects in the mega treasure chest, but we do have some feedback:

  • the card for the nightlight was particularly hard to slot into the white stand plate. The slots could be many mm wider, since if they sat gently in the slots then 5yo hands would find it much easier to assemble.
  • my daughter loved slotting the sensors onto the dock, but I was personally disappointed when each project ended with a button to launch an app, rather than to program rockpool. Things like the balancing game can’t work, but the nightlight and a modified version of the weather station would work there.
  • the robot, which my daughter was most excited about, had the most problems. We didn’t have enough 8mm nuts, despite the video promising spares. We had to cannibalize some from the motors, as the video suggests. The project page nor the video was not clear on which ropes went into objects, so even after a little trial and error it wasn’t clear that the robot was working as intended. Luckily, I was able to mostly recreate it in rockpool.
  • the box references scratch, and we’re looking forward to that turning up.

To be clear, I’m happy with my (post-kickstarter) purchase, and she’s very enthusiastic about it. But I thought you might be interested in these thoughts.

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Oh one more: would be great if there was an easier way to force rainbow to solid white light in rockpool. Unless I’m missing something, you need one each for brightness, R, G and B.

I’m actually quite relieved you said that.

As much as it’s fun to make stuff happen in Cookbook, I feel it’s waaay too instant-gratification and goes against the very point of something like Flotilla.

You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve been working on features to support more permanent saving/loading/sharing of pools so they can be shared, and we’re definitely keen to create more Rockpool-focussed tutorials.

I also have Node-Red on my radar, it’s clear people want it, and need to investigate Scratch again- our original plans for Scratch were incredibly ambitious, and a lot has changed in the Raspberry Pi version of Scratch since Flotilla began.

As a fall-back plan to support Flotilla, and our other boards, I actually wrote a whole framework called ScratchIO (GitHub - Gadgetoid/scratchio: Extensible, plugin-based IO framework for Scratch) for getting stuff connected to Scratch with a more meaningful gammer, and a more modular approach. Unfortunately Scratch totally changed, so I’ve got a lot of homework to do.

Thanks for your feedback. I’ll make sure the right points get to the right people!

/summon @sandyjmacdonald

Oooh node-red looks interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYreeoCoQPI not sure who it serves tho, as I could just drop into python and my daughter is not going to tolerate it compared to scratch.

I also want to say I think rockpool is a fascinating tool, with some really interesting design choices.


First of all I would like to thank you for what you have created with Flotilla.
I would also like to contribute some feedback.
It would be nice to have “multiply” and “divide” in the modify area in Rockpool.
In particular I do have problems to get temperature in °C from the weather module in Rockpool. At least I found out that I simply have to subtract 500 and divide by 10 the “raw” value to convert to °C. Without having a “divide by” operator I don’t know how to do that. So at the moment I have to live with the fact, that I can only output the 24.7 °C as 247 on my number module.

Best wishes!

While I tend to agree that multiply and divide could be useful, I think they would be a fudge for something we could implement a little better. Still useful, however!

Up until recently, I hadn’t explored the concept of different output types on Number, but they work very well for well understood values which have a specific range and format like time, temperature, pressure, etc.

As such, I’ve added a Temperature output to the Number module, going alongside the Hour, Minute and Second ones I’m trying out.

You can play with these at: http://flotil.la/rockpool-edge/

Edit: Now updated to support negative temperatures without breaking horribly :D Have also added support for friendly values in the value labels on outputs, so a number set to temperature will display the temp in the value label.

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Thanks a lot!
This looks pretty good now having the choice “temperature” for the number module. Of course you are right - this look much better with the °C unit being also displayed.
The clock, however, took me a moment to understand the setup correctly, but this also works like a charm.

Thanks again for the quick implementation.

This is the main reason why it’s still in -edge and not pushed up to the main Rockpool. The clock looks great when it gets up and running, but it feels so enormously counter-intuitive.

A clock with HH:MM is great, and a clock with MM:SS is great for other reasons- but Rockpool has no way to reconcile these things.

I may have to totally change how “time” is represented- changing it from three separate things, to a single value that ranges from 0 - 1000 ( 0 to 100% or 0.0 to 1.0 internally ) throughout the course of a day.

So midday would be 50%, etc, and this could be sent to Number to display either HH:MM or MM:SS.

But Minutes and Seconds are still useful for doing stuff every minute or every second.

Tricksy :D

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I’ve been playing around a bit with the possibilities offered by “divide” and “multiply” and I still think they should be available to the final rockpool. I understand your concerns in terms of the limited range from 0-1000 within the rockpool concept. However, these boundaries can also be “messed up” by “add” and “subtract”.
I tried to generate a “digital dice” giving me random numbers in the range 1-6 every time I press the button of the joystick.
If I limit the numbers generated by random using “min” and “max” I seem to be very lucky having rolled many times a six. This is of course due to the way min and max work since they just set a cutoff and do not scale the whole range. By the way - my feeling tells me that min and max work the wrong way around, but maybe I am wrong?!?
So I have to have something to scale everything which works nicely using divide.
The same is true if I want to show the actual random numbers on “number” while having the final rolled dice number displayed on “matrix”. Matrix itself converts raw values by dividing by 100. If I want to have the same on “number” I have to divide by 100 by the “divide” modifier.

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