BASIC Stamp, VB.NET and LED’s=a great Starship Simulation

sttrk2While taking a break from my XGS PIC Tiny Basic project, I’ve been experimenting with my Basic Stamp Homework board.  While playing around with the seven segment LED counting circuit, I realized that I had a pretty nifty little computer that could interact with software on my Windows computer while also making something happen on it, something that interacts with the physical world. Like lighting up an LED or moving a servo.  That got me thinking about interactive smart games.

While pondering this, I was also looking for a small, Star Trek game that I could adapt as an example game for my XGS PIC Tiny Basic project.  Suddenly, I remembered an article in an old Interface Age magazine that outlined a very complex starship simulation. In the article, the author wrote about networking several microcomputers (it was a late ‘70s magazine) that would each run part of the simulation and one ‘central’ micro would bring it all together. Hmm…Star Trek, BASIC Stamp, Windows…

So, I whipped up a two LED circuit (ok, I ‘built’ it from the book) with a red and a green LED.  I wrote some simple code to:

  • light up the appropriate LED based on the ‘ship condition’
  • search for the nasty Borg (I updated the game)
  • alert the Windows computer when a Borg cube was ‘found’
  • the Windows computer displays the Borg threat on an Next Generation style screen
  • do not much else at the moment.

Now, when I’m done with the Tiny Basic project, I’m going to explore this game a bit further. Imagine having several of these Basic Stamps connected, each running, say, a borg simulation, the ships computer or even another alien species hunting both down. You could get quite elaborate and since each Basic Stamp would be dedicated to a specific function, you only need to worry about communicating with the Windows computer and that is something that the Basic Stamp does very well.

An enterprising soul (hmm) could build a Next Gen looking housing and mount switches, LED’s, etc. for an even more engrossing game.  The possibilities are endless.


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