Happy Friday, RoboEngineers!
We know it’s been a hot minute since our last devblog, but we come bearing exciting news! Some new parts have been added to RoboCo and we’re sure that they’ll add a spring to your next RoboStep!
What Kinds of Springs Have We Added?
When you think of springs, the first type that comes to mind is probably a standard coil spring that can compress or extend, like the kind you’d find in a ballpoint pen. In RoboCo, we refer to these as linear springs.* Our linear springs come in two sizes – small (1x1x1) and large (3x3x1) — which can be resized to a length of 1x1x25 and 3x3x25 respectively. Similar to our large piston, the large linear spring takes up more space but is more powerful, capable of higher settings in its Properties panel (more on those later).
We also have a torsion spring. “Torsion” means “twisting” and is also where the term “torque” comes from. A torsion spring is also a coil spring, but with its endpoints set up to twist, store, and release rotational energy. You may recognize these springs as being used in a mousetrap or the mechanism that opens your garage door. In RoboCo, the torsion spring comes in one size (1x1x1) and, unlike our linear springs, it isn’t resizable.
Note that the springs are available right away in the Sandbox, but you will need at least 18 bits (at the time of this writing) to unlock them in the Campaign!
* Note: As the engineering enthusiasts reading this may know, “linear springs” aren’t called that because of the linear motion when they compress or extend. They’re called that because the coils are of uniform diameter and are a consistent distance apart. So technically these are linear rate compression or extension springs, but we simplified them to keep the name short and distinct.
What Can You Do With Linear Springs?
Now that we’ve gone over what kinds of springs we’ve added, let’s get into the fun stuff, like what players can do with them.
Our two linear springs have three editable properties – spring constant, damper, and resting point.
Spring Constant (aka spring rate or spring coefficient) adjusts the stiffness of the spring. The higher the spring constant, the more force the spring can exert to stay at or return to its resting point, as in Hooke’s law.
Going beyond a basic coil spring, RoboCo’s springs also have a damper inside them. This makes them more tunable for uses like vehicle suspension. The Damper property adds resistance, which influences how long the spring will oscillate around the resting point before dying down. The higher the number, the more resistance.
Resting Point allows players to choose what resting state the spring will return to when no external forces are applied. There are three resting states players can choose from – compressed, middle, and uncompressed.
What Can You Do With the Torsion Spring?
Our torsion spring has all the same properties as our linear springs plus one extra.
With our torsion springs, you can adjust the starting point in addition to the resting point. The starting point lets the player choose the spring’s initial state when entering Live Mode from Edit Mode. Players can either choose to have the torsion spring start wound, unwound, or in the middle.
We’ve Also Added Suspension Wheels!
Using our new springs, we’ve also added new left and right wheel constructs that give you some basic spring suspension! Suspension can help steady the chassis of your vehicle as it drives over uneven terrain, like when the top of a ramp transitions to a level platform.
Each construct includes a wheel, motor, and spring with some default properties. You may need to tune the properties or placement of the wheel constructs to feel right for your specific vehicle’s weight distribution, but the constructs are a great way to get started or save time.
A Cool Application of RoboCo Springs
Need some more inspiration on how to utilize this new part? Our development team has you covered! Just…make sure not to show Bennet Foddy this clip. We don’t know if he’ll get over it.
RoboCo Updates Going Forward!
Want to know more about updates going forward, make sure to tune in next week, when we’ll be sharing our updated release plan going forward! The following week, we’ll also be sharing some incredible images and videos of what the game looks like in VR and give an update as to when players can expect to play RoboCo with their own VR headset.
And that’s it for this week’s devblog! We hope you enjoy playing and experimenting with these new parts. Keep a lookout for more cool things coming soon!