Alex soldering for the first time

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Greetings and salutations from Space Lab!

The weather has not been our friend lately

It’s my 5th week here interning at Lunar Giant and I thought it would be a good time to give everyone an update on what I’ve been doing and what I’ve learned so far.

But first, let me introduce myself:

My name is Alex Smith, and I’m a senior at DePaul University. I major in Video Game Development with a focus in Design and Production. I’m a producer by trade, but I do a lot of design work. I sought out an internship with Lunar Giant after finding out about Project Libity. I’m all about exploring different ways to play games both physically and virtually. Project Libity encompasses both of those realms, with the added benefit of working through a medium I’ve never worked with before (more on that in a little bit).

 

So enough about me, let’s talk more about me:

The idea of interning at Lunar Giant had two major beneficial aspects;

  • I would be able to see how a small indie company is ran
  •  I would be able to learn how to prototype, solder, program, and design using the Arduino microcontroller.

After 5 weeks I feel pretty confident that I’m well on my to mastering the Ardunio, but this has not been without some major hurdles.

“What kind of hurdles?”

Well I’m glad you asked!

Before interning here I knew absolutely nothing about the Arduino, electrical engineering, soldering, and had minimal code knowledge (I had only ever worked in Unity).

Since then, I have worked my butt off in order to learn all the skills necessary in order to contribute positively to Project Libity.

Being a millennial I have a habit of taking pictures of things and posting them all over the internet, so my Instagram also doubles as a way to visually document my time here at Lunar Giant.

 

Here’s a quick recap of everything I’ve learned so far:

 

First I learned to breadboard:

 

Breadboard

Breadboarding is a fast way to check and make sure your circuit works. What’s great about breadboarding is that you don’t have to solder in order to make sure things run right, which means if you mess up (which I have done a lot of) it’s really easy to figure out what went wrong and try to fix it.

 

Next I learned to program:

 

This was the first project I did with the Arduino: I took some LEDs and told them to blink at different intervals. Arduino has its own software that’s easy to understand (especially for beginners) and has a fantastic community that is active in helping other people with their projects. (Plus the software is free!) With just a few lines of code I can make the LEDs dance however I want!

 

Last but not least came soldering.

 

Alex soldering for the first time

 

After you know your layout (thanks to the breadboard) and know that the code works (thanks to the Arduino code) you can attach everything to a circuit board via soldering! Soldering is when you heat up metal and use it as a bonding agent with the wire (kind of like glue!). The big difference is that the metal allows electricity to flow through the circuits while also being incredibly tough to separate.

I’m still working on the fancy electrical engineering, but it’s coming along nicely! I’ve even started designing a controller for my senior project (more on that in future posts)!