Takeoff

It's about space ...
The two-page assignment paper could’ve been cut down to this single sentence. The final project in this year’s IT class could be anything, as long as it had something to do with space. Open tasks like this is both the best and the worst thing I know. On the one hand, I can (obviously) make whatever I want, but on the other hand it’s really hard to decide what to do.

Anyway, I started asking people for ideas. Long story short: you can make a lot of stuff that has something to do with space, everything from meteor locators to star identifiers. And you can make a lot of different games. Actually, almost everyone I asked suggested some kind of game.

The best (doable) idea was to create a game where you simply send a rocket into space. So, I began coding what became Takeoff. The first level was completed in two days, and I put the game on Elevweb (a web motel I get from school). Some friends started playing and I put together a scoreboard too.

A few weeks, an Easter holiday and 23 documented bugfixes / features later, the game is almost ready for submission. Unfortunately Elevweb went down, so I moved the game to gratiswebhotell.no (recommended!), before I finally got my new site here at simen.codes.

As I write this, we’ve launched 1,388 rockets. The longest distance traveled by a single rocket is 24046px, or 6.4 meters. Since I added the distance counter, the total traveled distance is about 860 meters. That’s roughly equivalent to a trip to my local grocery store. But that sounds a bit boring, so let’s say just over 1% of the distance to space (the formal “border” is 81 km above sea level).

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who tried Takeoff and came with feedback! It’s always much more fun to code apps that someone actually use. If you haven’t tried Takeoff yet, it’s about time you try it!

And while I’m at it: Can you beat my highscore?