Week 9: Typing Along


Within the machine we’ve planned to keep the first and final interactions located at the table that the typewriter sits on, to have everything come back around to the guest. The mailbox post that we’ll be getting will be placed right up next to the table where the sealed letter will slide into it and the snail will emerge.

We finally got a hold of a typewriter to experiment with and of course ran into issues with it right away. When we received it the carriage mechanism that we were hoping to use to push a weight off of the table, really the main piece of the typewriter that we needed, didn’t work. Of course. With the help of Dave Purta and liberal WD40 and fidgeting with some stuck tabs, its up and running!

Something that we had imagined for the interaction was that guests would walk up and type out a line of text to have the carriage advance slowly along to end by pushing the weight off at the end with a *ding*. However after playing with it and feeling how juicy the carriage release button feels to press, we’re just going to have guest press and hold that to begin, because it is also much faster and more reliable.


The bees have now been rigged, animated and exported for implementation following the flower bloom. We have a few different moves for them, including flapping, figure 8’ing, dancing with their feet and antennae. 

We’ve also started modeling the snail box which will likely be ready for some early animation sometime next week ideally.


We’ve rigged up the machine to include the typewriter with some temporary elements to help it get going. We also carried out some more experiments with light and shadow.

This weekend we ran a small playtest with another ETCer who gave us some really helpful feedback regarding the speed that the interaction played out. Because of how some of the individual elements end, occasionally they are more distracting than others. For example, when the bird glides to the top of the second shelf, the umbrella continues on its path. For our tester, they found this combination of movements difficult to follow and tell what was the next element to pay attention to. Because of this we are looking at how we can slow down the interaction generally to allow for more grace periods and to make sure that guests are comprehending how the experience is playing out and how each element connects to the next.

Next week we’ll be getting some more of our final hardware and doing some more playtesting at the ETC, so lots of preparation for that to do.