As mentioned before, I’m enthusiastic about games that teach skills. If your interests lay in hardware hacking, circuit design, and electronic engineering, here are three programs that may help you improve your knowledge, prototype circuits, or just have some fun.
Ruckingenur II – A reverse engineering game
If you have not played Ruckingenur II before, don’t hesitate to go grab it right now – It’s a fantastic game! The game is split into four levels (more coming soon), where you must successfully reverse engineer a different, novel circuit. The author has tried hard to give the game drama; writing an exciting backstory, recording cut-scenes, and giving you some cool devices to play around with. Ruckingenur II is free, and downloadable here.
Atanua – Visual Logic Simulator
Continuing with the theme of play, although getting more practical, Atanua provides a nice visual interface for experimenting and playing with logic. You can check out their flash demo here, to get an idea of the interface.
It is specifically focussed at logic, which means you do not really improve your practical circuit design skills. For example buttons only have a logic high/low wire, and nothing else. If you just want to play with logic gates though, this should be great.
Free for non-commercial use, and available on Atanua’s download page.
LTspice IV – Full-featured simulator
Finally, LTspice IV is a free, professional design simulator. One of the great features of LTspice is it’s ability to work with the standard SPICE device models available from hardware manufacturers. LTspice can be a bit intimidating at first – it does not have quite the user-friendly look of Apanua – but if you are looking for something to do circuit design prototyping with, this could be it. The ability to copy a real circuit, and then change and analyse, could be very helpful. Free, and downloadable from Linear Technology.
How did you find these programs? Know of better programs, or other educational games?
Share your thoughts in the comments.