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May 2019 | The Wand-Ring Project

I created the simplified dueling system because the spells in the first dueling system were too difficult. I’ve spent some time with the simplified dueling system; it’s too simple. It’s great as a “first time player” trainer, but it needs to be faster and have more depth. This is not surprising and reasonable.

So I’m making an intermediate dueling system. Three basic core principles to it:

  1. Keep everything that’s in the simplified system.
  2. Decrease the time you have to react to a storm (formerly ball) attack.
  3. Add two more attacks – zap and leech.

The spells:

  • Storm – The fundamental attack.
    • Speed: Simplified it takes 10 seconds to hit. Let’s cut that to 5.
    • Damage: 1 pd
    • Defense: Opposed = 0 pd; orthogonal = 1 pd; same = 2 pd
  • Wall – The only defense.
    • Speed: Instant. Lasts until used or over-spelled.
  • Zap – A quick attack.
    • Speed: 3 seconds.
    • Damage: 1 pd
    • Defense: Opposed = -1 pd (You heal a point!); orthogonal = 0 pd; same = 1 pd
  • Leech – A slow, sticky attack that’ll kill you if you ignore it.
    • Speed: Every 7 seconds.
    • Damage: 1 pd
    • Defense: Opposed or orthogonal: 0 pd; same = 1 pd

That looks ok. I’ll code it up and see how it works out.

I showed the wands off to the public at Austin Maker Faire on May 4, 2019 and learned a lot.

  • Young boys like to shake things very vigorously.
  • Thinly-printed PLA plastic breaks when shaken vigorously.
  • If the wand shaft and handle are separate pieces joined at the neck, that connection need to be very secure or it will fail.
  • PLA wands break easily in the plane they’re printed on when you drop them on concrete.
  • I need to add a fragility warning to the descriptions in the store.
  • More people than you’d expect will press a button with no idea of what it does. (The wands got turned off a lot.)
  • Having only audial or only visual feedback is not sufficient. Both work really well.
  • Younger children liked the blocky wand more than the round wand. I’m calling this “The Minecraft Effect.”
  • The dueling spells are too hard to cast – especially the “ball” part of any attack spell. I’ve simplified it.
  • Some (a few) people were ready to buy right on the spot.
  • Print cheap info cards on bright paper, like fluorescent green or yellow.
  • Restrict access to your stuff. Do not let people access both sides of your demo table (for example).

I need to redesign some of my wand shells and learn about how to print with plastics other than PLA. It was a good experience. I’m feeling pretty good about the entire thing. Yay!

Austin Maker Faire’s tomorrow, and I have very little in the way of info about how the programs for the wands work. It’s my lunch break, so I’m gonna write as much as I can as quickly as possible. I figure folks can pull this blog up on their phones if needed…

Wand Positions

To use your wand correctly, it helps to know the positions it recognizes. Wand-Ring wands recognize eight positions: Ahead, Left, Right up, down, Up, Down, and Back.

  • Straight Ahead (aka: center)
    • Holding the wand in your hand like you’d hold the handle of a bicycle (…or a wand, perhaps), pointing it straight ahead, parallel to the ground.
    • Straight Ahead is the “neutral” position. Most games assume this is the default position you’ll have when you’re holding the wand during active use.
    • The color associated with Straight Ahead is white.
    • The shorthand for Straight Ahead is “A.”
  • Left
    • From center, twist the wand 90º counter-clockwise (aka: widdershins), as you would a doorknob.
    • The color associated with Left is red.
    • The element associated with Left is fire.
    • The shorthand for Left is “L.”
  • Right
    • From center, twist the wand 90º clockwise (aka: deosil), as you would a doorknob.
    • The color associated with Right is blue.
    • The element associated with Right is water.
    • The shorthand for Right is “R.”
  • up (with a tiny “u”)
    • From center, point the wand 45 to 50º upward, relative to the ground.
    • The color associated with this position is yellow.
    • The element associated with up is air.
    • The shorthand for up is “u.”
  • down (with a tiny “d”)
    • From center, point the wand 45 to 50º downward, relative to the ground.
    • The color associated with down is green.
    • The element associated with down is earth.
    • The shorthand for down is “d.”
  • Up (with a capital “U”)
    • From center, point the wand 90º upward, relative to the ground.
    • The color associated with Up is aqua.
    • The shorthand for Up is “U.”
  • Down (with a capital “D”)
    • From center, point the wand 90º down, at the ground.
    • The color associated with Down is light pink.
    • The shorthand for Down is “D.”
  • Back
    • Pointing the wand over your shoulder at more than 45º from Up should register as Back.
    • The color associated with Back is magenta (purple).
    • The shorthand for Back is “B.”

When you wave and twist your wand, it moves from position to position. How your wand reacts to being moved depends on the software that’s loaded on your wand.

Using the Multimodal Software

To change from one mode to the next mode, give the handle of the wand a firm, but gentle bump. Bumping the last mode cycles back to the first mode.

Mode 1: Twinkle Mode

When you turn your wand on, it’ll sparkle and twinkle. It’s pretty, but it’s not listening to how you move it.

Mode 2: Dazzle Mode

Dazzle mode moves eight differently-colored balls up and down the wand at different speeds. It’s pretty, but it’s not listening to how you move it.

Mode 3: Doodle Mode #1

Doodle mode lights the entire wand up. The color of the wand depends on what position it’s in.

Every spell has a specific sequence of positions that’ll trigger it. To cast a spell, you have to move your wand through the correct sequence of positions. Your wand will change color to match the Wand Positions listed above.

Mode 4: Doodle Mode #2

Doodle mode #2 sends a pew-pew ball of energy up the wand when you change from one position to another. The color of the ball matches the wand’s new position.

Mode 5: Daylight Mode

Daylight mode sets the entire wand to full white brightness. It’s not listening to motion in this mode.

Mode 6: Gremlin Infestation! Mode

This mode is a real-time game. Red and blue gremlins are infesting your wand. Conjure portals that match their color to send them back!

These instructions assume you’re holding the wand in the center position (pointing straight ahead).

A sequence of red and blue lights (gremlins) will appear at the tip of your wand. Every now and then, a new gremlin will appear at the tip, pushing the other gremlins closer to your wand’s handle. If the gremlins reach your handle, your wand’s matrix collapses (you lose the game).

To conjure a portal, twist your wand from Ahead to Left or Right. Left conjures a red portal. Right conjures a blue portal. Your portal will appear right next to your handle – as far from the lead gremlin as possible. To launch your portal at the lead gremlin, twist back to center, then flick the wand from center to up or down and back to center again. If your portal’s color matches the gremlin’s color, the gremlin will disappear and the portal will return to where you conjured it. If they don’t match, the portal will return, but the gremlin will stay.

Good luck!

Mode 7: Spell Duel Training Mode

This mode helps you learn the spells you’ll cast when you’re dueling with other Wand-Ring wand wielders. This mode divides your wand into four regions: The position queue, the active spell, current mana, and current durability.

  • The Position Queue: The eight light-pairs at the tip of your wand show the last eight positions the wand’s been in, with the newest at the tip and the oldest closest to the handle. Knowing what positions the wand’s been in helps you cast spells correctly.
  • The Active Spell: When you cast a defense, or someone hexes you with an attack, the middle two light-pairs on your wand will tell you what defense or attack is active on your wand.
  • Current Mana and Durability: The five light-pairs closest to your wand’s handle show you how much magical energy (mana) and durability (health) your wand has. The blue lights indicate your wand’s mana; red for durability.
    • When you cast a spell, you’ll lose mana. Mana regenerates over time – fairly rapidly.
    • When your wand takes damage, it loses durability. Durability does not come back.
    • Look out! If you cast a spell and you don’t have enough mana, it’ll use durability in place of mana. If you’re not careful, you’ll knock your wand out.

Wands in spell duel training mode can cast 15 different spells: three “just for fun” spells, four defenses, and eight attacks.

The Fun Spells
The following uses the shorthand notation from Wand Positions (above).

  • Fun #1: ALARAL
  • Fun #2: ARuUL
  • Fun #3: AdDdARA
  • Fun #4: >>>SECRET<<<

The “Real” Spells – Defenses and Attacks

Wand-Ring wands use an adjective + noun syntax to cast spells. The four adjectives are Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. The three nouns are Ball, Jet, and Wall. Four adjectives times three nouns = 12 spells, ranging from Airball to Waterwall.

The Elements (Adjectives)

  • Air: AuA
  • Earth: AdA
  • Fire: ALA
  • Water: ARA

The Forms (Nouns)

  • Ball (standard attack): AuUBUu
  • Jet (quick, weak attack): ARBLA or ALBRA
  • Wall (defense): AuUL or AuUR


  • Fireball: ALAuUBUu
  • Waterwall (the best defense against a fireball): ARAuUR or ARAuUL
  • Earthjet: AdARBLA or AdALBRA
  • Airball (Air “ball” and “wall” spells are a little weird because of the “AuAu” stutter at the beginning): AuAuUBUu


So there you have it, a crash course on how to use