3D Tronics

Digital Making National Infocomm Challenge
Senior (Secondary) Category 2018


Note to schools and participants:

This is the 2018 competition page! Please refer here for this year’s competition, Paint Tinkerer 2019. You can still download and play Tank Tinkerer, though!

Tinkercademy is proud to present, in collaboration with 3D Tronics and the IMDA Digital Maker Programme, the Senior Category for the official Digital Making National Infocomm Challenge 2018!


We are extremely grateful to Methodist Girls’ School for being our official school partner for this category.

Competition Overview

Participants will be using the BBC micro:bit and various electronic components to create game controllers to compete in a capture-the-flag-style video game. Teams of 3-4 will have their creativity, design skills and teamwork put to the test in order to win the competition.

If you have any questions on the Senior Category competition, please email us at [email protected]; please direct all questions on registration to our partners at [email protected].


Registration: Open now until 11 May 2018.

Cost: Registration fee $50 for a team of 3-4, including a 2-hour training session and free micro:bit kits for each participant. Optional starter kits cost $99 each (details below).

Preliminaries: 24 May 2018 @ ITE College East

Finals: 2 June 2018 @ Suntec City (Tech Saturday 2018)

Prizes: Top 3 most creative game controllers, game tournament winner, and more!


The Game
: How it works, different features, how to play
Download the game!
Making Controllers: How to make controllers, and examples
Competition Starter Kit: What’s in it, and how to use
Competition Details: What prizes are up for grabs
Training Details: Where, when, and how to arrange
Frequently Asked Questions: Common issues and how to solve them

Game: Tank Tinkerer

Game Overview

In an arid desert, a brutal war is being waged over classified infomation. You control unmanned tanks tasked with collecting data from the enemy encampment. Can you design the perfect set of controls with your micro:bits to capture the enemy data?

  • Each team has control over two tanks.
  • You can choose from 3 different tanks, each with its own capabilities and weaknesses.
  • Your goal is to safely collect the information from the enemy base, and bring it back to yours.
  • After five minutes, the team that has collected the most data (represented by flags) will win.
  • You must use your micro:bits, over radio, to control the tanks.


Download and Installation

Note: These probably won’t install on school computers, due to permissions issues and drive requirements! Please use personal computers. 

This game is open-source. You can download the source code from our GitHub repository—if you fork and update the game in Unity, let us know! We’d love to see your version.

Please download from the official game page. If your school network blocks this site, download from Google Drive: Windows / Mac.

Please refer to the installation guide for more information on setting up, and email us if you have any questions. Happy tinkering!

Setup: Game Mode

In the main menu, players can switch between the 1v1 and 2v2 game mode. The game has keyboard controls that can be adjusted in the launcher, and also accepts serial input from COM Ports.



How to Play: Tanks

Each team will have to select the type of tank to use.

These tanks are based on actual tanks used by Germany, USSR, and Japan in the World War II era, but they have all been retrofitted with new weapons! Each tank has a slightly different base speed as well.

In the 2v2 mode, teams can choose to use two of the same tank or two different tanks. 

Ultimate abilities are available every forty seconds. To trigger them, move, rotate and fire at the same time!

Panther: Tank Gun

The Panther tank fires artillery shells that do massive damage in a large area, but has a longer cooldown. Press and hold the shoot key to charge up the shot, increasing the distance the shell travels.

T-34: Machine Gun

This tank is mounted with a machine gun, which shoots an endless stream of bullets that do low damage. As the gun is light, it can swivel at a faster speed, allowing for easier aiming. The tank also has the fastest movement speed.

Type 37 Chi-Ha: Missile

The Type 37 Chi-Ha fires missiles towards the nearest enemy in range, dealing medium damage. If there are no nearby enemies, the tank fires forward. The missile launcher can store up to 16 missiles, with one being loaded every second. To compensate for the ease of aiming, this tank has the slowest speed.

Ultimate: Fire Missiles

The tank fires homing missiles that target all enemy tanks below a certain health threshold, destroying them after a brief delay.

Ultimate: Bullet Upgrade

The tank gains a clip of enhanced bullets that deal significantly higher damage. Normal bullets will be used once these run out.

Ultimate: Time Bubble

A bubble expands out from the tank, blocking attacks and slowing down enemy tanks in its radius.

How To Play: Game Features

Scoring Points

For either team to score one point, one of that team’s tanks must make its way to the red base to capture the flag, then return to its base without getting destroyed. If a vehicle is destroyed while carrying the opponent’s flag, the flag will return to its original base.

Bases and Respawning

Whenever tanks are destroyed, they will respawn back at their base after a brief delay. In addititon, tanks regenerate health rapidly when at the base. However, they can still be destroyed under heavy fire while on the base.

Teleport with Helipads

After a brief delay, any tank on one of the helipads will be transferred to the other one. Following which, there is a cooldown time before any other tanks can be transported.

Speed Power-Up

The speed power-up (blue arrows) temporarily increases the movement speed of the vehicle, during which tanks will leave blue trails.

Invulnerability Power-Up

The invulnerability power-up (yellow star) makes the vehicle take no damage for a brief period, during which tanks will glow.

Health Power-Up

The health power-up (green plus sign) instantaneously restores a portion of the vehicle’s health.


The team that scores the most points when the timer runs out will win the match!

Making Controllers

Sending Signals

Each team has control of two tanks. The commands to be sent to the receiving Micro:bit follow the default keyboard control scheme. Each member can be responsible for a different part of the controls; for example, two players can control one tank, with one player controlling the movement and the other controlling aiming and shooting.

Controller Syntax

The Micro:bits can be programmed at makecode.microbit.org. When certain conditions are met, the Micro:bit should send a radio string of a single capital letter based on the control scheme above. In this example, the controller can only move the tank back and forward. Use various electronic modules and the Micro:bit’s built-in sensors to detect when to send the various commands!

Example 1: Wii Bit

This controller uses the accelerometer on the Micro:bit to detect how much it is tilted. The code used for this controller example can be seen below.

Example 2: Realistic Controller

This controller makes use of several different components: The steering wheel is mounted on a potentiometer in order to detect the rotation. It also has a button (for shooting) and a linear potentiometer (for aiming) mounted on it. The accelerator uses an ultrasonic distance sensor to detect when it is pressed down. 

Competition Kit

Micro:bit Components

A variety of components to extend the micro:bit, based on our easy-to-use Breakout Board: just plug in the micro:bit, connect the components, and read the input or send an output. (Retail price at gethacking.com: $63)

  • 2 × Breakout board
  • 2 × F-F Dupont Wires
  • 1 × Limit Switch
  • 1 × Rotary Potentiometer
  • 1 × Linear Slider Potentiometer
  • 1 × Ultrasonic Distance Sensor
  • 1 × Vibration Motor
  • 3 × LED
  • 1 × Servo
  • 1 × Buzzer

That’s not all, though: the kit also includes some specialised crafting toolkits, shown below.

Strawbees & Makedo

The kit includes a Strawbees Maker Kit (retail price: $29) and Makedo Toolkit ($20), specialised, easy-to-use crafting tools allowing participants to create three-dimensional structures with ease. Find out more about Strawbees and Makedo at their respective websites.

Other parts you can consider using (not provided):

  • Cardboard
  • Ice cream sticks
  • Rubber band
  • Plastic bottles
  • PVC pipes

Competition Details



Controller Creation: Winner, 1st Runner-Up, 2nd Runner-Up:

Awarded to the teams based on judging during the preliminary round. See rubrics to the right for details.

TankTinkerer Face-off Winner:

Awarded to the team who wins the TankTinkerer Capture the Flag competition in the final round.

Best Presentation:

Awarded to the team with the best presentation in the preliminary round.

Best Theme:

Awarded to the team with the most ridiculous/aesthetically appealing controllers, and/or themed costumes.

Best Game Modification: 

Awarded to the team with the best modification of the game in Unity (optional).






Controller Design
Innovation & Creativity (how unique is your solution? did you use a variety of materials?) 30%
Ambitious (how ambitious in scope is your implementation?) 20%
Feedback (does it provide local feedback when an instruction is sent, does it capture signals from the game and give feedback based on them as well) 10%
Instructions (clear and sufficient to use the controller) 5%
Discussion of Journey (discuss difficulties faced and how you overcame them, visualisations where applicable) 5%
Functionality (controller works as intended, can control tanks efficiently) 20%
Teamwork 5%
Design (visually engaging) 5%
Total 100%

Micro:bit Training

Micro:bit Training

This 2-hour training session will cover how to program the BBC Micro:bit with Microsoft MakeCode, as well as how to interface with each of the components in the Competition Kit. Participants can also ask instructors questions on crafting controllers.

Each competition participant will receive a free micro:bit kit (a $35 value) to take home, sponsored by the IMDA Digital Maker Programme.

How to sign up: Please click on the sign-up link to the right, and email us with at least 3 potential workshop dates, 1 week in advance, on weekday afternoons, 3pm-5pm. Workshops will commence with at least 3 teams signed up.

Venue: Tinkercademy X makerspace at 5 Pereira Road, #04-03; training can be at your school if your school is entering at least 3 teams.

3D Printing Training

This 2-hour session, kindly hosted by the MGS Infocomm Club, is a primer on crafting with 3D printing. This free course will equip participants with an authentic maker skill, and could be potentially very useful for creating interesting controllers!

Training Dates:
17 May 2018 (Thursday), 3:30pm-5:30pm
19 May 2018 (Saturday), 9:30am-11:30am

Venue: Methodist Girls’ School, 11 Blackmore Drive

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Help, my controller isn't working!

A: First check if your micro:bit setup (micro:bit, battery pack, cable) are functional. Follow the code on slide 17 of the training slides to make a simple test code, then unplug the micro:bit from the wire and connect it to the battery. It should still light up. Next, make sure that the breakout board is working and properly connected. Follow the steps on slide 46 of the training slides to test the breakout board.  If all of the above are working, then start checking the controller code and individual components.

Q: How do I connect the Micro:bit to the game?

Please check the installation guide for detailed instructions, and keep in mind that the process is different between Windows and Mac. Also keep in mind that each team will need their own radio controller set to a different radio group.

Q: How do I use this component with the Micro:bit?

Please view the component guide on our training slides for details.

Q: How do I control the tanks? Are keyboard controls different from Micro:bit controls?

Please view the installation guide for complete control schemes. Keep in mind that for Micro:bit Controls, both teams are sending signals to different Micro:bits, so both teams will be using the same characters (QWEASDX and RTYFGHB), but for keyboard controls, all players will be using the same keyboard so each of the four tanks are controlled with a separate section of the keyboard, resulting in four seperate sets of commands (QWEASDX and RTYFGHB and UIOJKL, and UpDownLeftRight./Enter).

Q: My group has decided to modify the game in Unity. How should we submit my entry?

Please make the code available on GitHub, and demonstrate your changes to the judges during the preliminary round.