Permission to Drive the Critter

Please Note: It is vital you read this ENTIRE document, even if it seems boring.

Why do I need permission?

Simply put, the Internet is full of idiots and jerks, and a fair share of them find their way to this site. With the previous critter, and the rccars and tanks, some people would go out of their way to be as abusive as possible. Others would apparently have no sense of how to operate the relatively simple controls and would frequently crash into blatently obvious obstacles. Others would just think it's amusing to try to go after my feet, which are under a desk that the critter can't fit under, but in the process of attempting anyway would frequently collide with various obstacles, which over time cause damage to the frame, sensors, and/or circuitry, resulting in downtime and in some cases money to fix. This is an expensive, time consuming project and while I want people to be able to enjoy it, I don't want people to destroy it just because they feel the need to satisfy some malicious juvenile tendancy.


Read it here if you're interested.

Current State

Right now, the critter is mobile and has minimal sensor coverage. It can sense obstacles in its local environment and attempt to avoid collisions with them. It also has an onboard webcam. In its current state, trusted people should be able to operate it with little difficulty provided nobody attempts anything hazardous (hence the trust part).


For now, anyone can drive it, provide they're eligible and get permission. It will be several more weeks before everyone can drive it without me preemptively allowing it.


To become a beta tester for the critter you must meet the following requirements:

- You must be willing to follow the posted rules.
- You must have had no disciplinary issues on this site. This means neither you, your computer, or your ip address have ever been blocked for any reason. You must also not have a history of harrassment or abuse here even if you didn't get blocked.


- You must create an account
- Unless instructed otherwise, you must actively avoid collisions. This means NEVER drive the critter in a direction which you know will cause an impact. This includes attempting to drive between obstacles when there isn't enough clearance or attempting to drive under anything. Generally stay in more open areas and don't drive too close to walls or other obstacles. Turning also takes up a lot of area, so you could collide with a wall if you're driving too close to it.
- If the critter doesn't move, don't repeatedly issue the same command. It might be running into something, or might be stopped due to a sensor trigger, or may just be stuck. Attempt to move in a different direction and see if that makes the problem more obvious.
- Room thresholds might cause complications. It's best to cross the thresholds at an angle until I can work out the issues with the wheels slipping.
- You CAN mess with the cat if you wish. Unlike obstacles such as walls and chair legs, she can actually move out of the way or get completely out of the way when she's tired of the critter, and she actually enjoys the attention for a while. However, don't mess with her food, water, or litterbox.
- The back area of the kitchen, basically anything past the stove, is a deadzone, where the critter's signal to the WAP is blocked. Try to avoid this area. Eventually I will either put up multiple access points so the critter will always have a connection, and/or I will implement programming to detect when the critter's signal has been lost and automatically navigate back to a working location.
- Since there is no protection in the back, don't move the critter backwards unless there is no other option. Turn the critter around and move forward instead.
- Do not allow anyone other than yourself access to the critter's controls. This includes siblings, parents, children, friends, etc. Do not allow anyone else to use your account for any reason. If someone else wants to play with it, have them request permission under their own account or from their own computer.

Other Information

Provided there are no issues, once permission has been granted, you will see the controls. The arrows move the critter in the direction indicated. Up and down arrows move it forward and backwards. The side arrows turn the critter.

The critter will only be online during those times which I'm home, the battery is charged, and I'm not currently working on the critter. It may also break during operation and may take several hours or days before it will be functional again.

I realize all of this must seem to be a lot more trouble than its worth, but before you whine about the hoops I'm making everyone jump through, consider the following: I have had a total of FOUR internet controllable vehicles prior to this one. Each and every one of them cost several hundred dollars and well over 40 hours of time to implement. And without fail, each and every one of them has been damaged beyond repair by the users of this site abusing it. This one has taken a lot more time and cost a lot more money primarily because the goal of this particular project is to overcome many problems from the past. I have expended the resources to do it right and not cut so many corners. However, I have no intention of letting people abuse it this time, especially when the ultimate result of that abuse is to deny the experience to others. If you don't think it's worth all of this trouble, then don't participate. Wait about 2 months and play with it when everyone else gets to, after I've got the critter loaded up with enough sensors to prevent abuse to the best of my ability.

To apply click here.