Day 16

Unruly Splats! Reindeer Crossing : A SUPER Simple Seasonal Game

Unruly Splats!

What are Unruly Splats?

Unruly Splats, are a set of programmable floor buttons that kids can code to light up, make sound, and sense stepping. Kids connect a tablet to the Splats wirelessly with Bluetooth and then program them using a simple visual block-based coding language.

Players make their own active games like whack-a-mole, relay races, or dance routines. They can also share their game creations with friends through the Unruly Splats online community.

Unruly Studios is creating a suite of products that enable active play and connect kids to coding in a way that challenges them physically, mentally, and socially.

This is a game for Splats that can be played in the classroom, or after all the carolers have returned to the party. Just make sure you put down your hot chocolate first since there's some running and jumping involved.

The Splats app comes with many pre-built games organized by the number of Splats required to play. Reindeer Crossing is based on the 2-Splat built-in game Sheep Hurdler, a racing game about avoiding sheep in the road. We'll replace the sheep with a reindeer pulling a sleigh, to make it more seasonal and festive.


1. The game starts with a whistle

2. Both Splats light green and a random-length timer begins

3. The player has to run in place on both Splats (don't worry about stomping too hard; the Splats are designed for stomping!) The player racks up as many points as they can while road is clear (Splats are green).

4. The Splats flash blue as the player nears the reindeer crossing and a reindeer approaches. A REINDEER IS ABOUT TO CROSS THE ROAD. The player can keep getting points up until the very end of the flashing, at which point they need to jump off the Splats and let the reindeer cross.

5. If the player lands on a reindeer they lose 10 points. They are good to go once the Splats turn green again.

6. Players can alternate and see who can get the most points in 3 minutes.

Playing Sounds on Splats

Splats have 14 programmable RGB LEDs, 36 built-in MIDI instruments for playing melodies, and fun built-in sounds that can be programmed to play back at a particular time or with a button press. There are more than 75 sounds from Splat, Ding, Buzz, Airhorn, to Splash, Tennis hit, and Elephant!

There are plenty of animal sounds but unfortunately no reindeer sounds (what does the reindeer say, anyway?) Luckily the Splats app also lets you record your own sounds (up to 10 seconds) and upload them over Bluetooth so they can be played on the Splat when the program tells them to. To record a sound sample, click the microphone icon in the user tray. After you record you'll be prompted to upload to one of the connected Splats.

Game play is controlled by building a program using the Scratch-inspired block programming language in the Splats app. Reindeer Crossing is fairly simple; it consists of two "Starting" blocks, one that runs once when the program is first started, and one that is triggered whenever one of the Splats is pressed. The first is a "When Program Starts" block (the "1" is there because you can have multiple blocks like this):

The When Program Starts block

The "While True" loop means that the commands in that loop block will be executed over and over as long as the program is running (since "True" is always true). The sequence of commands is:

  1. All Splats are lit green (the road is clear)
  2. Wait a random length of time between 10 and 20 seconds (a time determined by experiment)
  3. Flash Blue on and off for two seconds
  4. Light all Splats purple and play the recorded reindeer sound.
  5. Repeat after the sound finishes playing

The other Starting block is the "When Splat Pressed" block:

The When Splat Pressed block

When any of the Splats are pressed (or stomped on) the following happens:

  1. Check to see if the Splat is not purple (it can be green or blue). If so, give the player a point which shows up in the app's score box.
  2. Check to see if the splat is purple. If so, the player loses 10 points. It's easy to gain points but it's also easy to lose them!
  3. Every 100 points (which you can calculate using the Remainder block), give the player a cheer to give them some positive reinforcement.

That's all there is to it!

If you don't have Splats at home or school you can still download the free Splats app from the Apple App Store (see and play along by tapping the "Virtual Splats" in the Splat Simulator that mimic everything that happens on the physical Splats.

If you make this game let us know at or post a video with the hashtag #Isplatted.