CRUMB: playfully build electronics in 3D

CRUMB is not a game: Although listed under Games/Simulations on Steam, it lacks any game loop that is typical of games. In fact, CRUMB is more of a competitor for electronics simulations or maker tools like Fritzing. The development of the circuits takes place entirely on breadboards. Everything is rendered in 3D and realistically, if not photorealistic. So far, CRUMB was only available for iOS and Android in the respective stores, now it is coming to the desktop with Steam. Developed with Unity, versions for Linux and Mac are also in prospect.

The game currently costs less than 10 euros on Steam and the download is done quickly due to the small size of 100 megabytes. It is installed and started just as quickly. In the menu bar of CRUMB you can already find exciting components, in submenus there are sometimes long lists of other variations. The start dialog has the usual choices to start with an empty workbench, load designs from local disk or from the cloud. The cloud button is currently grayed out, but luckily there are build-in examples that lead to a few demos.

In the demos there are a few examples of resistors, capacitors, coils, zener diodes, transistors, displays, sound, digital logic and even a pong game that runs on a simulated Arduino with a graphic display. Wow. The Arduino is still in beta, but the usual Hello World stuff works; and, as you can see from the pong, more complex things too. In your own experiments with the Arduino as the core, you should often press the reset button on the Arduino before you start troubleshooting elsewhere: In contrast to the real hardware, the program in the Arduino does not start automatically after the voltage has been provided or you do something changed the design.

Creating new components and connections runs smoothly, snapping onto the breadboard is clearly shown, so that you can reach your goal even from unfamiliar perspectives. The 3D view can be configured in a few aspects, both in terms of display and switching between perspective and orthogonal views. When adding parts, you are guided to the connection of the parts, such as with the laboratory power supply, here the advanced user would certainly prefer to be able to place them first and make the connections later: Otherwise you often forget the small green checkmark confirm and the laboriously placed part disappears back into the virtual craft box.


First test with Arduino and logic chip

First test with Arduino and logic chip

Switching between the functions select, interact and the virtual oscilloscope via icons is quite exhausting and error-prone; it would be much faster with the keyboard. Cables can be placed around the corner with the right mouse button, a subsequent change once the connector has been placed, e.g. B. by dragging with the mouse is not possible at the moment. The undo is only of limited help here. Incidentally, the electrical simulation is carried out internally with the established SPICE engine, which is at the core of many circuit simulation and PCB software. In the currently tested version, the program crashes on many computers when you try to change the simulation parameters.

There are still enough bugs and there will certainly be a lot of parts missing that you would love to try out, but the whole thing is a lot of fun. But the forum never tires of passing on these errors and suggestions for improvement to the developer (yes, the one)..

It’s a pity that you can’t get a schematic in the current version, which would make it much easier to get your designs into reality or onto a circuit board.


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