CIT 590 Assignment 1: Lunar Lander
  Fall 2016, David Matuszek

Purposes of this assignment

General idea of the assignment

Lunar Lander is one of the earliest computer games. With a proper choice of initial values, it is fairly interesting to play, even as a text-only program.

You are in a lunar module, some distance above the Moon's surface. Gravity is pulling you toward the Moon at an ever-increasing rate of speed. You have a limited amount of fuel to use, and each time you burn fuel, you reduce your speed by a certain amount. If you burn the right amount of fuel at the right time, you can land safely (that is, when you reach the Moon's surface, you are not going too fast).

The math

This game is not timed; you can take as long as you want to enter numbers. Each time you enter a number, one second of "game time" will have passed. In other words, 1 turn = 1 second.

At each turn, you are told:

Each of these quantities should be in variables with appropriate names. The program should specify initial values for these variables. A reasonable choice is an altitude of 1000.0 meters, a velocity of 0.0 (neither rising nor falling), and 1000.0 liters of fuel.

You then get to specify:

The game ends when your altitude becomes zero or negative. A safe landing occurs if your speed is under 10 meters/second. Otherwise, you blast a new crater in the moons surface.

At each turn, you will need to do the following calculations:

After these calculations, you need to determine if you have "landed." You have landed if your altitude is less than or equal to zero (it is highly improbable that you would ever get exactly zero). A safe landing is one where your velocity is not more than 10 meters/second.

Either way, the game ends when you have landed. If you have landed safely, adjust your altitude to be zero before printing out the final numbers, along with a congratulatory message. If you didn't land safely, use your velocity to print out how deep a crater you have just blasted in the lunar surface.

After each game, ask the user if they want to play again. Any response that begins with 'y' or 'Y' means "yes," any response that begins with 'n' or 'N' means "no," and for any other answer you should ask again.

Note: We talk about values using their measurement units, for example, "1.6 meters/second." In our programming, however, we don't use the units, just the numbers, for example 1.6. It is your responsibility as a programmer to know what units you are using. (The $125 million 1999 Mars orbiter was lost because Lockheed Martin used English units in its programming, while NASA expected metric units.)


As you can imagine, it could take my TAs a lot of time to check out your game. Accordingly, I want you to turn in a file named readme.txt, which provides (1) a list of numbers to enter in order to win the game by landing safely, and (2) a list of numbers which will cause you to lose the game. (The latter list should be very easy to find.)

Due date

Zip and turn in your file and your readme.txt file by Tuesday midnight, September 6. However, you should read the special instructions about the first assignment.

Only files submitted to Canvas will be accepted. I do not accept assignments submitted by email.