Creating Your Own Machines

Authoring mode is the way that users, teachers, and students can create their own machines. Anyone signed in on the Polyup platform can create their own puzzles and share with others. To access authoring mode, open the hamburger menu and click the “create machine” button.

Polyup will prompt you to enter a name for your machine. Once you enter it, your machine is created, and you should arrive at a page that looks like below. This page is just like the machine screen you see in any other puzzle, but this time, you get to design your own path and levels.

A circular start block and a single chip are placed for you to start, but you can drag and drop chip blocks from the bottom to add more chips. You can also click on any section of the grid to add a path block, or click and drag to create a path between two chips.

The user will have access to the chips connected to the portal at first. Once they solve a chip, they can pass “through” it in the path and go to paths further along a path. If you create a simple path connecting one chip to the next, the user will have to solve each puzzle before moving on to the next one. Alternatively, you could put multiple chips connected to the start block to create more advanced learning designs.

Each of these chips can be edited so that you can create any set of puzzles you’d like. The player of your machine will have access to all chips reachable from the “Start” block. Once they complete a chip, they will be able to traverse through the chip to access further chips.

If you go into any chip (click on a chip and click on the edit icon), you should see a screen that looks like this:

There are four tabs at the top, and each of them has an important purpose. Click on them to move between them.

Start: This is what a player will see when they first enter your puzzle. If you drag blocks into the “start” tab, they will be locked for the player by default. Click on blocks you’ve dragged onto the stack and then click the lock icon to lock or unlock them.

Here’s an example of a start state with a simple mathematical expression. We’ve locked all blocks except for the 9 block at the top, since we want users to replace that with the correct number to create the target output.

Blocks: In this tab, you will be selecting which blocks the player has access to. Drag any blocks or palettes down into the tray to give the user access to that block or palette, or up off the tray to remove access.

For our example, we want the user to be able to replace the 9 with any number they want, so we drag down the number palette.

Note: If there are unlocked blocks from the “start” tab, they will appear grayed-out in the blocks tab. This is because a user can drag unlocked blocks from the stacks back down to the tray. Once you drag a palette that encompasses a grayed out block, it will disappear.

Goal: This is what the player is attempting to create. Solve your own puzzle using the blocks you made available. The output of the the goal tab will be the target value that the player is trying to create. This means that even if the user does not have the same solution as what you put in the goal tab, it may still be correct as long as the output is the same.

For our example, we want the user to create 5 by replacing the 9 with a 6. So, let’s replace the 9 with the 6 in the goal tab.

Input: This tab is used for more advanced puzzles where we want inputs to come down from the top of the screen. The output of the Polyscript in this tab will serve as the input to the puzzle. You might also notice that this tab gives access to the “rand” block — the rand block generates a random number between 0 and 1. For example, the polyscript below would result in a puzzle that has a random integer input between 0 and 10.

For our puzzle, we don’t need any inputs, so we leave this tab alone.

NOTE: We have recently introduced an “options” tab, where you can choose to hide the goal of the puzzle (in case the answer to the question comes from a word problem and not the target itself), and where you can choose to represent decimals as fractions for fraction arithmetic. For this puzzle, we leave the “options” tab alone.

You can click on the “play” button in the bottom right corner of the board to play with it as if you weren’t the author, in order to test your machine and make sure it works as expected. (To get back to edit mode, click the button again.) For our puzzle, this is what we should see when we go into test mode and enter the chip.

Once you’re happy with the machine you’ve created, you can send the URL (in your address bar) or the machine ID (8 digit code at the end of the URL) to share it with others. They will not be able to edit your machine, but they will be able to play with the puzzles!

Try making a machine in the environment below!

Let us know if you have any questions by emailing Thanks!