Interactive Multi-participant Game

A large-scale theme park wanted to combine technology with gameplay to provide their visitors with an educational way to understand the principles of color mixing. The client’s creative team imagined an exhibit driven by the power of colored LED lighting illuminating a play room. Players on the side of the room would use custom-designed color mixing stations to match the color of the LED light on their station to the room color. The first player that mixes all the colors right would be the winner.

Sensing Places provided the technical expertise and software to turn their creative team’s work into an interactive game. Visual assets and project management were provided by a third party.

Case Study

Sensing Places developed the essential software to playback all of the game effects. We designed the interface with the show control boards: sensor input, lighting control, show state input, and error conditions. We were also responsible for implementing the software, and integration of the media assets and animations.

One of the main challenges we faced was simulating all the show control portions of the project and the client chosen audio server within a tight time frame.  We created a functional hardware equivalent of the client’s color mixing station, complete with color mixing input buttons, color LED light, and I/O controls.

Sensing Places paid special attention to the synchronous playback and control of the animation sequences which gave feedback to the players during the game. We also implemented the frame-accurate video portion of the application. The graphic content consisted of many short video clips, to be cut together in real-time in response to player input and game state. This entailed the need for us to build a dedicated content management system for this application. Sensing Places built a custom animation engine to automatically scan and load content, as well as change the running content on any given screen with frame-level accuracy.

The very fast movements allowed by the color mixing stations entailed further animation playback challenges and the need for us to use advanced signal processing techniques to ensure a smooth game playout. We designed and implemented ultra fast networking techniques between the fast moving input sensors for color mixing and the core game engine. We also came up with a dedicated protocol between hardware and software components that was essential in executing the client’s creative design.

Another challenge we addressed was the color mixing input data arriving at the game application in a “raw” state, evidently sampled directly from potentiometer values, with low resolution and without filtering. Since the gameplay state derives entirely from these values, substantial signal processing was necessary in order to create a smooth and predictable experience. The last challenge was around color spaces. We applied color theory and hardware knowledge to ensure that consecutive target colors always maintained a minimum “distance” in color space, while still adhering to the provided palette. We made sure the colors perceived on the monitors would be at least a little closer to the analog lighting than they would be natively.

Related Projects