Three days at the AHA festival, much less preparation than I planned for, high risk things wouldn’t work as intended and lots of fixing on site. While the cardboard arcades worked pretty well throughout the event, Enbarr went from not working at all to working almost 100% throughout the days.
The day before the first day, the prep day, we discovered that one of the main sensors didn’t work, rendering all the chairs useless. I got an idea, brought soldering equipment and spent the noon of the first day fixing them on site. It worked, so then I had two chairs running, enough to allow racing. A third chair didn’t work, but on the second day I had the printed materials for the final chair and this one worked, so then we had three chair. We never got the fourth one working, but I had a look at it during the third day and I’m pretty sure of what caused that, so it will be an easy fix for next time. All the software just worked as intended, which is a miracle and not to be expected when it’s barely been tested.
Regarding the cardboard cabinets, while they worked fine they were a hassle to pick up and down. Reason being; they had all their circuits and such just hanging from temporary cables under them. On the second day we hot glued everything in place and figured out ways to jam things in place using the natural cavities of banana boxes. Some great iterations were made on the standard cabinet, I think there will be a future video explaining all the things I’ve learned on how to make them. : )
Only thing remaining now is to figure out what to do with the boxes (pick them apart or save them for a little while) and to edit the video material I recorded into a new Enbarr and Pickaboog video. : )
Today we spent the morning building and preparing in the workshop, moved everything by car over lunch and then spent the rest of the day setting everything up at the venue.
Among things we did in the morning were four brand new cardboard cabinets, I really have a hang of making them now.
We also glued the old PickaBoog back together. It’s alive again! Though, the game is not filling out the screen, resulting in it not looking very good. Anyway, it’s good enough.
The prints from yesterday were done as well, one came out good (the accidentally too high detail, and thereby ridiculously long print time, one messed up, of course) and it looked above expectation so we had time to print another one before we left for the venue. It’s a shame they will be hidden in duct tape beneath a chair. : )
Some of the materials that we were promised we could use to build our installations seemed to have been stolen for other activities and installations, so I eventually stole them back after having spent some time looking for options. In the end, I think our presentation was good. Erik Fagerberg whom I originally built Enbarr with also came by and user/wear secured all the chairs with plastic straps. He also discovered that they don’t react to back pumping (the interaction to move forward), yikes. I got an idea of what the problem was and brought them to the workshop. In theory, I have them working again now. Guess we will see tomorrow, at the first day of the exhibit. I’ll just have to bring soldering equipment to the venue.
It’s been a busy day… Tomorrow we’re moving our things over to the venue, so I wanted as much of the hardware to be prepared as possible. Luckily Gabriella was helping out, so we got some things done at least. I realized the PickaBoog nose was a bit more picked apart than I remembered so it took a while to get the functional parts running again.
To summarize, today we have:
- Managed to reconnect the PickaBoog fans to the Unity game, we still don’t have all the pieces in place though
- Started the prints of the boxes for the Enbarr chips.
- Soldered all the Enbarr chips so that they are reconnected with new cables and look alike.
- Soldered all the Enbarr chair back sensor cards so that they have audio jacks.
- Felt a bit anxious about working late into the night and feeling that time is running out.
Oh well, there is still a fair chance that it will work sufficiently well.
Today, me and a colleague who is also showcasing something at the festival visited the venue; a large, indoor atrium at Chalmers, the university where I studied. We had a look at what types of materials we had to work with, got key cards with access to related spaces and talked about various other things with the planners and project leaders.
Most of the day went into scooping out the space, and there isn’t much time left. But it’s still doable. : )
So the Aha festival i sneaking up on us, and as per usual it might be tight to get things ready in time. This time I have user tests in another project and town as well as a workshop in yet another town coming up just before the festival. But I’m positive, in theory the things should be working if I can just put them together.
Luckily, I’m not alone. An intern, Gabriella Di Feola, have offered to help out for the festival. Today I was presented with a bag of Enbarr chips with the new audio jack component soldered onto them. I think there is a fair chance things will work, at least at the festival. : )
Global game jam is coming up and me and my coorganizer Mårten of JMJ Interactive are proud organizers in Gothenburg, Sweden.
We are going to host the event in one of my job’s (RISE Interactive’s) spaces called Studio LevelUp. It’s a lab for designing the future of Swedish learning environments, like class rooms, and I think it will be a great venue.
Official jam site page:
Got my hands on some new phones that I can borrow from my job. One of my major challenges from the last run was the phones barely being powerful enough to run the VR environment. As a result, the network connection and data input from the chairs suffered. The new phones should have no problems handling all of this, so my hopes are high. : )
Now I’m just looking for a fourth, final phone, some cases for the circuits to protect them and proper testing ahead of the event.
The annual indie arcade and game party Automat is returning this fall. It’s in the planning, it will probably happen pretty soon and I’m planning to bring PickaBoog, RAGE and Enbarr.
Last year I brought Enbarr as well, but I didn’t manage to get it working as well as I wanted. So this year I will make sure the tech is holding up. : )
Automat’s official page: automatarkad.tumblr.com
The local university of technologies, Chalmers, is arranging a sort of ispiration, playfullness, multimedia festival which they call the AHA Festival.
It will take place on the 19th to 21th of November and I have decided to participate with an updated version of Enbarr mac Lir and PickaBoog. Looking forward. : )
Found some time today to tweak and explore this prototype a bit more today. Looking much better if I may say so myself, and is much closer to what I imagined from a game system perspective. :)
Except for having tweaked visuals into a more coherent and attractive look and fixing bugs plus expanded on schedule functionality, the environment is much more like the real deal now. I have been basing a height map off a real map.