Movies as Inspiration for Physical Games & Jean-Claude Van Jam

Eyebeam, Hit Me!, Inspiration, tweeted!

While I do tend to like foreign films and independent films most, I have always had a soft spot for action films, even the gratuitously violent ones. No matter how fantastical or b-class it might be, I find myself jumping in my seat, cringing, cheering for the good guy and on occasion covering my mouth in disbelief. I am a sucker for this stuff, no doubt.

When I designed Hit Me! I was looking for inspiration — anything — with the idea in mind that I wanted to create a game that was intense and exciting — not just to play but also to watch. I went through my mental rolodex of action film memories, and stopped at Jean Claude Van Damme’s Lionheart.

I studied games such as Twister, Sumo and Fencing for inspiration too, but at the end the fight scenes from Lionheart had a big influence on the game. The circle of spectators, the performance, the spectacle of the 2 fighters fighting a bare fisted, no holds barred fight, and the raw, spontaneous setting of the abandoned parking lot where the fights took place — It had it all. These were elements that I wanted to incorporate into the look and feel of Hit Me! Here is an example:

Movies are wonderful inspirations especially for games played in the physical world, because they contain scenarios that connect space, story and characters. Also because it uses a visual language that has been understood by viewers. The latter is actually an useful tool. For example, think of all the nail biting scenarios in all of the action films you have seen over the years — there are certainly patterns we can identify — not just in story but also with the characters and the environment that is involved. These patterns can be used and recreated in the game in order to evoke the same feelings in the player and also the spectators.

So I am so excited by Jean-Claude Van Jam, because it highlights the potential of using films as inspiration for games. I can’t wait to see what parts of the films the jammers will use in their games. I hope there will be physical games too!

Jean-Claude Van Jam — August 17-19, 2012 7PM
Eyebeam Art & Technology Center (540 W 21st Street, NYC)
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Hit Me! 2011 Project list

Eyebeam, Face-to-face Games, Github, Hit Me!

On Friday, I figured out the doorbell receiver signals and how arduino can tell which doorbell is being rung. Here is the project list which helps me code but also know exactly what goes where.

1. Rest Start Button which goes to Intro
Show screenshot of last game
Start button Nothing Background loops
2. Intro Intro background
Show 2 streaming videos
Wait for snapbutton
Timer to 3 mins then returns to Rest
Exit button
Exit button Snapbutton Introduction!
3. Game Game background
Timer runs for 30 sec
Has 2 pics of players
If there has been a previous hit
the snap shot from the prev hit
if game has ended
then go to ScoreMail
2 streamed video off screen
Exit button
Exit button Doorbell signals Hit Me!
Game Loop
4. Hit Takes snapshot from whatever stream
puts it on the screenshot
Who did hit
If judge adds points
then show total points
score from hit
return to game
Exit button
Exit button Judge point input Ding ding ding
5. ScoreMail Final score
Final winner
Archived snapshots
Email data
Exit button
Exit button Ding ding ding

Hit Me! 2.0

Eyebeam, Face-to-face Games, Hit Me!, Physical Computing

I will be showing Hit Me! at the next Eyebeam Mixer. I am really excited about it. I need to do some updating to the game. Here is a list of intended updates:

1. Better wireless pin-hole cameras. For the game, I need 2 cameras that are same but run on different channels. I found some rechargeable ones at Geeks that have a choice of 4 different channels around the 2.4 Ghz frequency. Unfortunately I won’t know how the system would run in a space until I actually try it out. There are always going to be things that run on the 2.4 Ghz range, as well as the 900 Mhz range that my older cameras ran on. In the Chelsea Museum show, the old cameras conflicted with the project that was running right before mine, but it worked fine as soon as the previous project was turned off. So I am looking forward to getting them quick to try out in the space.

2. Better doorbell system. For the game, I need 2 that run on different channels like the cameras, but they can share the same receiver. I found a set on amazon which can run on a range of frequencies it seems, but I am waiting for an email reply from the manufacturer about what frequency it runs on. I don’t want anything that would interfere with the cameras. Also I would like to get ones with lower latency from my previous set. However, latency is not really an important function when it comes to doorbells, so it’s not a function that is highlighted or written about. Basically it’s hard to research that information before purchasing.

3. Rewriting software on Processing.

4. Composite Video to USB adapter. I already have a one that goes to firewire.