NOTE: The original server this blog was on at http://a.parsons.edu/~kaho/hitme/blog/ is no longer. Therefore some links do not work.

November 27, 2005

Hiatus

I sadly need to take a break on this project while I develop Discreet Interfaces. Hopefully I can return to it in the new year.

Posted by kaho at 06:15 AM

August 17, 2005

Some key points (on-going list)

I have been thinking about the context of Hit Me! and the various concepts it addresses. Certainly I am missing stuff, but this is a start.
1. Metagame/social context
2. Emergent behavior
3. Alternative gaming controls
4. Performace/ritual
5. Spectator sport through tournament structure
6. Technology as a tool to promote social/physical interaction
7. Technology as a tool to pormote physical activity
8. Utlizes both virtual and physical worlds (digital and real worlds)
9. Wireless technology/RF
10. Wearable technology
11. Low-budget game
12. Hacked commercial electronics
13. Urban game

Posted by kaho at 07:14 AM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2005

C++ Interface

I have been slowly trying out possible ways to incorporate an interface written in C++. The game would be more stable, reliable and controllable in C++ than Director. No camera switching problems, less lag time and no more figuring out the limitations of communication between Flash swfs and Director. I could set up a admin interface which could change the type of game being played on the spot. Playtesting could be more flexible with various modifications made on the fly. This is going to be a challenging step up for me, but I think the current set up has reached it limit.

Posted by kaho at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2005

RULE SET:

Two players, one Red, the other Blue, start the game back to back with arms outstretched in the center of the 10ft diameter playing circle. Once "Hit Me!" is heard, the game has started.

The object of the game is to hit the opponent's button on top of the box. Once a hit is made, the hitter's camera takes a snapshot of the victim. The hitter receives a point for the hit, and up to 2 additional points can be added by the judge based on the quality of the snapshot.

The quality of the snapshot is based on the following criteria:
1. If the opponent's face can be seen in the snapshot then the hitter is awarded 2 points.

2. If the opponent's face is not visible, however a body part of the opponent is, then the hitter is awarded 1 point.

3. If no sign of the opponent exists in the snapshot, then the hitter is not awarded any additional points.

Players will immediately be disqualified if the referee deems any play as dangerous play. Dangerous play can be defined by, but not limited to, one or more of the following actions:
No striking with fists
No hair pulling
No eye gouging
No choking
No kicking
The opponent automatically wins the game if a player commits any of the offenses in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force. The Referee has ultimate say on the matter of dangerous play, and the player will not be able to contest.

The clock will be stopped and a player will also be awarded a point if the opponent steps out of the circle.

Each game lasts for 30 seconds and the judge will hit a bell to signify when the 30 seconds are over. The clock is stopped every time a hit is made and then continued after the points are given. When the clock continues, the players must start again in the starting position.

The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game. If the score is tied at the end of a game, then the game goes into sudden death. In sudden death, the winner's hit and snapshot score will be calculated into the final score of the game.

Posted by kaho at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2005

Thesis Performance: Tournament

I planned way for this event and was unable to reach all my goals. I almost broke the game the morning of the tournament and instead of buildling up the various stages of the tournament I was only able to do the semifinals and finals on the night of the show. All in all it worked out fine and I was pleased about the feedback from the spectators and the various techniques the players came up with. Also, I really liked the way the judge's role worked with the rest of the game.
Prithvi vs. Chantal video video

Kate vs. Minah video

Prithvi vs. Kate video

Posted by kaho at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2005

Playtesting2

Sunday April 24th, 3-4 pm
10th Floor lab Rm 1005

I bought too many Japanese snacks...

The simultaneous video input thru firewire and USB turned out to work really well. I was really pleased with the relatively clear photos and very little lag. I suddenly feel this game will actually work by the end of the semester, with this break through. Because after this, the problems are more things I can control. Playtesting went well today, I thought.

People came and went. People were usually watching and they enjoyed it, it seemed. There were about 5 games played with different people -- people of different heights and there was one pair that was boy vs girl.

Here are the photo rules I used:

1 pt for a hit (director automatically awards)
0-2 pt for a photo (judge awards)
...2 pts when opponent's face can be seen
...1 pt when opponent's body part can be seen
...0 pts when there is nothing

-- Ideally there would be a seperate judge and ref, but due to limits in time, I just played both.
-- I used a 10ft diameter circle which was perfect. Not too small, not too big. I am not sure exactly if there needs to be a rule or not here but this is something to still consider.
-- The game was only 30 secs long, but it seemed long enough that there were enough hits, it didn't get boring, and people didn't get too tired. I installed a button that manually freezes the timer and score and plays a boxing bell to announce the end of the 30 secs.
-- I curved the straps more so that the box lies further towards the front. This makes it easier for people to get hits and for the camera to take good shots. This was pretty successful I thought.
-- The starting position was good, especially when the players have their arms outstretched, because they can't get into a hit position before the game starts.
-- I am starting to get a hang of the phrases used by the ref, like "get into your ready positions" or "there is 15 seconds left on the clock," etc...

====

Comments I got:
-- People ALWAYS ask me why the top of the head. But when I explain the reasons, then they usually think it's fine.
-- People thought it was suprisingly physically tiring although they thought the 30 sec interval was pretty good.
-- There seemed like a little confusion about the photo and hit points. Charles Truett, good friend and avid gamer, gave me some great advice. What if there were no automatic awarding of points by the comp and instead the comp would only show who made the hit. Then the judge would award the points. This makes sense since, there needs to be more clarity with who hits. A lot of people would ask who made the hit when a hit was made. Also, the all the points responsibility goes to the judge. It makes it clearer that way what is happening. In this case the point system would go something like it does above, but he judge would be the only one awarding the total points. So, a sort of control board -- something easy to use -- would have to be created with the following buttons: START, RESET, 1pt, 2pt, 3pt, END.

Posted by kaho at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2005

Simultaneous Dual Video Input on 12" Powerbook

Oh yeah. With Mister Theo Watson's ingenious suggestion, I was able to port 2 video inputs coming into my Powerbook simultaneously. The lab mysteriously acquired the Irez USB ADVC in the last few days. Funny... it had been missing all this past year, and the other adapters in the lab were not working. I had first tried it out with just a USB webcam and the Canopus ADVC-55 that I bought. That worked well. With adjustments on the camera settings in Director, I was able to even out the compression rates so there wasn't that much of a difference between the two. It was so liberating to climb out from underneath the dark cloud of hardware issues...

Posted by kaho at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2005

Foul Play: Soccer Terms

When is foul/dangerous play called in soccer.
This is important when thinking about what is dangerous play in Hit Me! These sort of rules can define what dangerous play is. The interesting thing about soccer is that it's up to the ref who decides what is reckless and what is not. The other thing to be noted is that in soccer foul play happens all the time. Players fake injury to get a PK. This thing cannot happen often in Hit Me! then people would get hurt.

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following six offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:
kicks or attempts to kick an opponent;
trips or attempts to trip an opponent;
jumps at an opponent;
charges an opponent;
strikes or attempts to strike an opponent;
pushes an opponent.

A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following four offences:
tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball;
holds an opponent;
spits at an opponent;
handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area).

Posted by kaho at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2005

Meeting with Nick

Met with Nick today. Here are the notes from the meeting:
1. Importance of adding "rituals" into the game. Rituals can be used to emphasize certain things in the game, as well as make it a more interesting experience. For example when boxers touch gloves signaling the start of a game adhering to good sportsmanship etc.
2. Photo Issue: Juges vs. Referee. Originally I thought that just simplifying the point system for the snapshots and by having the referee give the final judgement on the snapshot points would be best. However, giving the resposibility to the referee to judge the snapshots and give points would unnecessarily pull the ref out of the action of the game. Having a seperate judge could work better than giving all the responsibilities to the Red. And here the judge can be part of some ritual.
3. Judge/Scorekeeper. Giving the judge the resposibility of adding scores on top of determining the snapshot score is efficient.

Posted by kaho at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2005

Snapshots

Giving the Snapshot value in the point system would:
-- Strengthen the relationship between the action and the projected image for the spectator
-- Encourage the player to come up with more strategy beyond flailing arms
-- Give more justification for having the camera that takes photos of the player being hit

Panel of Judges:
In boxing there is a panel of 2 (?) judges constantly taking points for moves besides the knockouts so that if there is a tie, the points are tallied. In Hit Me! there could also be judges who evaluate the photos. So in addition to the point attained from getting a hit, there are more points for good photos.

The problem with this is that it would be sort of a pain to make sure there are non-bias judges at all games. There is already a ref who has enough responsibilities -- wouldn't it be sort of overkill to add more ref-like people to the mix when it is supposed to be a simple spectator sport?

Referee:
The ref could be the judge for the photos. The problem here is that the ref has enough responsibilities already. The ref starts and stops the game, and if the whole boundary thing becomes a rule then, that's a lot of stuff to keep track of, a lot of responsibilities.

Audience Participation:
This I think would be the ideal situation -- if the audience could vote for the better photo. However, this would perhaps be too time consuming to have people wait in line or too technically difficult making numerous buttons. I thought about putting it online if it were some sort of tie-breaker, but then people would have to come back to see the results or they would end up seeing results at home -- which is no fun. Well, this is something to consider in the future, but not this time around.

Set Criteria:
The rules could be the judges! If there is a simple enough, straightforward enough point system for the photos, then the rules themselves could essentially allocate the points. In other words, say each hit is worth 1 point. The snapshot quality is then worth a possible maximum of 2 more points. Here's the breakdown:

you get 0 points if there is no sign of the victim
you get 1 point if there is some sort of body part of the victim
you get 2 points if you can see the face of the victim

All the fuzzy stuff in between can be taken care of by the ref. How about that?

Posted by kaho at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2005

Analog Digital Video Converter Issues

Okay. This is frustrating. First of all none of the ADVC USB adapters borrowed from the lab worked, both for my Powerbook and for the Dell towers in the lab. I have been tinkering with those things now for weeks! Trying to find the correct drivers and the correct settings... wondering if it's the director Xtra at fault or not... Finally, today I figured out that the school has WinTV cards in some of the Dell towers. So, I worked with that for a few hours, and finally got the stupid thing to work upon realization that the drivers hadn't been installed. I have been wasting my time, it feels -- just because the old adapter that I used a year ago does not exist anymore in the lab, and because there wasn't anything I could use in the lab. Plus that it takes ages for things to be ordered in the lab.

I don't really want to depend on the PC tower to get my project working with the lab closing so early all the time. So it's frustrating. I am thinking about purchasing a Canopus ADVC-55, but they are not so cheap. Hopefully Ebay will have them for less. I guess no one uses analog video anymore?

Posted by kaho at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2005

Headgear

So after the first playtesting session, I a considering different ways of improving upon the hat. Prithvi pointed out that he could not properly close the bottom of the hat without choking himself. That's why he wearing it so loosely in the video. I need to redraft the pattern for the hat and bring the strap forward.

Also, Jenks suggested I tilt the top of the box so that the button is slanted forward. But because there is no slanted enclosures that leave room for the camera, I don't think I should try to make one. It could shatter easily and hurt people. I should try to stick to the commercially available boxes for now I think. In the meantime, I thought I could play with the placement of the box -- perhaps move it slightly forward so that the camera is aimed slightly lower as the hitter would probably be jumping up when making the hit. This should solve the button problem for now too.

Posted by kaho at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

Firewire Digital Video Converters

After much research, I found some digital video converters that may work for this project. They are a little pricey but if I can get one of these, I would be in good shape for a while when working with analog video and my powerbook. I am thinking about getting the Canopus ADVC 55 for about 170 bucks with a student discount, I think.
http://www.macworld.com/2004/07/reviews/firewiredigitalvideoconverters/

Posted by kaho at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2005

struggling with ADVC on my powerbook

Yesterday, I spent a whole worthless day trying to figure out the best way to bring in the video into my laptop. Unfortunately, the ADVC composite to USB adapter does not work well and the images disappear at times showing only a light green screen. I remember having similar problems 1 year ago when I first worked on the game and I remember now that is the reason why I had to use a PC. I tried looking at other solutions -- like some other more powerful converters, but a lot of them are outdated and expensive (2 things that suck when it comes to technology). So one of my original intentions to make it so that the game could run on my laptop does not seem so possible anymore. I probably should consider just making it for the PC. It's frustrating that I have to rely on another machine though and makes the portability of the game less...

Posted by kaho at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

Second Meeting with Nick

Met with Nick last Tuesday. I showed him the video from the playtesting and he gave me the following advice:
- color coding boundaries to make more obvious to players
- diameter probably needs to be larger
- think about Hit = n points and also Photo = n points
- when strategy is limited it is usually because the goals are limited
- make goals different (placement of buttons, boundaries etc...)
- barefoot, slippers, mats
- possibility of players getting hurt
- Prithvi and Jenks becoming speciliazed players who try to break the game
- men and women playing (sexual harassment, size/strength)
- idea of ritual (later)
- hardware issues MUST be figured out early on

For next meeting:
- rules that stop people from getting hurt
- redesign hat with slant
- make camera work so that point stuff can be figured out
- Point question (encouraging more strategy, using photo...)
- when above stuff is figured out, then playtesting!

Posted by kaho at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2005

Prithvi's Mantis Technique

Prithvi told me that his technique where he keeps his hands up while his head is away from the opponent is called the Mantis Technique.

Posted by kaho at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)

playtest1 video notes

NOTES FROM PLAYTEST1:
Video time 43:48 minutes
Sunday Feb 26, 2005 4pm

- starting back to back, or back to back with distance
- very, very physical, need to catch breath
- kept stepping out of boundary often
- not enough time to see boundary or be aware of it
- boundary good emough as "method of maintaining space"
- wrestling example for boundary peanlty
- the button is too far back?
- jumping is a method of attack
- penalty for boundary: restarting with one person on knee, the other standing
- target is visual
- need mats for more different moves, beyond blocking and slapping
- small amounts of time for each round -- 20 secs? aggressive for short periods of time. too exhausting.
- more time, then more creativity and strategies for moves?
- more exhausting than one would think, very tiring.
- what if no one scores and just runs around for 30 seconds?
- which is more exciting for spectators?
- strap on hat needs to be moved forward so it doesn't dig into neck
- the players feel as if the match time is a LOT longer than it really is
- back movement, can throw out your back
- putting button on a slant forward might make it easier to hit, less difference between people with different heights
- multiple buttons?
- cameras not being able to take photos due to movement, angle when hitting
- hitters purposefully taking good pictures, emergent behavior
- circle keeps you moving all the time
- not taking more than one step out of circle
- not being able to score when out of boundaries
- time limit 30 secs is good, enough time to score
- don't want it longer than that, player would be timid
- after you score it's important to rest
- boxing structure, but with 30 sec rounds -- maybe 6 rounds?
- what happens if no one scores within those 6 rounds? tie-breaker probelm
- tie breaker, like PK in soccer
- possble limitations during tie-breaker: arms tied together, can only pivot on one foot, start with locked arms
- other tie-breaker ideas: sit down back to back, arms tied
- time limit in rounds, forced to get points esp when behind
- tie breaker idea: capture the best photo by hitting your own button
- like the idea of using the camera in a different way for tie breaker
- tactic: make other person lunge and then hit them as they are lunging
- floor is too hard to use other methods, besides wax on wax off
- if you want more tactics and phsycial activity use mats and socks
- try different types of people for play testing: tall vs short, tall vs. tall
- people look really goofy, opponent looks funny

Posted by kaho at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2005

playtesting clips

fight 1
55 seconds
playing until hit is made

fight 2
21 seconds
playing until hit is made

fight 3
44 seconds
playing until hit is made

fight 4
13 seconds
playing for 30 second interval

Posted by kaho at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2005

playtesting notes


Just finished my first play test session. Jenks and Prithvi, helped me out! We were able to explore many issues.

BOUNDARIES: I set up a 8ft diameter circle on the floor of the classroom. They both liked the circular shape, as it encouraged them to move around yet stay contained in the space. The problem that arose from this is: what happens when someone steps out of the circle? Is it enough of a loose boundary so that players stick in the vicinity or does there have to be clear penalties given when a player steps out of the circle (like in wrestling, when a wrestler goes out of bounds, they restart with the player in a compromising position)?

The game is so fast, that it is difficult to stay aware of the boundaries. Jenks and Prithvi were stepping out of the circle often. However, it seemed that the boundary did it's trick -- no one strayed far from it.

HARDWARE: Prithvi's chin strap dug into his chin so he didn't put it on snug enough. That means, the strap part should be brought forward.

Jenks suggested that the camera stays in the same place, but the button should be slanted forward. Apparently it is a strain to bend backwards and also, with the button slanted forward it would take less time for a hit to be made.

SCORING/TIME: Play testing revealed that the game is phsycially exhausting! So the initial ideas about time and scoring sort of went out the window. Instead the structure of Boxing could be a good inspiration. The conclusion was to have about 4-6 rounds of 30 seconds with breaks in the middle.

The final fight that was play tested was significantly shorter than the others, as there was a 30 second time limit. With the time limit players feel more pressure to score asap and be more aggressive. It's probably more exciting to watch like this.

If we go with the Boxing-inspired structure then how would a draw or a tie be resolved? Jenks suggested something like a PK match in soccer. Such ideas were thrown around like taking the best photo, playing while sitting down, playing with arms tied together (West Side Story). I think it should be further explored especially when we start thinking about tournament structures.

RULES: The rules that I extracted from Sumo were the ones I presented to them before they started playing. It was hard to tell how far people in general would take it. I mean, since they are friends, surely they didn't want to hurt each other or get hurt.

They didn't especially get creative about their strategy. It was mostly, blocking and hitting with hands, some jumping and a lot of fancy footwork. I thought they would try to sweep with the legs or something but there was none of that. When I asked them why, they told me that would be more suitable if they were wearing just socks and there were mats. I don't like the ideas of mats though...

So I am still not sure how effective those rules are and therefore what the suitable penalty should be.

Posted by kaho at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

scoring issues

i have been thinking about the scoring system in preparation for today's play testing session... This brings up a few different structures to think about. First of all, originally Hit Me has a 1 minute timer. And the timer is stopped whenever a hit is made. Whoever has the highest score at the end of the 1 minute is the winner. In case of a tie, the game goes into overtime, and whoever hits first is the winner of the match.

Also, it must be noted that in danger of multiple hits at once -- like when one player has the other in a head lock and can hit the opponent over and over again) the code has been set so that the clock stops as soon as a hit is made and can be restarted by the ref. So even though I saw 1 minute, the actual time of the match is much longer when the pauses between a hit and a clock restart are counted.

That's easy enough, but let's think of alternate methods of scoring anyways. Here are some ideas based on some pre-existing games:

Based on my quickly fading memories of volleyball in highschool, I believe the points can only be won by the team that is serving. When the non-serving team wins, then the non-serving team becomes the serving team and only then are they able to earn points. Apparently this is called the "side-out" scoring method in the world of volleyball.

I also start to think about Ping Pong -- well, that is our so-called "basement" ping pong rules. We used to play to a certain number of points, like 10, and it was rally-style scoring, but we took turns serving. Each player would serve 5 times consecutively and then the other player would take their turn and back and forth until 10 was reached by someone.

So then I guess the question is how does the whole "serving" thing work out in Hit Me? The players could be given turns when when they are the hitter and takers. 30 seconds can be given to each player as the hitter, and then the points can be compared at the end of 4 sets -- a 2 minute game. That would aslo bring about some new questions like -- who gets to go first as the hitter? what happens if the score is tied? And finally, what does this structure mean for the game? Is it stimulating for the spectators to know who is the hunter and who is the prey?

Then there is this other method of scoring called "rally" scoring method in volleyball, where points are earned no matter who the server is. I think in both cases, the set is played until one side reaches 25. Apparently recently volleyball on different levels have been changing to this scoring method. It seems that the game becomes much more exciting for viewers as well as players. The tension hieghtens when a point can be made on everyball served.

But the down side is that there is less experimentation allowed by the players. Also, the chances for a big comeback are less. (Another reason why it has gotten more popular than side-out scoring is because it's easier to predict how long the match will take. You know, for television production purposes... )

Rally scoring is is similar to the original idea for Hit Me but there is a scoring limit as opposed to a time limit. How does this change the game? Well, if there is a player who is quick on their feet, but is not a good hitter, then the game can go on for ever if there is no timer until the score limit is reached. People could get really bored by then. But then again, the players have more freedom to create their own styles and and strategies without the time limit. The addition of the timer, makes it a faster, more aggressive game.

I should look at boxing perhaps?

Posted by kaho at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2005

multiplayer

I have been thinking about having more than 2 players to the game. But first before I go into that I should talk a little bit about the technical constraints I first came across when making the game multiplayer.

The initial problem I had with multiple players was the fact that the wireless video could not be on the same frequency or 2 seperate streams of video could not be coming into the console at the same time. In fact, when I was first developing the game, I almost cried when I found out that the 2 cameras were on the same frequency and there wasn't a way to change the frequency on the camera (note: the recievers have tuning dials). The live video feed would conflict with each other, and I could not get 2 seperate images. But by chance while poking around the board on the camera, I somehow was able to change the frequency of one of them, thus making the first prototype possible. To this day I am not sure what I did, but it worked. Phew.

I was window shopping on my favorite site geeks.com and found this multi camera console.
http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=4CH-REALTIME-N&cat=VID

This camera system would allow me to make a 2 player game into a 3 or 4 player game. I don't have to depend on chance again to change the frequency of the cameras -- they are already on different frequencies. This automatically makes the idea of multiplayers beyond 2 possible!

I guess on one hand, I pictured the game to one day be played in a much larger space with more players (like in some abandoned warehouse with players jumping out from behind crates or something... the possibilities are endless -- muhahahaha) -- but this would change the game overall. First of all, it would change the whole spectator experience. Maybe it the spectators would have to watch the game on monitors each representing the cameras of each player. This is technically possible, although a little more difficult. I wonder if the player-audience relationship would be less dynamic in this case. Also I suspect the wireless devices would have more potential errors with the added distance and movement. Oooo, then certain "safe zones" could be created where rf signals can't reach... but I am going on a tangent. Oops.

So the more I think about it, the more I believe Hit Me should be a 2 person game in a smaller space. There is more of a solid relationship between the player and the audience. It's less confusing to watch. I mean, imagine what sumo or fencing would be like if there were 4 players. It would be confusing! You can witness so much more of the action when there are only 2 players. (Plus that it would be technically simpler, that's for sure!)

In conclusion, maybe some day in the future I would consider more players playing at once, even teams playing against other teams (like capture the flag or something). But for now, I will stick to the 2 player structure.

Posted by kaho at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

Xtra for importing sprites into jpegs

Looks like Director is ahead of Flash at this point. I think there is enough here to start rebuildling the software part in Director. Here is a Director Xtra to try out for importing the video snapshots into jpegs. Thank you Lina!

http://www.sharp-software.com/products/index.htm

Now it just has to be tested to make sure all the Xtras work properly.

Posted by kaho at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

violence

I am not a big fan of violence, so people maybe surprised to find that I am working on a project like Hit Me. Let's face it, Hit Me has the potential to be a very violent game. I know it too -- that's why I added the Personal Injury Waiver Form to the game. But now that I am finishing the game, I need to seriously think about how physical I want the game to be, what I really want the players to do, and how to incorporate that into the rule set.

First of all, I think I can say for certain that I don't want people to get seriously injured playing Hit Me. I mean, a little scrape or bruise here and there can be expected as in any other sport, but it would be simply wrong for me to encourage violence. So, one thing I could do is add a whole bunch of constraints to where and how you can "hit" the other person.

On the other hand, Hit Me is about being physical -- having that physical contact like in Twister. That's like the underlying idea of the game. What's the use if rules are added and there is no physical contact? It sort of defeats the purpose of the game.

Also, I think it's important to keep some sort of freedom for the players for some good ol' emergent behavior. Certainly players will eventually start to come up with personal strategies and styles of playing. This would be crucial for the game to continue to be fun in the long term.

So the point here is that a balance has to be achieved with the constraints placed on physical stuff but without taking away too much physical contact and the players freedom to come up with stuff.

Sumo is a great example of how to make it so that the actions themselves are not harmful. The players only really get hurt when they fall, not when they are hit or grabbed. So let's say I started to play test with the following physical constraints, based on rules for Sumo:

No striking with fists
No hair pulling
No eye gouging
No choking
No kicking in the stomach or chest
No hitting, kicking or grabbing of the privates

Posted by kaho at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2005

fencing

While I have been a fan of Sumo for many years, I cannot say the same thing about Fencing. I do not know anything about fencing. I have seen some footage in the past, maybe from the Olympics. Although I think the outfits and the speed of the game are very cool, it has never drawn me in as much as other sports have.

First of all, I did not know that fencing had physical computing elements to it. Sounds like the sword touching the vest creates a circuit and then is read by the scoring machine. I wonder how much responsibility is put on the device itself. I mean surely there are times when the machine is not working properly. Perhaps the game is so fast that the referee is not thought to be accurate enough?

I read the general rules and objectives of the game on the US Fencing site (http://www.usfencing.org/Welcome/WhatIsFencing.asp), and the following are some notes regarding Fencing:

"six-feet-by-40-feet strip"

Looks like there is a boundry in Fencing. Although it doesn't say what happens if you step out of the bounds.

"The main object of a fencing bout (what an individual "game" is called) is to effectively score 15 points (in direct elimination play) or five points (in preliminary pool play) on your opponent before he scores that number on you. Each time a fencer scores a touch, she receives a point. Direct elimination matches consist of three three-minute periods."

It's interesting that there is a cap on points as well as time for the direct elimination matches. I am not sure why. Does the game end if one of the players has 15 points or when the time runs out? What happens if the time has run out and no one has 15 points, but it is tied? Is there a tie breaker?

Depending on the type of fencing: Foil, Epee or Sabre, the "valid target area" differs.

"Right-Of-Way: One of the most difficult concepts to visualize in foil and sabre fencing is the rule of right-of-way. This rule was established to eliminate apparently simultaneous attacks by two fencers.In essence, right-of-way is the differentiation of offense and defense, made by the referee. The difference is important only when both the red and green lights go on at the same time in foil and sabre. When this happens, the winner of the point is the one who the referee determined was on offense at the time the lights went on.Épée does not use the right-of-way in keeping with its dueling origin - he who first gains the touch earns the point. Or, if both fencers hit within 1/25th of a second of each other, both earn a point. However, it is equally important to have a sound defense for épée, since the entire body must be protected from a touch."

The Right-Of-Way call is interesting. Sometimes the machines on both players go off at the same time as both being the taker and giver of the hit. The ref has to make the call giving the point to whomever was the offense at the time. So in a situation like this, there referee makes the call over the technology. I can imagine this to be controversial at times. So I wonder if that makes the movements of the attacks important. Do the players have certain strategies to look like they are attacking when they are attacking so that the message is loud and clear to the ref in case of situations such as this?

"The fencer being attacked defends himself by use of a parry, a motion used to deflect the opponent's blade, after which the defender can make a riposte, an answering attack. Thus, the two adversaries keep changing between offense and defense."

Nick said that one of the things to note about fencing is that the players usually defend when the other is attacking. This is also probably true for Hit Me. I guess this is the reason why the Right of Way rule is used. I assume there must be a clear differentiation between offensive and defensive actions.

"Whenever a hit is made, the referee will stop the bout, describe the actions, and decide whether or not to award a touch."

This part reminds me of Hit Me because whenever a hit is made, the game pauses until the ref hits the restart button. In fencing, they must have to reset the machine after a touch is made as well.

Things to think about:
Distinct boundaries, target areas, possible point and time constraints, role of referee, balance of responsibility between ref and technology, possible constraints regarding offensive and defensive actions.

Posted by kaho at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2005

sumo

I went to the offical Japanese Sumo Federation site and got the rule set. Click the "read more" part to read the rules. It's pretty interesting because the rule set is so simple -- there aren't many rules here. They are based on the space constraint and some physical constraints and that's it! The rest of the game sort of falls into place after that.


"About is won by forcing the opponent out of the inner circle or throwing him in the dohyo. To lose the match it is not necessary to fall in the circle or to be pushed completely out. The rikishi who touches the ground with any part of his body, his knee or even the tip of his finger or his top-knot, loses the match. Or he need only put one toe or his heel over the straw bales marking the circle. Striking with fists, hair pulling, eye gouging, choking and kicking in the stomach or chest are prohibited. It is also against the rules to sieze the part of the band covering the vital organs. As there are no weight limits as in boxing or western wrestling it is possible for a rikishi to find himself pitted against an opponent twice his own weight."
source:
http://sumo.goo.ne.jp/eng/ozumo_joho_kyoku/shiru/kiso_chishiki/beginners_guide/rules.html#rule

I think it's important to have the physical constraints so that the sport does not get unnecessarily violent. Of course sumo wrestlers still sustain injuries, but it's normally from falling and not from being hit by the opponent.

I think it's interesting that there are no size catagorizations. From watching sumo, I can say the size of the player doesn't always correlate to their ability to win the game. In fact, their speed, stamina, and strength also count quite a bit.

Another thing I like about sumo is the extent to which it is a spectator sport -- for example, the ritualistic dance that is performed before the tournament, the marching out of the wrestlers in their fancy aprons and the bow dance performed by the winner after the tournament. These are part of a cultural and folk religious traditions, but they are also for the the audience to enjoy. When there is an unpredicted upset in a game, fans may throw cushions onto the stage to show their disappointment in the wrestler they were cheering for.

Posted by kaho at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2005

Flash vs. Director

Flash:
1. Serial Communication: Okay, http://stage.itp.tsoa.nyu.edu/~dano/SerialServer/SerialServer.html
2. Live Video: Okay, camera class actionscript
3. Video Snapshot: Still Looking

Director:
1. Serical Communcation: Okay, http://physicalbits.com
2. Live Video: Okay, http://webcamxtra.sourceforge.net/
3. Video Snapshot: Still Looking

Posted by kaho at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

Serial Communication to Flash

Yes! I just found out that there are ways for serial communication to be read by Flash. That means, if I figure out how to do the video feed into Flash, then I could make the projection all in Flash! No more messy Director Xtras...

Here is the link to the information:
http://stage.itp.tsoa.nyu.edu/~dano/SerialServer/SerialServer.html

Posted by kaho at 03:57 AM | Comments (0)

First Meeting with Nick

I met with Nick today. He gave suggestions on what to do next. Here are the notes from the meeting:
-- Play test, play test, play test, even if it's a hack test (without the tech part). See people's initial reactions to the game. Try out different ideas and constraints (tennis serve, lasertag examples). Think about playfield, time, points, etc. People who know how to play vs. people who have never played.
-- Look into sports like fencing and sumo. Check out laser tag.
-- Hoods and hardware need to be unbreakable: simple buttons, affix camera, secure mechanism.
-- be over cautious about safety. goggles.

I will try to get some people to play test this weekend with me. I hope to video tape them. I should research some of these other sports/games in the meantime.

Posted by kaho at 01:05 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005

Processing...

Hm. I wonder if using Processing would work better... http://processing.org

Posted by kaho at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

Initial Software Issues

One of the first things I would like to figure out is the software issues. My goal here is to create a stand alone application for the game if that is possible -- or at least as stand alone as I can get it. If I could play it off my powerbook, it would be ideal -- then I could set up anywhere.

Currently the game uses Director, but the Xtras are outdated. I can use serial Xtra with Director from Physicalbits.com. However, I need to check out the cost issue. Also, if I can embed Flash so that it reads the live video feed, then I won't have to purchase and mess with the video Xtra that I used before. Also, then I can use it on my laptop. Of course, it would have been great if Flash could read serial communication -- but I have not found anything for that so far.

So here are the initial goals for the Software side:
1. Set up Serial Xtra in Director on latop
2. Set up live video feed in Flash on laptop
3. See if Flash can be embedded into Director and all the functions still work.

Posted by kaho at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

HIT ME!

This is a blog for my independent study for Spring 2005, to finish the Hit Me! game I started 2 semesters ago in my Physical Computing Major Studio class with Marko Tandefelt. The following are some goals I would like to reach by the end of the semester. Nick Fortugno will be advising!

Following are goals:

1. UPDATE SOFTWARE.
Currently the prototype uses an old version of Director as well asoutdated Xtras that were only demos. Ultimately I would like to have it become a stand-alone application that can be easily set up when used. I would also like to consider the use of the web, more specifically, the posting of the snapshots onto the web automatically using Php.

2. TWEAK HARDWARE.
There are some time-related issues in the switching of the video channels that I think can be fixed once the video mixer chip is updated, and the coding/scirpting issues are ironed out. Otherwise, I believe the set-up is already quite effective.

3. 2 or MORE PLAYERS.
I would like to consider the possibility of adding more players to the game. There is currently a wireless camera system being sold for 4 cameras, therefore technically I can now add 2 more players. However, I am not sure this would be such a good thing for the game itself.

4. USER TESING.
I have not done any user testing on this game. I would like to learn how to legitimately test users/spectators experience and the effectiveness of the game. Then make necessary changes to improve the game. Essentially, I would like to go through the final stages of the game design process.

5. PRESENTATION.
I would like to ultimately organize an event at the school or in a more public location -- something like a tournament -- where the game can be used.

Posted by kaho at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)