‘Huis aan de werf’ testing days, sun 18 nov.

Post by: Joris Weijdom Add comments

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In the past test week, we have accomplished some great test results. We still need to draw out the final ‘scan flow’, but we are already able to convert the scan images to different media formats. What follows next is, how to make use of these scans in our narrative and how we will finally display and project them in the last stage of the experience. In the first place, we want to confront the visitors with their virtual body double. We already did some small tests with some life size projecting of the scans we made. A lot of interesting ‘scan related’ questions popped up during the past days. Some of them can be answered with a few intense brainstorms, others need real life testing to see if they will work out.

Capabilities & emotion of the scan
Do we have to use a scan with smooth borders and high resolution textures to get the confronting image we want, or can we make use of the rough edges and slight gaps inside the scan to emphasize the unfinished nature of the scan?

Size of the scan
We want to use the body scan in a later phase (the third and last phase) to give the visitors a glimpse of their virtual self. This way, we can project both the test results and the body scan together for a complete view of the final result. The question is, does size matter? Will a life size projection have more impact instead of displaying the scan results on a regular monitor screen?

Interactiveness of the scan
Do we allow the visitors to actually move their virtual body doubles themselves, for example, by using a hardware interface, like the WII controller, to turn and move the 3d image. Will it work better if we choose a scan presentation in which the scan might move by itself and uses different gestures?

Placement of the scan
What kind of setting will amplify the scan image? Will we lengthen the real life environment and create a look-a-like virtual setting in which we project the scan? Or perhaps a battlefield in were we place the body scans all geared up for a future virtual war?

Archiving the scan
Arnaud has already drawn out the technical layout of the network we are aiming on. It will be a challenge to direct the scan results to the next phase. We will need a central server who collects and maintains all the different data (scan results, scan conversions, textures, test outcomes, scores, etc.). It needs to be automated were we want different software packages to communicate with each other. This way we hopefully won’t be needing a lot of technical staff to do this all by hand.

Combining the test results with the scan
How will be combine the visual body scan results with the actual testing outcomes. We could use a classical approach and display both next to each other on a large scale projection on the wall. This way, each visitor can see its neighbours / friends final results. They could discuss and appreciate the results in real time. We could also project the body scans and give the individual visitors a copy of his / her test results. Whether they share their information (and their actual ‘assignment in the field’, we will discuss this topic in later posts) is up to them.

With the external dramaturgy expertise of a director, we will continue to fine-tune the respons(e)(ible) project to make it an overwhelmingly cool theatrical experience.
During the upcoming period, we will discuss not only the scanning sequence and its results but also the flow of the experience as a whole.
This will include off course the scanning procedure, but the because of the pro-active nature of the experience, we want the audience to make early  acquaintance with the project. let’s say, when they enter the Theatre, there will be already clue’s of the presence of our corporation. For example, there could be some researchers walking in the main hall dressed up in lab coats.
We are also thinking of setting up an aftermath in the form of a website, linked to our corporation. People can re-evaluate their experience outcome, but could also read about the whereabouts of their virtual body double. Which battles has it fought, where has it been hanging out, how many kills has it achieved, has it been killed several times, etc…

Besides the entrance and the aftermath, other important parts of the experience will be ‘the testing phase’ of the visitors, and after this part, ‘the confrontation with their virtualbody double experience’. These parts of the experience will be described in separate posts in the next few days, but I already made a small preview of what you can expect in the skill test phase. Note that this part is still under construction.

A preview of another part of the project: ‘The skill test’

Another important stage in the respons(e)(ible) experience is the skill test. After the scanning procedure, visitors will take action in a set of four (mini) games. The test results, later on during the experience, will be related to the attitude of the visitors final virtual copy.

For example, we test the visitors cooperative skills, but we will also check on navigation, puzzle skills and strategic insight.

See below for a small and early preview of the ambiance of the virtual test levels we are working on. We use the half life 2 engine to build the environment. We aim to have at least four, but preferably eight, people playing at the same time, for which we need to build a multi user environment.

A small note:

This level is made with ‘the hammer editor’, a level and module editor for the game ‘half life 2′. In order to test if it was possible to bring custom texture design into the level, this small map was created to see how the textures would display.
Too keep the navigation interface fairly simple, we aim to only use a certain set of keys: up, down, left and right arrow, mouse view, right- and left mouse button. This means we don’t use the default ability to jump or duck. Shooting and most of the interacting can be done by clicking the mouse buttons.

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Classified information:
For a shooting part of the test, we use a special type of gun: “the gravity gun”. Players can interact with their surroundings by literally grab objects with this gun, and with the use of virtual physics, they can shoot these object away. We actually transform any object, prefabricated or self made, into a bullet. We will surely test the players survivability with this part.

More about the ‘skill test’ part of the experience in the next post.

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