The Pottery Simulator was created so people could make pottery in a physical and exciting manner. The main reason why the game was created was to have fun and create pottery with technology. The Pottery Simulator has many complex layers of technology that complement each other. The basis of all of the technology comes from a computer which runs code in Processing that creates a pot and wheel that you can move. The computer is also connected to a TV screen which is laying flat facing upwards. Laying on top of the TV screen is a homemade hologram projector that is constructed out of four clear plastic trapezoids. The trapezoids are all connected making an upside down pyramid. Looking from one of the sides of the pyramid, there is a reflection from the TV screen on the hologram which makes it look like the pottery is floating. Additionally, a Wii remote is on a tripod facing the TV screen and hologram from behind. This Wii remote is synced to the computer through bluetooth. In addition to the Wii remote, an infrared pen is calibrated to the hologram which, when the button is pushed down, can change the shape of the pottery.
Although the infrared pen and Wii remote are in the final iteration of the Pottery Simulator, the Christie Interactivity Kit and a tablet were intended to be used in the original idea. As the tablet screen was not interactive enough, it was quickly ruled out. After the Christie Interactivity Kit fell and broke, the infrared pen and Wii remote became the main opotion for interacting wit the hologram. As shown, the way of interacting with the game was a challenge. Additionally, the code in order to make the pottery change shape was difficult to create. Particularly the movement of the pot on the y-axis of the hologram was challenging to figure out. Lastly, trying to figure out a way to keep the pottery actually on the wheel was a challenge. With all of these problems and solutions, there was always something else to work on or fix. The Pottery Simulator can never be finished as there is endless ways improve this project, but it does demonstrate the idea that we were working towards.
The first iteration of the Pottery Simulator was played by touching the screen of a tablet. The game console was made up of a thirty-two inch television, a tablet, and a plastic pyramid. The Plastic pyramid was placed upside-down onto the TV to create the illusion of a hologram, and the tablet ran the Processing sketch. The idea for the game at this point was to have a start screen, and then once on the play screen there would be spinning image of a pot created in Photoshop that could be stretched or erased as the player dragged their fingers across the tablet’s screen. After finding that touching a normal touch screen was not very fun, we chose to move on to looking at other highly accurate ways to interact with the game.
The second iteration of the game used a multi-touch frame instead of a tablet in order for the player to interact with the game. This version of of the game also changed the way that the clay was warped when the player tried to change the shape of the pot. Instead of using Photoshopped images, we decided on creating 3D models of the basic pot and pottery wheel, and then creating an animation in Processing that caused the objects to appear as if they were spinning. A grid was then created over the animation of the pot that could then be warped as the player swiped their fingers across the touch frame’s active area, causing the images of the pot to change shape. While this version of the game worked fine at times, the pot was able to hover over the pottery wheel, and the multi-touch frame would not work all the time. Since the touch frame was so unreliable and the pot did not seem realistic, we chose to change the way the clay was formed and found another new way to interact with the game.
The third and final iteration of Pottery Simulator has a Wii remote, and an infrared pen that the player uses to interact with the hologram. The code in the game has been changed in order to stop the clay from lifting off of the pottery wheel as the player shapes it into a pot. The upside-down plastic pyramid from the other iterations has stayed in this one, producing the illusion that the pot the player is creating is actually inside the pyramid. The Wii remote is placed far behind the rest of the game console, allowing it to sense the infrared pen from anywhere in front of the hologram. As of now the pot changes shape in weird ways. Instead of the clay having a smooth texture, spikes form on the edges of the pot as the player shapes it to look how they want it to. The Wii remote and infrared pen are also not working as well as we would like them to. It is very hard to control the shape of the pottery using the pen as the Wii remote has to be so far away from the television that it has trouble detecting exactly where the pen is, causing the mouse pointer on the computer to move around by itself.