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Post from Physical Games

Physical Games | Projects | Kinect Awakens | Portfolio

  • Our challenge for this project was to create a game that motivated people to exercise. A variety of sensors were available to be implemented in our game. The main two options were used virtual and physical methods, the Kinect, and load cells, respectively. The Kinect tracks movement with an infrared camera and skeleton tracking software; load cells are pressure detection devices that are activated when weight is put on them.

    In honor of the upcoming Star Wars movie, we wanted to create a Star Wars game. Our base idea was to have a game where the player can swing around a lightsaber, and on screen, they can deflect projectiles being shot at them. We then proceeded to “storyboard” our game, in which we drew the various screens that would be displayed throughout the game. The main 3 screen were going to be the “start” screen, where the game interface would be laid out, the “play” screen, where the actual gameplay would occur, and the “death” screen, which would be shown if the game was lost.

    Our team split up to cover as much ground as possible. The jobs we split to work on were graphic design (creating resources for the game), coding the basic functions of the interface,and porting the game to the kinect. Graphics were created for all 3 screens. First we created the background images for the start and play screens, and the entities that would be interacted with on the play screen. We also created the objects that would be in movement, i.e. the lightsaber and the blaster bolts, and the graphic that shows on the screen upon death.

    We tried to use many different ways of tracking the lightsaber, the two main methods were either through skeletal tracking, or through “blob” tracking, where the user would have a physical lightsaber that the kinect would track, instead of it tracking their actual body. In the end we settled with skeletal tracking, as the blob tracking was going to be too time consuming to make work, and perhaps too inaccurate. In order to create the lightsaber, the kinect creates two points on the user's hands and draws a line between them, and extrapolates a line based on the directionality of the user’s hands. the lightsaber uses  a colinear line the lightsaber is an image being drawn on that line. The blaster bolts are images being moved across a line coming out of the gun of storm trooper. The program checks to see if the line of the lightsaber and the blaster bolt intersect and if the blaster bolt is a t the point of intersection.

    Using the kinect, the user swings their hands as if they were swinging a lightsaber to deflect blaster bolts that the on-screen enemies shoot at you. The game offers several options before play; a user can decide their lightsaber color, and choose to begin or end the game by presses of a button. In game, when you take hits, the screen slowly turns red, until the death screen displays, and the game ends.