First of all, can you tell us a bit about the technology you have been showcasing?
The technology uses the Microsoft Kinect to pull information about the physical world into a game engine. Once we have the information pulled into a game engine we can effectively do whatever we want with it, we can trigger music and sound, apply visual effects to a person or even substitute the person for a 3D character of our choice.
You’ve demoed it a couple of times at conferences and events but Play Festival was the first time the public could actually get involved. What was the response like?
It was extremely good, many people spent up to an hour playing with the installation. We had people coming back and bringing there friends so they could try it as a group. Kids also loved it and made up the majority of the users early in the day with the adults taking over as it got darker. The public install would assign each person one of 4 abilities (particles, staffs, balls and glow worms) People quickly developed a favourite and would spend a lot of time figuring out all the subtle ways of controlling the toys. The highlight was when we had a fire belly dancing troupe turn up after finishing their show and the 3 of them broke into a perfectly choreographed dance routine while using it.
That’s amazing about the belly dancing troupe! I didn’t know that happened.
I was kicking my self pretty hard as my camera had ran out of battery at that point.
Would you say it was well suited for a festival environment then? And are there any other environments you would be keen to test it out in?
It’s perfect for a festival environment because we had a decent sound system hooked up to the software, which would mix between several tracks depending on how many people were using the install. Essentially it became a mini automated stage that the audience operated just by being there. Our next test location will be the high street which I think will be more challenging for several reasons; firstly we can’t use sound as it wouldn’t work, secondly at a festival people are looking for stuff to play with, whereas on the high street people are going somewhere and we have to grab them in the few seconds as they walk past. So that initial few seconds of interaction become all the more critical.
What are your favourite effects to play around with?
Particle cloud manipulation and live music mixing are my two favourite things to play with so far, although the full 3D rigged character control system I’m working on at the moment may knock them off the top spot after a few more days work.
Great! Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m very much looking forward to the Kinect 2.0 which comes out shortly, given how much we can do with the standard Kinect the things the 2.0 lets us do will leave people with their jaw on the ground.
Woop exciting times! Thanks for that Rob
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