Our gaming setup consists of a Philips TV, a game console (in this case a laptop) and a microcontroller which drives the RGB leds for the surround light system.
The game console is connected with a HDMI cable to the screen, this not different from an usual game setup. The game is also wireless connected to the TV for sending the JSON commands. With these wireless JSON commands the Ambilight receives the correct colors. It is necessary that the TV and game console are connected at the same network. The game console is also connected with a microcontroller with a USB cable, this microcontroller drives the surround light system. The game console needs to drive 3 systems at the same time: the actual game, the JSON commands for the Ambilight and commands for the microcontroller. It is probably possible to control the Ambilight without threading, but without it, the modified game will probably run slower. Because of delays and the relative ease to work with threading, we decided to run the controls of the Ambilight and the microcontroller entirely in separate threads in which we used priorities to decide which action we wanted to show at which time. For example if one of the players in Pong would score the winning point, we want to use the animation/effect we made for victory and not just for a winning point.
Space invaders is a player vs AI(Artificial Intelligence) game. You have to stop the aliens from reaching the ground. You have to hide from their attacks and fire whenever possible . In this game we made different effects for the Ambilight and the surround light system. We chose to work like this because we wanted to use our surround light as an extra information source. We have three major surround light sources and these are all lit red when the game starts but when you get hit and lose a life, one off the light sources will go out to alert the player. Meanwhile the Ambilight has 4 different effects.The first is our standard lighting, this is more of an idle animation and we use it only to make it obvious that the game has started. The second is when the special alien appears, at this point its possible to earn extra points so the Ambilight starts flickering blue to make sure our player has notices the possibility to score extra points. The third effect is a faster standard animation, this is to alert the player he lost a life. This is coupled with one of our major surround light sources that goes dark. This way the player is decently alerted and knows from the Ambilight he is hit and how many lives he has left from the surround light system. The last effect is game over, the player lost all of his lives and the game has ended. The Ambilight starts flickering while the screens shows if you got a new highscore. Meanwhile the surround light system has gone dark because the player has no more lives left.
The game plays in internal mode. Once we press a button to shoot, we switch to manual mode to create the flickering light effect.
There is an unpredictable delay on the effect. This is probably because of the constant internal/manual switching.
This classic game can be seen as a basic form of tennis. Each player can move their stick up and down to bounce the ball to the other side. You can win by making the ball pass the other side of the screen. The adaption of this classic game will focus on the movement of the ball and the two players. We have developed 4 different effects for this game, these effects are visible on the Amblight and the Surround light system. The effects are made by giving each player a different color (blue and green). The first effect is an begin effect, when the game is launched. The leds will light up one at a time, beginning from the left and right bottom sides, in the two different player colors.
In these renderings you can see the lightings have a different shape than in our prototypes. This is because in the final product, these round shapes will be made with injection molding. This can’t be done with conventional prototyping methods.
This rounded shape will evenly diffuse the light. Much better than with our cube-like shapes in the prototype.
To find the ideal place for the leds, we did some light tests.
First we placed the leds close to the front plate.
Here we can clearly see the individual leds. This is not wanted. We have to put the leds further from the surface or find a way to diffuse the light faster.
Putting the leds in the middle, showed a much better diffused light. The individual leds are almost unrecognizable. Still, the diffusion throughout the whole of the light isn’t right. We can still see a great difference in luminosity between the bottom and top of the lighting.
To solve this problem, the leds should be more in the centre of the lighting. Here we see what happens when we put the lights on the back plate in the middle. The leds become one entity and the luminosity is equally divided throughout the lighting.
We will use this as our final prototyping solution.