We’ve finally wrapped everything up for finals and the show, so now I’ve gotten around to putting all the documentation together. Here’s a recap of the Sound Tent at the 2017 ITP Winter Show. Continue reading to see the details of our final results.
For my Unity project, I made an interactive exploration game where you can control a woman walking through the desert. You use the arrow keys to make her go forward, backward, left, and right. You can use the space bar to jump.
Overall, the process of putting everything together was pretty straightforward. I started by creating a character in Fuse, and the exporting it to Mixamo. The only issue was that Chrome wouldn’t run WebGL on my computer so I needed to work with Mixamo in Safari. After I exported my rigged character, I made sure to change the rig to “Humonoid” when importing into Unity. I’m not sure why, but none of the textures were automatically applied when I imported my character. I needed to apply them all by dragging on dropping them, but that was pretty simple. Next I used the Asset Store to get a desert scene. I wanted to add some objects for the character to collect while running through the desert, but I think I will try to add that later.
Here is the C# script that I used to make the character’s controls work.
Some other issues that I had to work out in Unity were making sure the capsule collider was the right size so that my character didn’t look like she was floating off the ground. Also, I added two light sources which created two shadows from my character. I learned in class that you can turn off shadows for your lighting, so now it looks a little more realistic.
Another problem I had was with exporting my project. It kept getting hung up when it was baking the light maps, and I ended up finding the solution in this thread. I needed to lower the resolution so that it could export my file faster.
Overall, I definitely would like to explore the other capabilities of Unity outside of making games. I will take a closer look at what is possible in the future.
Throughout this class, I have been thinking about social engaged art in two main ways. The first being SEA that explores making social impact within a community through the creating situations where unlikely groups collaborate. The key thing is that everyone is gaining something valuable from the collaboration so there is equal ownership and no one feels taken advantage of. I also feel that making critical thinking about art and creative practices a part of education can break down the sentiment that “Art” is inaccessible outside of the art world. This manifested in my idea where media sources, students, and local creative practitioners would collaborate together through a class for the students to produce content that is more accessible to a mainstream population and that uplifts narratives of a community’s history and lived experiences.
The second way I’ve thought about SEA is how we might use it to examine our social behaviors that are enabled by technology. In particular, the fact that a lot of digital tools we use are claiming that they help us become more connected, while on the other end, critics claiming our obsession with devices is making us less connected. Connection in the digital space vs connection in real space? I’m starting to think that the line between those two “spaces” are becoming more ambiguous in people’s minds.
A lot of the inspiration for this arises from my own experiences communicating with people in digital spaces – texting in particular. Some friends tell me I am awful at texting since I don’t text back fast enough. Whatever – I don’t feel like I need to be on demand for people via text. But this means that there really is meaning in the unspoken aspects of texting and messaging. Is a message that’s longer more meaningful? If someone waits a long time to text you back, are they mad at you? What’s the deal with this instant messaging power dynamic? Is it weird that texts from your mom and from people you barely know are all at the same level and context on your phone? I think other people have these questions too.
That leads me to my final project for this class. The main question I am asking here is what happens when users interact with a piece of technology that purposefully makes it harder to communicate? And so, my concept was to build a chat application where there are two rules: 1) Users’ messages must be longer than the previous sent message and 2) The reply time between messages must be longer than the previous reply time. The idea is that the reply time and the message length would approach infinity and introduce enough inconvenience for you to perhaps connect with someone in person or just stop communicating with someone altogether.
I have a functioning prototype that we demoed in class. You can play with it here & invite someone to chat with you by sending them the URL. You are greeted with this at first.
Once you enter your name, you can chat with other users in the chat. In this case, our whole class was there. You can see the warnings on your screen, but others can’t see them. Here is the beginning of our chat. Side note: I need to debug some of the code that checks the length/reply time of the messages, so a couple invalid messages may have slipped through if you are looking closely.
It quickly escalates as people start to figure out the rules. There is ASCII art. there is posting of full articles.
This experiment with the class shows how the messages begin to lose their meaning as we are trying to fulfill the rules or test the limits of the system. I would like to see this in the context of two people trying in earnest to communicate. For now, users choose to go to my site and use the chat. I am curious to see this piece in other spaces. Maybe setting up two computers in an installation? Get more people online to use it?
I originally wanted it to be set up so that you could generate private URLs that you would send to the people/person you wanted to chat with, but because of the limitation of my programming skills I only made one chatroom. Also, for this prototype the file server is ephemeral (I am using a free server from Heroku), which means the messages will disappear every so often or when the Heroku server is sleeping. I would like to change this later, but for now, it works to get the point across.
The last couple weeks have been dedicated to taking our breadboard prototype version of the Sound House and turning it into the actual piece. I’ll talk about the updated system diagram and BOM, the user testing from last week, and our progress with fabrication.
Check out the animation that Max Horwich and I made in After Effects. Max also created all of the sound using Ableton!
Since the last class, Brandon and I have run a quick prototype of our project and created another design/prototype for the music interface.
Plz excuse the dead look in my eyes. It’s finals. Here are my questions for the class.
- How is interface of this website helping or hindering you from using it?
- In what ways do you feel this does or doesn’t capture your personality/identity?
- What would you do with the photos you save from this?
- How could this be more engaging and exciting for you?
This past week, we conducted playtesting of our cardboard prototype with Danny Rozin’s class.
We went over the basics of After Effects last week, and now I’ve made a simple animation. Here’s a cat doing jumping jacks in a place where gravity apparently isn’t as strong as on Earth.
The concept for the final project is structure that is inspired by the branching design of a tree and creates sound and lights when the user touches it. Here is the cardboard model Brandon and I are planning to bring to class for play testing.
We are planning on letting the user approach the piece with the instruction to make sound. We will observe what the user expects to happen and how they react to what we designed for this interaction prototype. Read more to see our initial plan for completing the project.