SLorpedo!

We just presented our team’s hack for HackDay in London…

An awesome team effort inspired and led by Paul Johnston and Nigel Crawley. A mixed reality naval game from the Supernova team.

Here’s the science part.

Camera rig The real world part(s) of the hack involved a DV cam feeding Nigel’s G4 iBook with a live feed of some pieces which represented two teams, “crabs” and “sharks” (cut from O’Reilly postcards). The camera rig – managed by Jon Hadley – was a highly technical setup involving gaffer tape and a borrowed tripod – thanks to Twitter! The iBook then used the TUIO protocol to update the coordinates of the game pieces to a web server.

The second RL part of the hack was my MacBook Pro rigged with Quicktime Broadcaster and Darwin Streaming Server, pointing at the game board. This provided a video feed that could be used within Second Life. This was technically challenging to set up due to issues connecting between the laptops on the BTOpenZone network… so someone donated us an Airport hub (again following a Twittered plea for help), and I shared my connection with Jim Purbrick who was then able to tunnel through to Second Life, as well as seeing my Quicktime stream. We experimented with a cheap USB webcam too, but the iSight just worked a lot better (positioning was “interesting” though!)

View from the blimpMeanwhile… in Second Life, the team of Jim Purbrick, Ben Hardill, Chris Mahoney and James Taylor built an amazing setup. We had a floating blimp (on Arcanum, the sim that Linden Lab had donated for the Hack Day event). The blimp contained a table which showed the live video feed of the game being played in real life. Below that, the sim was submerged. During the demo, Babbage Linden showed off the live feed, and then flew under the blimp. When he hit the floating buoy, a group of submarines were rezzed in that corresponded with the movement of the pieces in real life. Oh, and the subs were named after names found via the Yahoo! Answers API.

We didn’t quite have time to sort out the audio, but there were supposed to be some sonar noises as the subs were rezzed. Pretty easy to add, but we got moved around a couple of times prior to the demo, and had to disassemble our rig each time.

Someone managed to capture the blueprint for the hack on camera.

Oh, and as a complete aside – it is interesting to see the distribution of hardware and operating systems at the event. I’d say Macs dominate, Windows are probably second (I’ve only seen one running Vista but there may be more), and there are quite a few people running Linux too. Almost all of the demos and presentations seem to be run from Macs. W00t!

I had a spot on stage earlier in the afternoon as the “glamorous” helper for the MyBlogBunny hack, holding the Nabaztag – thanks Lance :-)

[ edit 19/06 - links and photos added, minor edits ]

[ edit 21/06 - added some more links to interesting Flickr photos ]

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19 responses to “SLorpedo!

  1. Wow, Andy; it sounds like you’re having an amazing time. Say hi to (well, everyone) from me.

    I await the photos with much anticipation.

  2. Great job Andy!! Can’t wait for the pictures… did you capture any video??

  3. Thanks guys.

    There are some photos of the SLorpedo hack on Flickr now. Unfortunately video capture would have been tricky as my laptop was screen-down pointing at a white board, Babbage was driving the whole thing, and the other video camera was used for taking shots of the board. A film crew from the event did come by and look at what we were doing, so maybe that will surface at some point. Oh, and Paul was interviewed by Reuters, which was pretty cool.

    We didn’t get may in-world images of the game either, but I’ve uploaded a few that James provided.

  4. Chris took a video of the presentation which we’ll hopefully make available soon. I would have like to get some footage after the presentation, but we tore down the rig almost imediately. I’d like to see the game finished, so maybe we should take some proper footage once that’s done.

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  8. James Taylor

    It would be great to get the game all wrapped up so that anyone could get footage while playing it. I hope the gaffer tape engineering survives in the final Linden Lab office SLorpedo installation!

    It was a real shame not to get the atmospheric sonar pings included, which Andy sourced, along with the other finishing touches, but it’s not easy driving a sub as it turned out. Great work by Ben getting them to cooperate just in time for the live demo on stage!

    Had a quick fly round the game board last night (while getting a Wii controller hooked up to Second Life :) and bumped into one of the team admiring the remnants of the weekend’s naval battle! Great to meet, and hack with, all you guys in person.

  9. I’ll try and find some time tonight to have a look at the code for the Sub placement again to get them lined up right.

    And have another look at the torpedos

  10. I have a folder containing the sounds, I’ll try to remember to pass them to you in-world so you can get the subs to play them on rez.

  11. James Taylor

    Looks like we can’t get back on to the same island now (they must be cutting the grass and putting out the red carpet!) so there might be a few subs in the IBM sandbox later!

  12. arcanum should be accessible again, please send me your SL names so I can set up a group

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