A New Aproach to Education with Kinect 2nd Screen

A couple of years ago I developed a desktop application that I called “2nd Screen”.

I made this application for one specific use but has resulted in so many other applications like entertainment, conferencing tool, teaching tool, etc. And this time I will like to talk about how I have been using it as an education tool for teaching.

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Its proposed uses as an educational tool has two alternatives, one as support for presentation or exhibition on the class teacher and the other as virtual experimentation tool for the student.

Here some examples of use:

Suppose that in a class for elementary school we are talking about gravity and to explain in more detail and in a better way, it is explained with a simple example of how the gravity of the moon differs from that of the earth. What if at this time, we request the participation of one of the children, we put it “virtually”on the moon wearing an astronaut suit and all and asking him to walk. What would happen if with him/her walks?, or what if he/she jumps ? Or if he/she runs? With the help of Kinect and the 2nd screen app, we can make the child float or even roll with the effect of the gravity. The child is being practically on the moon, is experiencing that feeling while other children see the same projection. Most likely there are more children wanting to participate and will make the experience a topic of discussion in class. What is sure is that this kind of experiences, will be hard to forget for them for the ones who experimented it or for those who enjoyed seeing their friends participate.

Here applies a phrase that says… “If I hear, I forget… if I see, I remember… if I do, I learn.”

Another example, could be for a young high school boy or girl that is supposed to solve a physics, where you can put practically him/her resolve the problem by him/herself.

As anyone knows, Mathematics and Physics are very abstract topics, that in most cases even if the student understand all the formulas and how to use them, in a real situation you may be difficult to know or remember how to apply them when needed, but that should be different if you already applied them in real situations.

This tool can also be useful in other topics as well, like history, explanation of theorems, chemistry topics, ethics, etc. even if it is not required from the student to provide a solution to a problem but rather than that, placing the student there at that time. In conclusion, is like having a portable virtual lab for the students all thanks to technology of the Kinect sensor.

A new aproach to cosplay events using the Kinect Technology

I have been working with kinect since the launch of the first SDK a few years ago, finding new ways to do things that could make use of the benefits of this technology.

You can find a lot of ways to employ it in fields that you can’t even imagine why they are not already using it. One of this uses is for Cosplays, According to internet, Cosplay (コスプレ kosupure?), is a portmanteau of costume play, is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character or idea that is usually identified with a unique name. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centered on role play. A broader use of the term “cosplay” applies to any costumed role-play in venues apart from the stage, regardless of the cultural context. Favorite sources include manga and anime, comic books and cartoons, video games, and live-action films.

So, as it says above, Cosplayers wants to represent their favorite character as if they were them. Is not just dressing like them, is actually being them, expressing like them. Well, why not give them the opportunity to be inside their game, cartoon or film?. And not only the chance to be there but also their powers, what about flying? what about throwing hadokens, or being Mario fighting Goombas and Koopas, etc. Of course, you can do all of this with video post-production and green screen color keying. But this doesn’t give the feeling of being there, in realtime, acting or performing whatever you want of yours favorite character. All of this could be made with Kinect, without any needs for advanced studio or green screen walls; just the kinect, your computer and a good light.
This is what this project is about, an experiment of how this sensor could help as a support tool for Cosplay performers, or just any one who would like to be in the shoes of any super hero, anime character or film actor. Using the functionality of background removal, the program puts the cosplayer in the corresponding stage, with the aid for skeletal tracking, the cosplayer could easily wear any weapon or custome that could serve its purpose, and fight with their nemesis virtually.

Control Freak Studio: Tecnología de Juárez

Nacido en Ciudad Juárez en 1981. Estudio Ingenieria en Sistemas en el Instituto Tecnológico de Ciudad Juárez, para posteriormente estudiar Licenciatura en Animación y Arte Digital en el Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey campus Ciudad Juárez.

Lo anterior es relevante si observamos que desde siempre tenia un objetivo muy claro.

Estando ya en el ITESM, formo un pequeño grupo de amigos interesados en explorar en la creación y desarrollo de proyectos interactivos y de esa manera nació lo que hoy denominanControl Freak Studio, haciendo un referente a la interactividad pero de una forma no comúnmente vista.

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La empresa, que aún esta en el proceso de registro, trata más que nada sobre eso, el desarrollo y creación de experiencias interactivas. Y está conformada por Alan Román, Mariana Laguera, Vania Rosas y Angel Solares.

Han creado, desarrollado y/o participado en algunos eventos tanto para eventos especiales como para el público en general, algunos en centros comerciales y están trabajando en distintos proyectos entre ellos con propuestas para trabajar con museos de la ciudad viendo la posibilidad de agregar interactividad.

Paralelamente han trabajado en el desarrollo de aplicaciones y juegos de video para móviles, lanzando su primer título el pasado 21 de abril en la tienda de Google Play, de titulo Star Basket.

Google Play es la tienda virtual de contenidos y aplicaciones orientada a la plataforma Android de tabletas y teléfonos inteligentes, por lo que representa un escaparate de alcance global para la distribución de este tipo de contenidos, es decir, cualquier persona en cualquier parte del mundo con un Smart Phone con sistema operativo Android puede acceder y descargar su juego.

* Fuente de la nota: Juarez a Diario.

http://www.juarezadiario.com/radio/control-freak-studio-tecnologia-juarez/

Esperando por n segundos en Unity3D

Conzoco 3 maneras de esperar por n segundos en Unity las cuales te enlisto enseguida:

  1. Usando Time.deltaTime
  2. Usando InvokeRepeating
  3. Usando yield return new WaitForSeconds

Primero empezare describiendote el codigo para esperar n segundos usando la clase Time lo cual seria usando el codigo siguiente.

using UnityEngine;
using System.Collections;

public class ScriptDeltaTime : MonoBehaviour
{
   public GUIText guitext;

   int number=0;

   float secondsCounter=0;
   float secondsToCount=1;

   void Update ()
   {
      secondsCounter += Time.deltaTime;
      if (secondsCounter >= secondsToCount)
      {
         secondsCounter=0;
         number++;
      }
      guitext.text = number.ToString();
   }
}

Y he aqui el codigo necesario para InvokeRepeating.

using UnityEngine;
using System.Collections;

public class ScriptInvoke : MonoBehaviour
{
   public GUIText guitext;

   int number=0;

   void Awake ()
   {
      InvokeRepeating("UsingInvokeRepeat", 1f,    1f);
   }

   void Update ()
   {
      guitext.text = number.ToString();
   }

   void UsingInvokeRepeat()
   {
      number++;
   }
}

Y por ultimo el codigo necesario para el metodo de WaitForSeconds.

using UnityEngine;
using System.Collections;

public class ScriptYield : MonoBehaviour {

   public GUIText guitext;
   int number=0;
   bool couroutineStarted= false;

   void Update ()
   {
      if(!couroutineStarted)
         StartCoroutine(UsingYield(1));

      guitext.text = number.ToString();
   }

   IEnumerator UsingYield(int seconds)
   {
      couroutineStarted = true;

      yield return new WaitForSeconds(seconds);
      number++;

      couroutineStarted = false;
   } 

}

Cabe señalar que en los 3 casos el codigo esta esperando por 1 segundo, para esperar por una cantidad de segundos diferente solo habria que modificar el valor explicito de ‘1’ que se esta dando en cada caso por el valor exacto en segundos que se desee esperar.

The decision for the scheme

In the previous post I was analyzing what the kinds of tower defense games Pros and Cons. By now, we have decided which one would be the more appropriate.

I am quoting the definition I made for it.

Fig 3, this is also a classical scheme were enemies just follow an straight path from right to left or left to right, trying to reach the “tower”, defenders will be added at the top of the tower and from there they will be attacking. Enemies don’t follow straight rows, they just travel side by side. The tower will have a health bar where you could see how it is taking damage when the enemies reach it and attack it. Several games use point and click to kill the enemies.

Essentially, this would be the best format for what we are trying to accomplish, its also the easiest path to go but that doesn’t mean the game will all be based on this, and also, it is not just for the simplicity that we chose it but rather for the way we could adapt it to our idea.

We first though we could make it isometric but as enemies only are going to walk forward the tower and players will face the enemies, doing something isometric will make the visibility of the players and enemies poor because you will only be able to see the back of one of them and the face of the other. Making it side view you will always see the face of the players and enemies. it would also shorts the animation frames to be drawn but the most important point for not to make it isometric is the facing of the characters.

Conclusion:

  • Not isometric, it will be side view.
  • Enemies walk from right to left with no maze or road path.

Analyzing tower defense games for our zombie project

Reviewing and playing several defense the tower games, I found that all of them fall in one of four categories, I will try to explain them graphically. Described from left to right, the most notorious difference between all of them is the path that enemy follows, where the goal is, and where you put the defenders.

kinds of tower defense

Fig 1, shows what could be called a “path of rows”, and the most popular game using this scheme is obviously Plant vs Zombies, you put the defenders along the same rows where the enemies will walk, enemies will have to kill the defenders or pass them through to get to the goal.

Fig 2, shows the classical defense the tower path, were yo have this kind of road, Here the enemy must go from the start to the end of the road, which also could be called as the goal, sometimes the roads would have more than one start and end goals. Here, the enemies usually cant kill the defenders because those are positioned outside the roads.

Fig 3, this is also a classical scheme were enemies just follow an straight path from right to left or left to right, trying to reach the “tower”, defenders will be added at the top of the tower and from there they will be attacking. Enemies don’t follow straight rows, they just travel side by side. The tower will have a health bar where you could see how it is taking damage when the enemies reach it and attack it. Several games use point and click to kill the enemies.

Fig 4, In my opinion, this would be the worst schemes of of them all, it is very similar to that described on figure 1 but having only one row.

A zombies project

We are attempting to make a zombies project using as base the lemonade project trying out a practice that we are calling “community game development”.

Why are we going to use the lemonade project as base?

  • First of all, we want an easy game to make, we have some graphics, the base idea, and the code that we need to kinda convert it to html 5.
  • Graphics are easy to make and we are going to experiment giving the people the opportunity to help us with that.
  • Taking into account the previous two points, this game could take us a short time to make it, or at least, to have something to show and to play.

Why a zombies project?

  • Rather than for being a trendy topic, there is the fact that we can use a lot of different zombie characters, that’s were people will be able to contribute.
  • Its a theme well received from people, a lot of persons like it, even though it is constantly over used by video games, movies, etc.
  • Not very exploded here locally and we want to make the levels representing some important places of our city.

Community game development, what is that?

  • Is an experimental practices where we are gonna give people from Facebook the opportunity to make content for the game.
  • We will give them some very attractive and easy to use editors, with base templates drawings so they almost just choice the colors or paint the inside of a contoured character and also the option to make them from zero if they want it to.
  • The editors are going to use a grid, the characters are 128 pixels width per 64 pixels height, it this grid you could paint point by point or actually select the colors from a list of categories, one example would be, zombies skin colors.
  • The editors will appear at the end of the given chapter or level of the game, asking the player if they one to make their own zombie, or as a editors outside the game.
  • The zombies chosen to be inside the game will have the credit of the author on the screen of credits in the game.

OK, I know what it is, but why that community game development thing.

  • Help us to keep more in touch with people, get more people to know us.
  • All our projects have the touch to be massive (happy sky, virtual dresser, re-gaming, etc.) and by doing this, it feels we are keeping the same path.
  • People will know what any other things we can make, and of what we are able to do, they can also give us good feed back about our work.
  • The game will need to be deployed in chapters or in short levels, so we are going to constantly see our work finished not having to wait for longs and longs periods of development.
  • For just a merely purpose of experiment and see how people reacts.