Creative Lab: TileToy – A Modular Electronic Game Prototype
Led by Tuomo Tammenpää & Daniel Blackburn
To join this workshop please contact Clare Danek on:
+44(0)870 990 5007
or email [email protected] for further information.
The workshop is designed for artists, designers and students interested in physical computing, computer programming and game design. Experience in soldering, Max/MSP or PicBasic / Basic stamp programming will be useful but not essential.
TileToy is a modular, electronic game prototype for tangible LED game tiles. TileToy brings the flexibility inherent in software to a physical tile that people can touch and interact with. By arranging multiple tiles, players can engage in various kinds of game play, from fast-paced arcade style games to puzzle games or learning games. Compared to traditional tile games, this TileToy can avail itself of changing-state strategies, animations and games where the tiles can affect the state of adjoining tiles. TileToy can also be used to display information or used for purely aesthetic purposes.
The tiles are plastic cases approximately 2″ square. The main inspiration for the look and feel comes from the heyday of the LED, when plastic hand-held games ruled the gaming world. This retro-look is fused with a more modern minimal design. The minimalism enhances the magic of cordless boxes that simply communicate with each other. In TileToy, technology is sealed within the design. The interaction is based on tactile experience where no user manual is needed.
The re-programmable and constantly updated graphical information on each tile is displayed with a LED matrix system. The screen displaying the information is an endlessly versatile surface for updated visual communication. Each tile is controlled individually and can be used to transmit information on its own or in groups of several tiles. The assembled tiles transmit wirelessly their individual position in relation to each other and based on that changing information, a central computer, or a dedicated tile runs the different applications.
Open software and hardware project
TileToy is an Open project. Both the source code and the hardware will be made available via open licenses. The aim of TileToy is not just to create something that we ourselves can use to create interesting games and demos for, but as a platform that anyone can use to create unique content. Making the software open will allow people to create their own applications and games and feed these back into the community hopefully to spark further innovation. The open hardware will also allow people to make their own TileToys cheaply without paying a third party. It may even lead to new projects that branch off to make new versions of TileToy based on the original hardware.
Open source software
The initial PicBasic code used to control the tiles will be released under the GPL or LGPL (see http://www.opensource.org for more details) by the end of November 2005. The code will most likely be released via sourceforge but details will be posted via http://tiletoy.blogspot.com. After the initial release of the Pic based code we will then look to open up the code to other alternative platforms we have experimented with, such as java code and Max/MSP code. There is no fixed timescale for this yet.
Open source hardware
The first open hardware version will be a list of components needed, first circuit design schematics and brief instructions for DIY tiles. At this stage, the main objective is to initiate the development for simpler and cheaper version of TileToy with people who are more experienced in electronic design and engineering. Open hardware will be released by the end of November 2005 via http://tiletoy.blogspot.com
TileToy Ultrasound Workshop
– TileToy introduction, process, future
– TileToy presentation, playing some games
– planning the workshop – skills check: groups, pairs, individuals
– equipment & parts check
– preparations, cutting boards
– soldering pic, programming & power components
– checking, debugging first components
– status check
– soldering radio and
– testing, programming
afternoon: Soldering & debugging
– soldering reed switches
– glueing magnets
– testing & debugging
– status check
– introduction to programming TileToy: PicBasic & Max/MSP
– explaining PicBasic client code & possibilities for game programming
– explaining serial radio communication with Max/MSP patch
– coding / patching a simple game
– testing games, results
– where from here -discussion
The aim of the workshop is to give an insight and hands-on experience into the many processes used in creating a project of Tiletoy’s complexity. By the end of the workshop the participants should be able to make more tiles and create new applications on their own. Participants will also gain general experience of working with Pic micro controllers and basic electronics.
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