Not Mashed

Last weekend saw the second London Hackday, now called Mashed, and it was great to hear that CurrentCost mania is continuing to spread, with Rich and Dale’s CurrentCost Live project winning the Guardian prize! (See the presentation that led to fame and fortune on YouTube!)

Rich and Dale weren’t the only people from Hursley at Mashed, nor were they the only winners! Steve Godwin also had a winning entry with Twitter on TV. (No video that I can find as yet!)

I missed this year’s hack day but it looks like Mashed was another great weekend, even keeping up the tradition of opening the roof from last year! There were some members of team supernova back again and hacking though. Paul was interviewed about his project(s) on the day, and still had time to get Travel Streamr working. Jim’s call for Carbon Goggle helpers clearly worked and you can see the results in action on YouTube.

Mashed might be over but I hope that doesn’t mean the end to the projects it created. SLorpedo has certainly made one or two appearances since last year. Watch out for more CurrentCost, TV Twittering, Travel Streamr and Carbon Goggles in the months ahead. (I’m also on the look out for more details about the other projects, so leave a link if you have one.)

Update: finding a few of the twitter bots that got a mention to add to the tweetjects @jthouse follows. Also discovered that Carbon Goggles made an appearance in the BBC news article on the event. (25 June 2008)


Twitter tracking, hashtags, BarCampBrighton2 and the return of SLorpedo

Since I started using twitter I’ve used the SMS notifications for about an hour in total. I do occasionally use the web interface from my phone but most of the time I’d rather not have interruptions from text messages all the time while I’m out and about. So when twitter introduced tracking, I didn’t take much notice, being a largely SMS feature (it does IM as well, but I don’t).

Until yesterday that is.

Having recently had a couple of twitter related tweetups in Hursley I was having a look at hashtags and decided to give tracking a go as well. The first thing I decided to track turned out to be so unpopular that I didn’t think it was working at all! So I switched to something that might feature in a few more tweets… too many as it turned out! I was about ready to give up on tracking when I learned that SLorpedo was going to make a reappearance at BarCampBrighton2, so I gave tracking on more shot. This time it worked perfectly- I’ve been clearing out the house and off doing viewings all day so didn’t have time to keep an eye on Arcanum for signs of life but just before dinner the phone buzzed as Rachel then Nigel tweeted about SLorpedo and I just about caught the end of the game in Second Life when I logged in! Very cool! (Watch out for SLorpedo tweeting as well!)

I didn’t need as much convincing that hashtags would be good but they proved handy too, revealing some photo’s of the latest SLorpedo outing very nicely in the aggregated media for #BarCampBrighton2.

Back to packing boxes!

SLorpedo Tweets

If plants can twitter, bridges can twitter and houses can twitter, why not mixed reality games? To find out, I’ve created a SLorpedo twitter account to experiment. To make it simple to find any SLorpedo games in world I’m planning to tweet locations using TinySL. Twitter also seems like a really nice way to get the score back out of Second Life; at the moment the score is only shown inside Second Life, but I quite like the idea of using a virtual world to work out the score for a real life game without ever logging in!

I also think that twitter might be an interesting way to keep track of object keys and channel keys inside Second Life, without needing my own server. So instead of copying a channel key from the Second Life client, the SLorpedo program could find out the key from Twitter… maybe.

To spiral further into mixed reality confusion, I’m also trying to display the SLorpedo Twitter feed back inside Second Life using QTtext. QTtext is a really simple way to display text on a prim using a plain text file and a media texture (even simpler than HTML on a prim which is on its way at last) and I’m hopeful that a bit of XSLT on a Twitter RSS feed will do the trick nicely.

Watch this space!

Pocket SLorpedo (continued)

Unfortunately my last Slorpedo revisit coincided with a small problem with Second Life but XML-RPC is now back on its feet- hurrah! In fact, XML-RPC into Second Life is working fast enough to rez the subs as they are placed at the moment, although if it slows down again the subs should still all get rezed before firing torpedoes.

The reason for having another prod at XML-RPC is that it should provide a simple way for anyone to play the mixed reality game first seen at Hackday London and SLUK, and it’s almost ready. If you want to have a sneak preview follow these steps:

  1. Download reacTIVision.
  2. Download and unzip the Pocket SLorpedo client.
  3. Clear a playing area in real life, point a camera at it, get the playing pieces ready and fire up reacTIVision. (I’ve been mostly experimenting using the TUIO Simulator so far but it’s time to get the scissors out to make some real playing pieces!)
  4. Get the Second Life Pocket SLorpedo object- hope to have a vendor available soon but until then let me know your Second Life name and I’ll send one over.
  5. Use the channel key displayed when rezing the Second Life object to start the Java client using the command line below.
  6. Play!

To start the Java client, open up a console, change directory where ever you unzipped it, and run this:

java -jar SLorpedo.jar -key=<channelkey> [-b] [-port=<tuioport>]

The game is played entirely with the reacTIVision fiducials:

  • The piece numbered ‘0’ starts a new game.
  • Number ‘4′ is used to fire the torpedoes.
  • Odd pieces appear as blue subs and even pieces are yellow subs.
  • Numbers under 30 are small subs and over 30 are big subs.

Let me know if it all goes horribly wrong!

Updated 2 Jan: Borrowed a web cam this evening to have a game using real pieces instead of cheating with the TUIO simulator. A slightly better camera would be nice for a bigger playing area but other than that it worked really well. The game below was a two all draw!

Pocket SLorpedo Pool

Pocket SLorpedo

I’ve been meaning to have another play with SLorpedo since June and have finally had a couple of good chances to get in to Second Life more than 5 minutes at a time for a play. The result is pocket slorpedo:

Pocket SLorpedo

This version is pocket size because it should be easier for anyone to have a go. Instead of relaying data about the subs via a server somewhere, I’m using a Java TUIO client to send info. directly into second life using XML-RPC. In world, you can scale the game to any size, so no need for an entire sim, although it’s a shame not to have mini versions of Chris’s excellent, but quite massive submarine models. (I’ve cheated and used simple icehouse style sub pieces for now, which my minimalist modeling skills suited nicely! Should be easy to replace them with something decent later though!)

Unlike before, the whole game is run from the real world, with the number ‘4’ used to fire the torpedoes and ‘0’ to start a new game. (All other odd pieces appear as blue subs, even pieces are yellow, under 30 are small subs and over 30 are big subs.) Inside second life, you can replay the last game in case anyone walks in front of a torpedo!

I had wanted to rez each sub as it was played but xml-rpc just seems too unreliable for that at the moment. Simple to switch though if things improve. I have a couple more quirks to iron out, like subs firing even if they’ve been hit! Ooops. Still, they all face the right way and shoot in the right direction. I borrowed a webcam for the night to double check things worked with the real reactivision (the TUIO simulator was great for getting started) and looks like I also need another go at ‘placing’ the pieces- I wanted the sub position to be fixed when the piece was first placed, ignoring any sneaky re-adjustments people might be tempted to make! Worked fine with the simulator but all the positions came out as 0,0 with the real images, so for now you can keep moving pieces around before firing. Darn!