ABOUT

The SQUIDMULATOR is an interactive game in which the user controls a squid's tentacles using his fingers, through the use of a glove.

This project page will be divided into 4 parts:

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THE GAME

One of the most important environmental issues that few people are well aware of is nuclear testing in the Pacific for the last 30 years.

More specifically the attols of Moruroa and Fangataufa around the French Polynesia. The United States and France have evacuated these lands for atmospheric as well as underground testing, which has caused dramatic environmental repercussions.

Here are some quotes from articles concerning the issue:

"Jacques Cousteau and his team explored damage to the Mururoa atoll for six days in June 1987."

"France's nuclear testing in the South Pacific, especially in Mururoa, has inflicted long-term environmental damage to the geographical structuring of the atoll."

"Several scientists have concluded that previous nuclear testing caused fissuring in by destroying the coral and the altering land plates."

"Radioactive leaks also increase the risks to aquatic life in the surrounding area."

"Furthermore, little plutonium from past tests gets into the food chain because it can inflict harm on human and aquatic life in the future."

This has caught our attention and we decided to create a time-based interactive game in which the player will be controlling a mother squid, racing against a nuclear hazard, to save her kids. On Her way to the atoll, she will come accross mutated fish that the player (the squid) will have to dodge.

Using the glove, the player will mimic the squid's natural tentacle movement with his fingers to swim upward, downward, and forward.

Here is what the glove looks like:


When the game begins, the player will have 10 to 15 seconds before the actual timer starts, so that the user can understand the sensitivity of the sensors and the results of certain hand gestures. The player has to beat the 55 second countdown and reach the baby squids. At the same time, the player will try to avoid collision with the mutated "enemy fish". The mutated fish will be swimming from the right side of the screen towards the left.

During the entire playtime, a current will drag the squid towards nuclear blob/ooze which is placed on the left side of the screen. The player will have to swim forward to avoid colliding with it. Any with the blob or the mutated fish will direct the user to the Game Over scene. The user has to reach the baby squids (coliding with them) in order to win the game.

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ARDUINO

The Arduino code is based on the glove's initial purpose: using finger movement to play different notes based on piano playing. Below you will find the link to the arduino code we used.

Arduino Code

As you can see, the code has notes that plays with the buzzer. We tweaked the code we wrote prior to this project in order to control our Flash elements (especially the squid). Most of the code is based on "if" statements and thresholds for the flexsensors.

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PROCESSING

The processing code we used was taken and tweaked from this site.

Here is the code link

Instead of using the potentiometer as the sensor, we replaced it with the flex sensors. It is just basic analog reading from the serial port.

In order to connect the data that was captured from the flexsensors to flash, we used the Server command. We assigned then a number that is recognized in the action script code as well, using the XML socket. The same port is then entered to capture the data.

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FLASH

Here is the main.as actionscript3.0 file we wrote. link.

And here is the main flash file we worked on. fla file

View the files to see the structure of our game. We divided the game into different scenes (intro / game / game_over / you_win).
The motion of the enemy targets are timeline animated. Certain scenes are triggered by functions that are linked to the collision detection between movie clips.
We set up a timer as a restrictive element to make the game harder and more enjoyable for the user.

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PLAY

This first video explains the different elements work together to form the structure of the game. We give a little more information on the process that took us to this stage.


This video shows how the game is played. Notice the synchronization between the fingers and the squid's movement on the screen.



Try the game yourself, but using the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate the squid.
Note: This is not the game as it is. The player is not using the glove and not getting the full experience. This is for presentation and concept purposes.

PLAY

What we wanted to achieve but especially study, with this project, is intuition. As you have noticed, and as we have explained, we wished for the user to understand the squid's natural movement in its natural habitat: water. What is implied here is that the player must ‘project’ and envision his body, more specifically his hand, as being tentacles and a navigation tool underwater. His first reflexes will be to move his fingers and crunching his hand to swim. However, he will understand that in order to move up and down, he will have to use the fingers that are located on the both ends of his hands - index and pinky.
Remembering the rules of rowing, we know that rowing on the left of the boat will make it turn right, and vice versa. The same concept is applied here: using the bottom finger (index) to move up, the pinky to move down, and finally bending the middle fingers to move forwards. The player, having understood this, is able to initiate his hand and movement to this new feeling and experience. This is how the project strongly relates to the notion of BEYOND THE BODY. Extending the body as a controller, the glove as an ability to affect its relative: the tentacles. But more importantly, the player is exposed to discovery. A discovery of a process, in which the hand imagines itself as navigation. A navigation that is uncommon to it. This leads to a better understanding of what the body can achieve. Even though the link made between the fingers and the rowing concept is very simple, it is still discovered. There is still a learning curve to an end that is delightful: that the body has amazing potential and that exploration has close to no limits.

Special thanks to

David Carroll, Kan yang li, Cameron Browning, for their help and feedback.