Monthly Archives: December 2012

Kinect Party making you dissapear- now that’s magic

The wonderful Happy Action Theatre by Double Fine has been rebranded and given away fro free as Kinect Party. It is a very amusing set of Kinect based toys to play with plus some DLC. It sees you and hears in the room and does all sorts of collision detection games like popping a room full of balloons or Augmented reality things that add hats and gadgets to you as you bounce around your living room.
However hidden away are some really clever techniques. The Kinect is scanning the geometry of the room not just tracking the players. This means balloons bounce off your sofa, or pigeons land on tables.
The really clever bit is when as a player you are replaced. Take a look at this picture
The predlets were both in shot, but they get replaced by skeletons. The Skeletons are thinner and have more transparent bits then their human counterparts. The games using the Kinect manages to rebuild the background live behind them, removing them from the scene completely, then adding in a new character. This is not a stick on AR it is much more clever, or at least appears to be.
In another example both predlets were under water. Predlet 2.0 was dead centre of the picture, grabbed a hook and was pulled upwards on the tv screen to be replaced by an approximation of what was behind him. He is there but invisible.
Shortly afterward predlet1.0 did the same thing and voila… gone (but still in the room looking at the screen). Having obscured her Grandad previously behind her in the picture there he is, as if she was invisible.
The screen is done as an underwater scene so there is lots of wobbling of waves that would counter any odd image artefacts, but this is being done on live video on a free application on a console that is nearing the end of its run.
This puts what I wrote in Flush Magazine about the next gen Kinect and how it may deal with removing people from a scene into more context.
(not only is this game/toy clever it is really funny and a great laugh BTW 🙂 )
I hope this puts into context me spamming Facebook with Kinect Party photos, but I loved it when it was Happy Action Theatre and it has got more clever and engaging (and free).
Merry Christmas one and all, I am off to eat some mince pies.

A white christmas, unique 3d printed snowflake from

I just had a great christmas letter through which seemed a fitting way to blog about this time of year and also cool ideas and technology mixing with art. It was a package from Jim “babbage” Purbrick (@JimPurbrick) and it contained this very intriguing, and ornate 3d printed snowflake pendant/medal/badge.
3d printed snowflake
It was, to quote the letter a unique creation. “It was seeded with your name, address and public data about you from the Internet, grown in a computer simulation and printed out on a 3D printer at Build Brighton”.
Wow! What a wonderful way to commemorate christmas and who we all are individually online right now. We are still unique yet part of a digital snow storm of shared ideas.
If you want to know more head on over to to see a little about this project and sign up for more information. These medals are physical achievement logs of digital activity. Wow! I love tech!!! 🙂
Merry Christmas and happy holidays FTW to everyone from all of us (I mean me) at Feeding Edge Ltd 🙂

Playing with physics and a lot more – Gmod + Kinect

I finally got around to trying GMod (Gary’s Mod). This has been around for a while but is now on Steam for Mac and PC with some interesting new features. A good few years back I remember us sitting in a bunker at Wimbledon in some downtime marvelling at the physics engine demo films for Half Life 2 and the Source Engine. Watching wood catch fire, things rolling around, dropping and floating in a high end game engine. Playing with physics is always fun in code or with a toolkit. At the time there wasn’t a toolkit to build with simply, though along came things like Second Life with some basic physic and lots of multiuser features.
It is a while since I have bothered doing anything with my Desktop windows PC other than get Minecraft going for the predlets. However I ordered a windows based Kinect. Having got the xbox one working on the Mac I wanted to do some development with the official Windows SDK. I only had a Vista machine and it turned out I needed to be windows 7 or above so I took the plunge and upgraded to Windows 8. This was moderately straight forward, apart from having to dismantle the machine to find the serial number on the soundcard to find the right driver. I then got the kinect working, downloaded SDK’s and version of development tools. However it was such a mess getting anything to work I started to lose interest!
How can I use the Kinect? Well a quick google and I found that the Gmod was there on Steam and for £5.99 gave me access to a fantastic building toolkit with all the physics and interesting options of the Source Engine. It also mentioned that it now worked with the Kinect. It also works as a multiplayer network. So this is metaverse territory! 🙂
The palette of things you can rez in Gmod is extensive
Once you rez something like a rusty bath you can spin it around in space with the physics tool.
If you let go it drops to the floor, with a satisfying physics engine bounce and crash.
If you want to put a ragdoll physics scientist in the bath you can do that too.
It is these ragdolls that have an extra context menu on them. If you have a Kinect plugged into your windows machine, and have the right drivers (1.6) then you can then control these ragdoll avatars with your motions. Not only that but you can control more than one at the same time. Lots of scope here for animated dance sequences.
The first time it worked was a magical moment, it blended the initial memories I had of the engine, with the buzz of what we have today to experiment with.
The skeletons of the Source avatars do not seem to be the same resolution as the more detail kinect skeleton so this is not perfect for my Choi Kwang Do attempts to instrument the body, but… they do help try out the kinect. The rest of the things we can build, and that the predlets will build is going to be interesting.
Oh, there is also an amusing “minecraftify” option in Gmod that turns all the textures blocky. So worlds are merging.
I have yet to try using the 360 kinect on the Mac with its version of Gmod but there is certainly a lot of exploring to be done.
Happy Holidays 🙂

Flush Magazine, Holodecks, Kinect patents and geek history

The latest edition of the wonderful Flush magazine has just been published. This issue amongst all the other great content in there I have put forward some views on how close we are to a Holodeck with respect to some inventions we already have and some that may be in the pipeline. So have a read and see what you think. Microsoft kinect and projectors and a little bit of geek history feature.

Or you can just link to here though I do recommend reading the whole magazine!
As usual it looks awesome too. I think it is fasciating the journey an idea takes from words and some image suggestions to a a full layout beautifully presented. Thankyou to @tweetthefashion as usual for doing such a great job putting this all together, and a wave to all my fellow contributors.
The iPad edition will hit the shelves very soon too 🙂
Update: I just realised I am in the same Magazine as an interview with Steve Vai too – RAWK!!!!