Director // Computer Scientist
Live Performance Technology

Legends of the Hidden Temple Game

The lights shining in your eyes. Music pulsing through the stadium. A crowd of thousands watching your every move. Have you ever wondered how you would fair on a gameshow?

This installation game was developed to give Carnegie Mellon University Carnival attendees just that experience. As part of a booth based around the 90s television show Legends of the Hidden Temple, this game utilized programatically controlled DMX lighting, real time video editing and an etherenet controlled power strip to give players the experienec of being on a gameshow.

Game Design

Since the primary goal of the project was to provide an experience of the disorientating environment and pressure of a game show, making simple tasks difficult to complete, a coordination challenge provided the central game mechanic. A three sided box provided the field of play, and six large red buttons, a staple of the TV show, were built into the walls. Next to each button is an indicator light, set behind the carved emblem of a team from the show.

As a warm up for the player the first 5 points are earned by simply pressing the coresponding button each time an indicator light turns on. Then the coordination challenge begins, with two indicator lights turning on at once. Since buttons are located 270 degrees around the player, the result was a continuously evolving series of body contortions. The experience lay somewhere between Twister and rock climbing.

In addition to the standard game mode, there was also a version of the game specially tailored for children. It utilized only the three lowest indicator lights and never advanced to the coordination challenge to accomodate shorter armspans.

Installation Design

The two side walls were designed to provide sensory experiences for players searching for buttons outside their field of view. The left wall featured a moss covering that players hands would slide across, while the right wall featured hanging vines that would have to be moved through and brushed aside. The central golden wall features tracings of Aztec symbols, renderings of previous booths, and edge traced photos of individuals involved in the booth.

The installation was built inside a standalone frame of 2x4s. This allowed it to be fully constructed and tested offsite, and then installed in the final location during the short on-site window. Each wall had 8 panels that spanned the 2x4s, allowing easy access to technical components in the event of hardware malfunction. The team symbols were cut out with a laser cutter, and backed with milk carton plastic to diffuse the team colored indicator lights they hid.

Techinical Infrastructure

The installation utilized the following pieces of hardware:
- Raspberry Pi
- 3 Ethernet cables
- Ethernet splitter
- 8 LED DMX Lights
- USB to DMX
- DMX cabling
- 3 Webcams
- USB Extenders
- Ethernet controlled Power Strip
- Speakers
- Additional wiring, GPIO female headers and powerstrips

And the following software:
- QLC+
- Max 7

Two computers handled all of the automation of the game: a Raspberry pi which handled interactions with physical hardware, and a windows server which used its more substantial processor to handle media assets. The two machines were networked together using ethernet and OSC.

The Raspberry Pi utilized its GPIO pins to listen for the users physical button pressess. It communicated these button presses to the windows server, and then issued curl requests to the ethernet controlled power strip in order to turn the convential colored lightbulbs behind the team emblems on and off.

The windows server, running Max 7, had three media outputs: audio, DMX lighting and realtime video. In addition to the main audio track which served as the game’s timekeeping mechanism, voice over cues were triggered every 5 points to let the player know how they were doing. The DMX lighting cues were programmed using QLC+, but triggerd using OSC messages sent from Max 7 timed with the audio. Live video was captured by three cameras placed throughout the installation, and then edited together by Max in real time. In addition to switching video feeds, the output video had assets from the original television show (which had been scraped off of youtube and then re-constructed from component parts in photoshop) overlayed in real time, displaying the player’s current score and remaining time. The game also featured a persistent high score, and in between matches a looping menu screen displayed the alltime high score and the score of the most recent game.

The full source code is available on Github

360 Experience

Do you wish you could have experienced the installation first hand? Check out the 360 Experience:

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