AR Sandbox mostly complete! Few questions left.

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This topic contains 44 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  BillHitchens 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #101381

    INTPTT
    Participant

    Thank you everyone for your assistance with the build and the few questions we had thus far. It’s fully functional and we had a great opening day. Lots of very excited kids and impressed adults. The permanent installation will remain active and available at the Children’s Museum of Skagit County (website and Facebook). I’ll post some pics / vids soon.

    We have a few things left we are hoping to do with it – two of which I was hoping someone could assist, or lead us in the right direction. We’re going to be adding some nice looking arcade-style buttons to manage the basics:

    1. Switch to lava
    2. Switch to water
    3. Dry / Drought / Evaporate
    4. Flood / Rain / Apocalypse (if lava!)

    Those 4 buttons are already active and working on the keyboard, which is great. There are 2 more we’d like to make work and that’s where my questions are. =)

    1. Switch to snow / ice
    2. Pause topography (toggle)

    1. Being mountains and all, there were a number of requests to “make it snow”. It seems like this would be possible by changing a shader color of the water… maybe tinkering with the physics a bit. (Is it my imagination or does the lava flow slower?) Either way, I’m curious if there is an easy way to change the water color to white for snow. Also, when it’s on snow, then the “make it rain” button would snow instead.

    2. Since we discovered it’s difficult to easily turn the water on and off on the fly, we opted to pause the topography instead for making landscapes. (We’d dry up everything and also turn off the projector so you could see what you’re doing.) Then we’d have the kids make predictions on what would happen when it floods. (We’d turn the projector back on, flood the map, then unpause the topology.) The map would catch up in seconds and then they could watch the flow and see how their predictions panned out. It works, but requires the mouse – and an adult. With a pause toggle (pause/unpause) button, this could also be done by the kids themselves.

    Has anyone else explored these things or have any insight? Would REALLY appreciate it.

    Some other random thoughts of what would be nifty… we noticed that if you build a high mountain, up to the point of the “rain cloud” minimum height, and change to lava, it looks like a smoldering volcano because it’s constantly “raining” lava at the tip. I saw another video that I think was a heavily modded version of this project that would create lava on any mountain that was built and then had a crater created. (I’m guessing it had to be a certain depth.) It would also explode and flow without changing the topography.

    ::EDIT:: Fixed a small typo.
    ::EDIT2:: Added links to location.

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  INTPTT.
    • This topic was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  INTPTT.
    #101384

    INTPTT
    Participant

    Here’s a couple pictures of the installation. Unfortunately we can’t post any action shots as taking pictures of other people’s kids and posting them online (without consent) is a no-no.

    Sandbox in its new home

    Topology in action

    Volcano mention in last comment

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  INTPTT.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  Oliver Kreylos.
    #101386

    INTPTT
    Participant

    Lastly, we’re looking at having some buttons made by USBButtons.com – anyone have any experience with them, or another favorite place?

    Want them to look fairly nice, be the requested color (red for lava, blue for water, white for snow, etc.) Thinking of this style for the different shaders and this style for the dry/flood/pause in a long box (kind of like this.)

    The children’s museum is in rebuilt phase and only opened yesterday for the Halloween festivities. They are closed another week to finish the remodel. Hoping to have this all wrapped up by then.

    #101387

    cereass
    Participant

    Hy

    I have the same ideal abouth making a buttons for switching from water to lava and drying. I have problem how to make working buttons on keybord to switch to lava ? If you can tell me i will be very happy thanks !

    #101388

    INTPTT
    Participant

    cereass, we have a shell script in ~/src/SARndbox-1.5-001/share/SARndbox-1.5/Shaders called “switch-to-lava.sh” with the contents of:

    cp SurfaceAddWaterColor-Lava.fs SurfaceAddWaterColor.fs

    We also have another one in the same location called “switch-to-water.sh” with the contents of:

    cp SurfaceAddWaterColor-Water.fs SurfaceAddWaterColor.fs

    Then we mapped a keyboard shortcut for each under Preferences. (Currently, F1 is water and F2 is lava.) Sorry, I don’t remember if we had to tweak anything else to make it happy. I know we messed with the Shaders folder quite a bit but don’t remember if any of the changes made it into the final build. Hoping someone else can help out with snow!

    #101389

    INTPTT
    Participant

    So… I’ve been playing around with the shader and decided to tinker with the “Blue” line:

    vec4 waterColor=vec4(0.0,0.0,1.0,1.0); // Blue

    Can anyone help decode the numbers and how they correspond? I discovered changing the first 0 to a 4 gives me pink. =) I’m cool with the texture being smooth… different from the others and could work for snow. I’ll worry about physics later. Anyone have any insight on the numbers? Thank you.

    ::EDIT:: Well, I may have gotten lucky. This seems to make white (thought I’m remoted in and won’t be able to confirm until tomorrow…)

    vec4 waterColor=vec4(2.0,2.0,1.0,1.0); // White

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  INTPTT.
    #101392

    INTPTT
    Participant

    Yep – snow looks great! Still working on the flow (it’s a bit fast, but between water and lava in looks). Very happy with the way it turned out. I’ll post the full code files for easy use when we can get access to the ARSB again. Here’s a quick picture:

    #101393

    billberet
    Participant

    I made a few illuminated buttons, they work great, and the kids love to press them.
    Right now it’s just a separate control box they can hold.
    Now I want to make it flush with the sandbox wall, mounted directly. i’ll just take a quick piece of wood and drill my button holes. now that they work, mounting the buttons is the easy part.

    I have one button for drying the water, another button for turning on/off the ground effect LED’s.
    and one for the illuminated sign I made. I could have done it all with one button but the kids like all the separate buttons to push. I don’t have any for all the features you are looking for, but if they can be mapped to a button, I can’t see why not.

    this is an older pic, I have more buttons on it now, but you get the idea.

    I get all my buttons from adafruit, for little more than $1.50 you can’t go wrong, I got all sizes and colors. I used blue for water, for obvious reasons..

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  billberet.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  billberet.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  billberet.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  billberet.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  billberet.
    #101402

    INTPTT
    Participant

    Thanks billbert. I’ll check out adafruit and see what can be done. Everything works flawlessly on the keyboard except for the pause topography toggle, and that’s not as important. Just though it was nifty and cool. (In reality, it would be good to map something that continuously holds the “drain/dry” key as well as pauses so no accidental liquid comes in when changing things while paused. I think I see another shell script in our future…

    #101403

    billberet
    Participant

    USB buttons are expensive because of the controller board. WAYYYY to expensive in my mind!

    there is a cheap hack you can do, if you can get a hold of some old keyboards.
    take them apart and make your own, costs nothing! that’s what i did. Just find the letter you want to use and touch the wires together, that completes the circuit like hitting the key on the keyboard.
    you can see my terminal window, I’m using the letter D when the wires are touched.
    the button i use is a Momentary pushbutton. You can get a Toggle button as well. this will hold the key press till you hit it again.

    my whole button assembly cost under $10 that includes the box, wiring, etc. and the keyboard controller has 5v already so you can piggy back off the power if you want to illuminate the button.
    I use adafruit for all my gaming rigs i build so external buttons are a must, everything you need is there.

    post some pics when you can, i like your design, has a (bunk bed) look to it.
    i was going to create a cover for mine as well, like a pool table light, that just covers the electronics like an umbrella.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  billberet.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  billberet.
    #101422

    INTPTT
    Participant

    We decided against the USBButtons site. Though pretty, the cost was too high. We started out on the keyboard hacks and got it functional, but then realized we hadn’t checked eBay yet. =D We’re gettign a little hand-held 4-button USB HID controller for under $20. Fully programmable (from Windows only, but once programmed it operates perfectly fine under Linux). Two of them will cover all our needs for the kids. We’re also grabbing some foot pedals to change between the three shaders. (Single unit with three pedals, same programmable HID device, is $25.) Here’s some pics. Crude, but it will get abused by kids.

    ::EDIT:: Here’s a YouTube video we just did to show it in a bit more detail – https://youtu.be/gRO7_gS5Pyo

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  INTPTT.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  Oliver Kreylos.
    #101423

    billberet
    Participant

    good find, for $20 it’s worth it.
    I might get one myself 🙂
    I like the foot pedals, it’s different.

    AND

    GREAT JOB on your video. I like how you have everything suspended on top.
    then you have 360 degrees of fun.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  billberet.
    #101425

    INTPTT
    Participant

    Yeah, hard to beat. Here’s the stuff we looked at…

    6-button
    4-button
    Foot pedals (Plastic)
    Foot pedals (Metal)

    We’ll get more pics and such once the accessories arrive. (For now we just leave it on water – no keyboard or ladder!)

    #101427

    billberet
    Participant

    do you have your box automatically load up on system start? or do you execute your start script manually.
    my final goal is to have my sandbox run like a kiosk.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  billberet.
    #101429

    INTPTT
    Participant

    Yep! Full automated currently. (Thing is fast too. Less than 10 seconds from POST beep to ready to play.) We’re using Linux Mint 17.2 currently. From memory, I think the startup location for scripts is:

    Menu -> System Settings -> Startup & Shutdown -> Autostart -> Add Program -> (type location/script)

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