Monday, 22 June 2009

Toy Interface

I added the video to YouTube, but forget to comment on it here. Basically it's very easy to make all sorts of interesting user input devices if you can get hold of a keyboard encoder. A keyboard is in essence a lot of buttons connected to some electronics that communicates to the computer. A keyboard encoder is just a stripped down keyboard, which allows you to add your own buttons.

In the example below I took a childrens toy and wired it up to control the avatar in second life. For example the accelerator pedal is wired up so that when you press it, the encoder tells the computer that the up arrow key was pressed. Very easy.

As a rule of thumb, if the toy makes a noise when you press/turn/squeeze/shake/whatever, then you can use that as an input. Just find the two wires that go to that part, and connect them to your keyboard encoder instead.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Using the Meerkat viewer

Shown above is the Cannons and Castles game, ported from SL to a local OpenSim grid using the new Meerkat viewer (discussed in several places). It's fairly fast and pain free, but doesn't carry over scripts - and may never be able to.

It looks like a great option for people to backup work, create locally and then upload to SL, or to flee the sinking ship (2 years of sinking and still no change in the water line).

Interestingly the data is saved to an xml format, which is likely to lead to an explosion in tools for procedurally generating content, file conversion and import/export plugins. It looks to be a much more elegant solution than current systems.