Work In Progress Level Editor

We’ve been working away at the software component for our upcoming project, Galaxy Heist The L.E.A.P. Engine, which we’re making in conjunction with Site 3 coLaboratory as part of our Artist Residency. As we’re developing it, we’re using using Max 6 and an Arduino to run our project because we’re most familiar with these interfaces, which allows us to test and develop more quickly. We may change this setup for the final manifestation of the project, but we’re making some serious progress!

The good news: We have a system that we can write our laser patterns on like we would a MIDI song, using Max 6 and an Arduino. This is made possible with Hochschule für Musik Basel’s wonderful external MSP object note~. We can also save levels as text files and simply load in a folder of our levels in development. This is going to be awesome for play testing (which, yes, we will need play testers 😉 ) because we can quickly and easily change the pattern of the fence to test and tweak for ideal play systems. Additionally, we can adjust the tempo for different difficulty levels. For more information, see here.

One issue is that most of the documentation for getting the Arduino to Max 6 is centered around the Arduino Uno. With the amount of digital pins we need to run our project, we had to go with the Arduino Mega 2560, which has 52 digital pins that can be input or output, and 16 analog inputs. We only need the digital because we’re changing our photocells (which are analog inputs) into digital on a hardware level. The good news is that we’ve pretty much figured out how to use the Arduino Mega 2560 with Max by modifying Lasse Vestergaard’s ArduinoMax-InOut-forDummies (which can be found with other Max Arduino methods here). We still have to sort out a couple minor bugs, but it works!

Once our patches are finessed / finished (it may take a while), we’ll be releasing little bits of code so that hopefully it can help others!

Next, we’re going to put our theory into practice – head back to the shop and hook up our lasers to the Arduino. Then we gotta solve the problem of mounting these things and thinking of a robust wiring architecture.

Stay Tuned!

Galaxy Heist WIP Max Patch 01

Screenshot of our work in progress Max patch that will run Galaxy Heist. This patch allows us to write the laser fence patterns with a MIDI Piano roll interface, parse the data, and send it to the digital outs of the Arduino (which is used to control our lasers).

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