Initial Project Pitch:
For my Global Perspective project, I really enjoyed games systems within improvised music, so for my final project I aim to develop a improvised battle system, where two people can create music together using gaming controllers. The idea of the project is to put you into gaming mindset, whilst also still creating music. I think the project will also benefit and allow gamers who aren’t necessarily musicians to be able to create music.
I plan to develop a MAXMSP patch to be able to convert a Xbox 360 games controller into a midi device. I am hoping to get the most out of controller as possible by utilizing as many buttons possible, to give the player a greater amount of sounds and possibilities.
I hoping to create a system that is easy enough for people to simply pick up and play and allows for quick fun improvisation games.
Within in another module this year, I had already began working on developing a MAXMSP patch converting game controllers into a midi devices. So by simply expanding upon that development, I was successfully able to get a fully functional patch.
This is a few images of my patch in several stages of the development:
After I was happy that I got the controllers working correctly and that I had thoroughly tested them out several times, I then started to midi map within ableton. I colour coded the samples I used in correlation with the colours of the controller.
Ableton Colour Code
I used start and back button on the controller to trigger percussion and the Y, B, A and X buttons to trigger samples and sounds. I also midi mapped the right (RB) and Left (LB) trigger buttons for one to allow me to loop any of the samples or sounds and the other to bypass or turn on distortion. I mapped the analogue sticks for one of them to change pitch/transpose and for the other to control the amount of distortion. I repeated this process for the second controller, I knew it be important to keep the controls and functions the same for each controller.
Upon development, I decided for one of the controllers to trigger bassier sounds than the other. So, I selected higher pitch sounds for the other. After I found a various of sounds for each the controllers, I then past it onto a friend to test out, before finally testing with the class. The feedback I got back from trial runs, from both a friend and the class was along the same lines, of which they both agreed it would work a lot better if the controls diagram were left on the screen to refer to at all times. So, I took this feedback on board and decided to give and put the control diagram on the screen for my final performance.
Another thing I took into account in the test runs were that improvisation can go on a long time so, I decided in keeping with the theme of making it a games system, I took several space style videos and cut them all down to 2 minutes in length creating levels. In my final performance players can now choose from 5 selectable levels to improvise to. I felt by giving a time restriction not only allowed for a game style challenge, but for players to think on their feet. The time restriction also allowed for more people to get involved.
Once doing several trial runs, I decided to also pan the output sounds of each of the controllers, creating left verses right. This would make it clearer for not only the players to be more aware of what their individually creating, but also for views to hear the difference between what the two players are doing.
v-Games Controller Video Development Diary-v
(The Testing Process)
For my set-up, I plan to have two laptops, set out being one on the left and the other on the right. This would correlate with the panned controllers. (Being left on the left right on the right) The two laptops will be displaying a still image of the controls to the game. In-between the two laptops I also plan to use a projector to project the selected levels. The two minute video will hopefully put the two players into a certain mindset/zone.
Overall I am rather happy with the outcome of my project, I feel I achieved what I set out too and it naturally developed quite steadily, which brought it all together slowly. I feel I created a rather simple straightforward improvised game system, which is a nice middle ground between being a video game and creating music. If I were to do it again, I think Id give more of an explanation and maybe a demonstration on the day of the game system, for people to get a better idea of what they were doing. I would also tighten up the video/levels by adding the timer on screen and clear ending of the video, so people knew when the round was over. If I were to take this project further I would spend time tightening the project up and making those few changes I mentioned.