MEGA Sport Training, or how to work with deprecated technology and not to die trying. (Part 2)
January 20, 2020
We continue with the second part of MEGA Sport Training, or how to work with deprecated technology and not to die trying!
We shutted down all types of external connections (IP’s, access, DNS, ports…) to the platforms of updates of Windows 10. We had to implement the manual deactivation of the services that implies this functionality, but keeping the connectivity with the servers of the museum and email systems, used by the APP for sending fidelization mails to the users.
All this happened without even starting to prototype. The programmers gave their all to meet deadlines and not burn more computers. As we said before, the pure development phase wasn’t complicated, although there were some contusions (especially at the time of trying the basketball game in a low ceiling).
The biggest problem at this stage was getting Kinect to behave as we needed. Some of the gestures included in the framework were not precise, so that practically any movement made them jump... and sometimes vice versa, they were so specific that they had to be produced perfectly to execute. The capture of direct movement was not very predictable and the character adopted unnatural postures that affected the play flow. That is why the game focused on capturing specific movements (without a clinical accuracy needed) and recreate animations ready to simulate the moves of the user, but inside of a specific flow.
Another problem we had is that Kinect sometimes turned off without warning, even in full execution. The problem was that even with the right version of Windows, there was no 100% compatibility with the computer and there were also problems with power management. To solve it, we had to put the levels of low consume energy of resources (although it wasn’t what our logic invited us to think).
Even though it was getting better, the problem persisted and the Kinect that was in the museum started to fail too. This time it was harder to find a solution. Also, at this moment, both devices were needed in the museum, so we had to call all the Cash Converters of Madrid and burn up Wallapop to get a Kinect in a record time. Everybody was surprised that we didn't want the Xbox, but only the camera that they never used. The managers at the museum did something similar because it was possible that over time they could need some spares.
After heavy rehearsing, we discovered that the guilty was the charger. The official one! The one that comes with Kinect. For some reason, the charger was causing voltage dip sometimes. The solution was switching the chargers of the Kinect for other ones that had a bigger operating current, and better USB 3.0 wires that had better connectors that didn’t do a false contact.
From then on there were other problems, but so much manageable. For example, because of the size, Kinect didn't see the kids very well, so we spent one afternoon walking on our knees (imagine the scene, a 46 years old and 105 kg gentlemen running on his knees along the museum) to squarins the heights correctly.
Basically, we needed Kinect to get the minimum space that an adult and a kid could take to avoid that the camera worked with other visitors that were simply walking around.
The last problem was the emails and the connection with the RIF purses that we were using for the ID of the visitors. It was curious because apparently it was an error of connection from the servers. Finally we detected that it was a problem of identification of the ports that were working for the services.
To finish in style, when everything seemed alright… it simply ceased to work. But it was working great at the office! After some panic attacks, a cardiac arrest and the inauguration in three days, we discovered that the final compilation mode (optimized) was losing libraries and we had to manually install them in the device.
Despite all this, the game was ready for the opening of the museum and now it can be enjoyed without a problem. We wish that we were on the level of the brand Estrella Galicia and all the teams that they sponsor.
We also hope to not work with Kinect v2 anymore.
The inauguration of the MEGA Estrella Galicia museum took place on 19 June 2019 and is open to the public. MEGA Sport Training is part of the permanent exhibition.
About Flying Beast Labs:
Flying Beast Labs was born as a division specialized on video games and APPs of its parent company Cateffects, that has more than 20 years of experience in IT development. In addition to its new projects, they have products, motors and technology deriving from prior development under other brands.
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