MEGA Sport Training is a game created by Flying Beast Labs as part of the musealization project MEGA MEGA (Mundo Estrella Galicia) in the city of A Coruña. It has a collection of sports minigames (basketball, football, hockey and rugby) and it’s based on the Kinect platform, so the the visitors play with their own bodies. After each session, the scores of the players and a photograph of them taken in real time will be sent to their email as a trading card using the pulseras NFC’s purse technology and the network of the museum. The game was made taking into consideration the characteristics of the museum and the infrastructure of its project, as well as the branding of the client.

 

The main complexity of the MEGA Sport Training project MEGA Sport Training was the conditions of the museum’s environment. The design, the art, or the mechanical programming weren’t a problem. Even less the sound, which was reduced to the minimum to not disturb the exposition in which the game was included. In this regard, the development went smoothly.

 

However, for reasons of compatibility and homogenization of the hardware platform of the museum, we had to limited it to a very specific hardware:
    • Screen: Samsung mod DB 55 E. HD 1.920 x 1.080 (16:9). Orientation: Vertical
    • Microsoft Kinect 2: (the original version of the Xbox One). Ideal for interactions in public spaces, because the interaction is based on the movement of the human body. It allows relatively difficult behaviours with a very intuitive control, and doesn´t force the user to hold anything.

 

  • Ordenador Intel Nuc (2016)
    • CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-6770HQ processor Quad Core, 6 MB Cache, 45W.
    • RAM: Dual channel DDR4-2133+ SODIMMs 1.2/1.35V, 32GB maximum.
    • GPU: Intel® Iris™ Pro Graphics 580. 1x HDMI* 2.0 (4K 60Hz). 1x Mini DisplayPort* 1.2 (4K 60 Hz). 1x DisplayPort* 1.2 via Type-C.
    • Audio: Up to 7.1 multichannel digital audio via HDMI or DisplayPort signals.
    • Software OS: Windows 10.

 

This is when the problems began. Starting from the end, the computer had some technical limitations that had to be dealt with, especially when we talk about a hardware from 2016 and peripherals from 2014. It was necessary to control the elements on screen and, also, we had to optimize the code to, although the camera filters, particles and other effects, the game could run fluidly.

 

The biggest problem, nevertheless, was Kinect. The root of all evil, as the yanquis says. Kinect was deprecated definitely in 2018, although it wasn't being fabricated since October of 2017, and the latest version wasn't compatible with Windows 10 since certain revision. This not only meant that we were facing a proyect with no kind of support from the peripherals's principal maker, but also its biggest problem in compatibility terms was their own through the obligatory actualizations of Windows 10

 

And if it wasn't nothing in the actuality doesn't exist any framework that works as a link between the machine and the latest versions of Unity! Because of that, we were against the decision of creating our own framework or look for another one from a third person. Finally we decided to use a free set from a particular that left us give more fluidness to the gestures, although that during the development we had to reprogram some funcionalities that won't adapt 100% to the needs of our product.

 

This would have not be the last surprise we will found. The first days of tryouts with the hardware, two laptops we used in the office to test were literally burned by Kinect. The USB 3.0 that made the Kinect work didn't have support for newest versions of the chips of 2016 and was giving problems of funcionality with the USB 2.0 from the electric view. (long history short, it burned them)  Just at the beggining, the proyect was two motherboards less profitables than we thougt.

 

 

Once we determined the computers which we were going to work with (two weeks in which we had the luck of having a pair of PC's of that generation, and that the nice people of Estrella
Galicia lend us one of the terminals of the museum), came the next surprise.

 

Directly from Microsoft.

 

One of our computers updated itself to the 1809 version of Windows 10, and it made that Kinect directly stop working. As we could see, the changes made in that version implied the deprecation of the drivers and libraries who give support to Kinect 2.

 

Obviously, we reverted to the older version and deactivated the Windows Update of Windows 10. After all, the computer of a museum can be outdated, because its use is very
specific. The next day, as if by magic, our computer was actualized again. It seems that Windows Update reactivates automatically whenever it decides it.

 

So we had to improvise…

Stay tuned for the second part!