Brief / Concept
For this workshop we only had two restraints, build a playful installation and use a picoboard (piece of hardware called a sensor board that can be programmed to react and respond to events happening outside of the computer). The project had to be programmed using Processing for the visual and PureData for the sound design. Otherwise we were free to do whatever we wanted.
Planck is an interactive playful sandbox type installation in which the user influence the gravity on a given playground. He can control the direction and speed of the particules by pressing 4 force sensors arranged in a cross shape on the controller. The particules are different in term of size and density and evolve on the playground according to their properties, they can bounce of obstacles or between them. The user can regulate the number of particules on the screen by adjusting the slider on the controller and make some disappear by throwing them in the “black hole” block (The triangle shaped block on the left lower side of the screen).
First of all, it is important to precise the fact that playful in its definition is related to games. By definition a game is an “activity which aim is to pass time in a pleasant manner”. We took this definition to the letter and designed Planck as a pleasant experience and not the satisfaction to accomplish an imposed goal. It’s designed the same way as “satisfying” objects such as hand spinners or kinetic sand. The user will discover the playground and the interactions bit by bit as he play along. The playground is unique, but the user can modulate it as he desire by moving the blocks with the mouse.
The name has been chosen in reference of the physicist Max Planck, considered as the father of quantum physics. The design of the playground is flat (2D) et the colors are simple and soothing. The overall perception is quite calming and even a bit mesmerizing.
The playground is inspired by artwork such as “Self portrait” by Kasimir Malevitch.
To simplify the use of the game and keep a pure identity, we created a controller that suits the different elements necessary to use Planck. The controller has been made in wood. It’s simple, ergonomic and allows the user to understand what button do what interaction. The controller is an important part of the Planck project, the signage system has been designed with Helvetica which features the same merit as Planck : simplicity and efficiency.
Nantes Maker Campus2018
Planck has been chosen among the work of other students to represent our school at the Nantes Maker Campus festival in my hometown Nantes. The project has been exhibited for 4 days, we had the chance to present our work to the visitors of the festival. It has been tested by over a hundred people aged 4 to 82 years old, the children loved it.
In the end this was a great experience. The fact that it was created in 4 days by the 3 of us in a little room without windows (usually for green screen production) drove us a little bit crazy. We didn’t have the time to overthink, we just had to keep on going and in my opinion it’s also why the project turned out great. The fact that our project was chosen among all the others to be exhibited is the great bonus, it was my first exhibited project and it was an amazing experience.