As the centerpiece for the recently remodelled electricity exhibit, the Consumption Game that we built for Science world commands attention. The goal of the game is to save electricity by turning off appliances as they display on the screens. It’s a race against time as players run around the exhibit, hitting the buttons below each display to deactivate the appliance. Meanwhile the LED tube displays remaining electricity, and the screens on the central column display remaining electricity and elapsed time.
This exhibit blends standard hands on game play with a digital component that allows for the game to be adjusted and updated with simple software changes. The software and media driven interface will allow us the ability to create a completely different game in the future, with minimal hardware changes.
The game was written using the Processing framework for Java. The exhibit uses a number of custom interface elements, including 14 Digitalview media players controlled by RS-232, 15 practically indestructible buttons to start the game and “turn off” appliances, and a custom acrylic LED column with 5 channels of RGB LEDs, all controlled by a Mac mini. Additionally, the unit can re controlled remotely and all system variables and timers can be configured over a web interface.