LilyPong

Reimagining the classic Pong game using tangible interactions and full-body movement

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Concept

LilyPong is an implementation of the Pong game in Processing for a large display or projection. In this prototype, the difficulty is tailored to cater to young children. A pressure-sensitive mat acts as the control interface, and updates the game based on movement across it.

In a live setting, this pressure sensitive mat is imagined to cover a large area of the room, thus supporting a variety of movements and even more than two players.

Sketches illustrating the setup in a live environment

Sketches illustrating the setup in a live environment

Games and Body-based Interaction

Body movement is increasingly used as an interaction modality resulting in games where players are more engaged and social. However, striving for precision in movement can adversely affect the experience. In fact, it is fun to perform silly gestures in front of other players that the movement tracking software can safely ignore. Children can make exaggerated gestures to opponents and spectators as they play the game.

It was also important to me that the game be easily translated to a variety of settings. For example, there are requirements that are imposed on a physical space in order for a Kinect or Wii U to perform optimally. I wanted to avoid this altogether.

Design Principles

Connect the player to the physical space

The physical space strongly signifies the limits of the game and the possibilities within. The mat is the physical space. The game emphasises skill and complexity in movement, which can be further encouraged by increasing the difficulty level such as the speed of the ball.

Materiality & Meaning

By using a physical mat as an tangible interface for the game, the game is more transparent for children. These material queues can be very useful for guiding them through playing the game, because material qualities such as texture and tactile feel can aid recall and create understanding. This is also why the final version of the interface mirrors the game canvas closely.

 
LilyPong start screen

LilyPong start screen

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Navigation

The game consists of 3 screens, which can be traversed by movement on the mat.

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The mat

This diagram shows a preliminary sketch of the various compoenents that were sewn on the mat.

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Prototyping

Each component of the circuit was tested separately before being sewn on to the mat. This was a rather common sight.