This is a lecture I gave in 2008 for the Motion Graphics Festival at Columbia College in Chicago about game controller hacking and application development. I talked about theories and strategies on building interface and UI design, using the Isadora programming environment, and gave some demos on rolling your own midi drivers for game hardware.

Motion controls (x, y, and z axis) control crossfade and FX parameters, the face buttons toggle play/pause and select video clips from the video library. It was programmed in Isadora, a module-based programming environment similar to MaxMSP. I used a Dell Inspiron 8100 with a gig of ram running Win XP, some kinda ATI video card that has disappointed me in the past, and a 2.4 MHZ processor.

The thing that was tricky about designing this interface was that I had a bunch of non-intuitive functions that I needed to map to buttons (and motions!) on the wiimote. I decided to keep the motion controls as simple and obvious as possible– waving the wiimote around would either crossfade,”scrub” the timeline, or change FX– so users could see right away what was going on, and feel like their actions had an effect.

The reason I used the face buttons for configuration settings was that a user that was unfamiliar with the device could get feedback right away when picking up the wiimote, and if they were inclined to investigate the interface further they would get deeper into the button functions. There was also on-screen feedback with descriptions of what each button did as it was pressed… but of course nobody reads the instructions.

Interface screen for the Wiimote Video mixer
Installation of Wiimote Video Mixer

After the presentation and the installation demo (it was held at a gallery off Chicago avenue and Division somewhere) myself and some friends from Chicago went out for some drinks… after all, what’s academia without liquor?

This is me with my buddy Patty Garza st the installation– not sure why I look so frowny, maybe I need a drink?
This is my good friend Tom Waters at Tooman’s Alcohol Abuse Center– he’s making sure there’s whiskey in his shot. Don’t worry, Tom– it IS whiskey!