Interactive installation created for Art & Technology Minor summer 2014 at Academie Minerva Groningen. Four strangers enter the arena and have to cooperate in order to progress.
Panopticon was made by our interdisciplinary study group consisting of nine students. It was presented at Night of Art & Science on May 24, 2014 at the Vismarkt square in Groningen, Netherlands.
The concept is simple: from each of four entrances, one person enters the arena. This is to ensure that people do not know each other. There are boxes in the arena and they have lights in them. In order to complete a round, players have to connect all lit up boxes to the tower using their skin.
The game has many rounds grouped together into several stages. Each stage brings a new gameplay mechanic to the table. First stage contains just one lit up box at the time. First object is close to the tower so that one person can connect it easily by spreading their hands. Next rounds have objects further away from the tower, forcing players to cooperate and teching them to create chains.
The second stage is about sequences. After connecting one object, another one lights up and has to be connected to the tower along the first one. This is de facto a step by step guide how to connect more boxes to the tower. Players learn that all the lit up boxes have to be connected at the same time and that it's possible to make branches.
The third stage includes all mechanics from the previous two stags, but does not provide step by step connecting. Instead, two or more boxes are lit up at the beginning and the players have to figure out a way to connect them all at the same time to the tower. They have to use chains and branching they learned in previous stages to achive their goal.
There were three more stages similar to the previous ones, but with a time limit for every round. Most of the groups didn't get this far, each group could be inside only four to five minutes so other people get a chance to play too. When the time for the group ran out, group exited through the only exit and new group was gathered inside.
The common challenge brought the people together to work as a team. It was interesting to see that people who didn't know each other five minutes ago were acting as an estabilished group when they were leaving the arena.
The whole installation was running on two Arduinos. One was registering the touches and the other one was running the logic, controlling all the lights directly through DMX and sending event data over the wifi to a nearby computer to be logged by Processing sketch. We also had an Android app made in Processing which could control the installation remotely over the wifi.
Connections between boxes and the tower were detected with simple voltage dividers. The tower was connected to the ground and each box was connected to an input pin and +5 V pin. When a connection between a box and the tower was made, the Arduino could detect it as a change in voltage on one of the input pins.