Infos - PixelSports: 100m



What Is It?
The PixelSports 100m is a simple videogame running race. It is controlled by a bank of two-to-six Playstation2 dancepads linked to a PC. Players stand on two adjacent dancepad buttons and, when the race is started, run as fast as they can to get their player-sprite to the finishline before their opponents. The game was originally designed as part of the "Two Big Screens" project at GameCity8, and is ideally played on a large double-width screen or projected display. The PixelSports 100m is part of a set of seven PixelSports games, all featuring dancepad control, but is arguably the best and most successful of the current generation of prototypes.


How Many Players?
100m Running: 2 - 6 Players


Who Else Is Involved?
Concept by Iain Simons, and James Newman did the sounds. GameCity generally supported everything and helped make things happen.


What Does It Look Like?

Here are some screenshots:




Is There A Video?
Yes! Here are some clips from GameCity8 (feat. Zach Ryall as the never-tiring compere!):








How Does It Work?
The game uses a GlovePIE script to act as an interface between the dancepads - seen as joysticks in Windows - and the game executable made in GameMaker Studio. When a player presses X and then UP (which are adjacent on the dancepad), GlovePIE emulates a keypress. For each keypress, the game moves the player-sprite forwards one unit.


How It Challenges Traditional Form Of Input
Traditional forms of videogame input - gamepads, keyboards and mice - often hide the control mechanism from anyone watching the gameplay. Buttons and keys are often hidden by players' hands. Not knowing *how* the player is interacting with the game can result in an incomplete experience for spectators, particularly if they are non-gamers. This is challenged by scaling things up a bit. The large, life-size scale of the game, the large size of the buttons, and the use of a natural interaction -running on the spot- makes the mechanism of play more visible and understandable to spectators. This helps to complete the experience of watching the game and helps spectators to get more enjoyment from the game than they otherwise might. This 'watchability' also makes it a very easy game to play - prospective players can learn to play in less than a minute, making it a 'pick-up-and-play' type of game. Although in this case it's actually 'step up and run'.


How It Enhances The Gaming Experience
The gaming experience for the player is enhanced as they can learn to play almost immediately, and they get lots of free endorphins just for playing. The gaming experience for the spectator is enhanced as they can also learn how the game is played very easily. The fast nature of a 100m running race means that spectators can get enjoyment from watching for just a couple of minutes and guessing who will win, and then go on to be players just a couple of minutes later.


What Equipment Does It Use?
- Playstation/Playstation2 compatible dancepads (2 - 6 depending on available space) (cheaper than USB dancepads)
- Playstation/Playstation2 - to - USB converter for each dancepad
- Windows PC (with two display ports if using two adjacent displays in place of one long display)
- Some combination of active USB cables and USB phone chargers or fully-powered USB hub(s) (depending on distance from PC)
- Cable ramps for trailing wires? (depends on the scale of the installation and the USB setup)
- A large display or a digital projector
- Something to project onto if using a projector (a wall!)
- lots of tape to stick the dancepads to the floor


Dimensions Of The Peripherals/Display/Setup

The game was played at GameCity8 on an 11m wide x 3m high screen(!), which required the players to be approx. 10m from the screen.

*However* the distance from the dancepads to the display for more sensible installation scenarios would be less than this - probably about 2m minimum, depending on the size of the display.

For two dancepads, the floor area they take up is approx 1.9m x 1.6m. For four dancepads, the floor area they take up is approx 5.5m x 1.6m. For six dancepads, the floor area they take up is approx 8.1m x 1.6m.

Adding on 2m distance from the display means *total* minimum installation size of 1.9m x 3.6m (for two players), 5.5m x 3.6m (four players) or 8.1m x 3.6m (six players).


Anything Else?
Any questions please ask!