Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity
Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity

Prototyping Heartree using the Arduino and getting that to work with Unity. The previous proof of concept using the Makey Makey didn't allow me to interact with LED lights in a simple and direct way (it required an extra, roundabout circuit that would be too cumbersome for the user experience), and also provided inconsistent results if my hand was too dry or cold. Therefore, after consultation with Chris and Max, I've decided to move on from the Makey Makey and try my hand at using the Arduino Uno with Unity.

It was my first time using the Arduino in a project, so I was learning on the go. Ran into a few technical issues, including:

  • Overload of information communicated through the serial port between the Arduino and Unity. This issue popped up once I tried activating six rope soundscapes. Therefore, I had to switch to five soundscapes for this video in order to bypass the error. (EDIT: Managed to sort out the issue by upping the baud rate from 9600 to 57600)
  • The audio glitching when the Tree Whispers soundscape is added as a default soundscape that plays when nothing is touched. (EDIT: Managed to fix this too by creating an entirely new script just for Tree Whispers, and adding a check !isTreeWhispersPlaying condition before playing the soundscape, so the audio doesn't repeatedly overlap itself on every frame - a silly error on my part!)

Currently I'm just using draft soundscapes from my sound designer (still to be finalised):

  • Tree Whispers - whispery sounds when nothing is touched. To get people's attention and draw people closer to interact with the tree.
  • The Land Before - main soundscape that plays when players touch the tree trunk to feel its "heartbeat". Inspired by the natural landscape of Brunswick and the Woiwurrung's religious relationship with the land.

    (the following soundscapes play when the player touches threads hanging from the tree branches)
  • Creeks & Birdsong - sounds of the creeks that run through Brunswick (Merri Creek and Moonee Ponds Creek) as well as sounds of native birds from the area
  • Winds - Brunswick is also known to be "a very windy country" when it was in its most natural state
  • Flooding - Thunderstorms and heavy rain to signal the flooding of the Brunswick plains
  • Fire & Rebirth - controlled bushfires that help with the rebirth of the land, in particular the wildflowers of Brunswick
  • Hunting - Brunswick's original landscape provided an important source of food and water for the Aboriginal clans who hunted in the area