Good news folks! It works! At least in a basic version. I am able to teleportal both the live video feeds and the tracker data to both boxes. For a while yesterday I was playing with only having the trackers teleportaled with live audio instead of the video since I was having issues before. So I set up a skype account for each box and moved one box to the other side of the room and had some people test it with me. And while I was at it I set up twitter accounts too (@portalleft and @portalright) because every networked thing needs a twitter account, right? Not sure what I’ll do with the twitter accounts yet but you can follow them if you want. CamTwist has a little built in effect to pull in twitter streams so perhaps I’ll let people tweet to them.
Luckily, Bora, Matt, and Sal all talked me out of foregoing the video, because the live feed is sort of what makes it kind of special. So I went back to trying to make it work as planned. I hooked up one box to one of the studio iMacs and was able to get it working on one side, which was a huge relief. (An few interesting things I’ve noticed after seeing a few people play with it: People tend to like stacking/combining things from the two feeds. People also like to make voice-like noises while playing with the objects.)
At least I knew it was possible, and just a hardware issue. For a while though I was worried I would need to use 2 iMacs (which i dont have). But then I went back to the laptops, tweaked some settings, and moved them off the top of the boxes to the aluminum table. I’m not sure what made a bigger difference (settings or location) but since it works I’ll keep doing it like that. Elise had suggested putting the laptops on ice or something the other day, which at the time i thought was just kind of funny but I guess it would actually make a difference. I guess sometimes I forget that computers aren’t magic but are in fact just a pile of physical components that are affected by the physical world like any other real world thing.
So yes. Huge relief it works. Though you’ll notice in the video the tracker graphics move in real time while the video feed is delayed. This is because the feed is via the internets while the tracking data is being transfered via the local wifi. I’m sure there’s a way to make it more in synch But I’m actually ok with this lag and sort of like it.
And now to move on to more content related things for a while I think, mainly defining the objects and the animations to go with them. Although I also need to figure out a better mounting system for the cameras as the velcro is starting to fail me. I would also like to try and make both camera set ups as identical as possible. I’m thinking about taking the cases off the cameras so i can also get the lenses as close to each other as possible to reduce the perspective shift between boxes. Hopefully I don’t break them in the process.