Create a Game Show Scoreboard & GUI?
Hello all, I'm hoping that someone can help me out or at least lead me in the right direction. The company I work for is being hired on to do the video production for a local casino's game show at their amphitheater. One of the tasks that they would like us to perform is create a digital scoreboard for the game that will be put up on a rear projection screen on the stage.
The concept is simple enough in the fact that there are 5 contestants on stage at any given time. Each contestant has to try to get their prize chip uncovered on the game board to raise their score to a maximum of 5. When one of the chips is picked, a light on the scoreboard will go on to keep track of the score.
Here is where my dilemma lies: I don't really want to make the 125 or so combinations needed to support every possible combination of lights in Photoshop, After Effects, Maya, etc, since the tech that will be doing the video switching and digital titles will also be in control of the scores. I don't want to make him try to search through the files to find the necessary one, pull it up on the secondary screen and try to take care of his other duties as well. Something is bound to go wrong somewhere.
My question to you all is this: Is there a way in Flash, Java, or whatever to create a 2 window system that will have a full screen display window that is controlled by a GUI that will activate the necessary light with a simple button click. It can either be an individual button for each light or one button for each row that will light up the next light in the row.
I made up a quick, generic mockup to give you folks a clue of what I'm talking that can be viewed here:
Some bonus bells and whistles for this that would be desired would A) Have the capability to change The name of the game and the prizes offered, since the casino may have more of these gameshows if the first is successful. B)Have a small animation play when one of the players gets their score up to 5. It would be nice to be able to show the prize flashing, but something as simple as a flashing "WINNER" would be acceptable. This part isn't a necessity, but would be nice, since we wouldn't have to play a separate video that may or may not display properly or fast enough.
The show is going to happen on Sept 6th (we just found out about this on Sat, Aug 14th), so we need to let them know if it is possible to have this. If it's not, then they have to hire someone to physically build it. If there are any other forums that may have the answer, I'd appreciate being pointed in their direction.
Any help is welcome and very much appreciated by our small studio.
This would be not too complicated in Flash, which of course has lots of graphics and programming tools all wrapped up together neatly, though no doubt a skilled Java person would have no difficulty with it either.
In Flash, your scorer will still have to take responsibility. But you could easily build exactly the display you want, with a column for each of your 5 contestants. Each column could have its own movie clip, with 6 frames - 0 1 2 3 4 5 lights on. Overlaid over the whole screen you could have a static frame with buttons (visible or not) on each light. Then your scorer tech would just have to click on the light he wants to come on, and the appropriate movie clip would move to the appropriate frame. You could also set up a "winner" animation and call that to play when any of the columns / contestants reaches the top.
But it sounds like you don't know too much Flash, so you have to ask yourself whether you can take on the learning for this, or will have to hire someone at least to do the Actionscript for you.
Thanks for the response, Mike.
You're correct in assuming that I'm not that familiar with Flash, but we do have a guy here that has done a bit with it (although it's more of the animating things in and out variety). I'm trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible on all of this in order to help get this done.
I'll have to run this by him today to see if it's within his skillset, but if you don't mind, I'd like to pick your brain for just a bit more info. Unfortunately, with you being in the UK, you probably won't see this until your workday tomorrow.
You mention the static frame with the control buttons. Is it possible to have that on the 2nd monitor, with the 1st monitor going to the main screen? Or do the buttons have to stay on the same graphic as the game board? My main concern is that I'd rather not have a mouse pointer move across the screen to click on the buttons, since the audience would see it. I'd prefer to be able to build a GUI that can run the controls from the second screen, but you take what you can get, I suppose. Is it possible to run the Actionscript with keystrokes? For example, press the #1 key and it activates the next frame/sequence for column 1?
Second question involves the animations. Since I haven't worked with Flash in over 6 years, I don't recall if its possible to have multiple actions going on at different times. For example, having chase lights run around the border continuously while still being able to activate the different column animations, and possibly have the column lights pulse a bit.
I'm trying to gather all of the information now, so I can figure out if we can make it, have to hire it out or build another physical part of the set. Do you have any idea of a rate for building this would be?
Some days run over here (you too I guess ...)
Gui on a second screen - you could do that, and have the gui app update a file and the display app regularly check that file (every frame, maybe, or every second) and reload if different). You'd need a computer for the display app and another one for the gui, I guess ... unless you had a multi-screen set-up and only one screen going out to your projector.
But if you go for the simpler single app / computer, you could hide the pointer and make it work. Flash will let you do that - you'd just want some visual feedback so that the operator knows where the invisible pointer is. Perhaps you could subdivide the background into lots of small panels, and have them "light up" in a display as the (invisible) mouse goes over them. That might make a good effect in itself, as well as helping the scorer steer to where s/he wants to go. Then the score could update on mouseclick. Or set the mouse to be invisible when static, but to display a trail of stars or sparks when moving ... that all ought to be possible.
Multiple animations at once - all perfectly normal for Flash.
Or you could set the program to respond to keystrokes - you just have no visible feedback for the operator.
Ok, talked to my coworker that does the Flash work and he said that he could probably do everything that you mentioned. I guess I'll start building the layout in Flash for him and have him do all the animation and ActionScripts. Hopefully we can get it knocked out next week (I don't know how difficult it is, so I can only hope).
I appreciate your help and the wealth of knowledge in your head. If we run into any difficulties, I'll be sure to post about it. in the meantime, I suppose I should break out of my editing/directing/VFX world and learn some Flash and web stuff.