About the Planet Lab

At the far end of the Playroom Paramos you will find the control room for the Planet lab. The target group for the Planet lab is mainly for slightly older children, between the ages of 6-12, but the game is fun for both young children and adults as well. In the Planet lab, you manipulate and create a planet through the control panel’s four touch screen stations. A visitor creates new natural materials through exploration and by experimenting with the various elements. The created materials can then be launched onto Paramos. Some examples of natural materials and objects you can create are trees, volcanoes, water, wind, mountains, etc. 

The goal of the game is to achieve harmony on the planet Paramos. This is done by creating and submitting the various natural materials to the planet until it is in balance. Achieving harmony requires cooperation and finesse, but achieving harmony is not the most important thing in the game. Just seeing how the planet changes when you create the various forces of nature is an experience in itself. For example, you can see the planet being dried out, freezing to the ice ages, getting flooded and more. When the planet gets into harmony, it becomes habitable and small cities start to rise around the planet. The Planet Lab has been a very big project and we are very proud of the end result!

Iterative process


The development of the Planet lab has been a long and iterative process, where ideas have been created and reworked many times. In order to get a good picture of what the Planet lab would look like during the development phase, we built our own planet lab in the office. With this, we were able to test and evaluate various design choices, create prototypes and rework the planet and the control screens until we got the product to what it eventually became.


Hardware


In the planet lab, four 22-inch touch screens from Elo-touch are used to interact with the game. The elemental forces created with help from the control screens are then thrown by the user to the planet projected on the wall in front of them. The projector used is a Panasonic laser projector. Five different computers communicate with each other in the solution, one to each control screen and one connected to the planet that is projected on to the wall.


Dynamic LED-lights


Connected with each control panel, there are three LED strips and two LED circles that illuminate, spin and animate depending on what a user is doing on the touch screen. Each natural force has its own color which is reflected in the various LED lights. When a user pushes away a natural force to the planet, the LED lists are animated forward as a tool for the user to lift their gaze and see how the planet changes depending on what they have sent away.


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Alien planet


The game takes place on a planet somewhere in space where physics and the laws of nature do not function as on earth. Thus, the planet can end up in harmony both when it is very cold, very hot or in a balanced temperature. Depending on the temperature on the planet, different types of civilizations rises up.


Harmony level


On the control screens, users can see how balanced the various elements are on the planet and how the force created by them will affect the planet. This is illustrated with the help of 4 different element bars that changes in size depending on which elements are beeing combined and sent away. When all four bars get to the middle, the planet ends up in harmony. The planet also has a harmony meter that glows pink when Paramos ends up in harmony, the harmony mode is also reflected on the planet projected on the wall through a magical pink light-effect that glows around the planet.


Sound

The control screens has built-in sound and gives feedback to the user in the form of different audio signals depending on what a user does on the screen. This creates a much more immersive experience than if the control panels had been completely silent. There are also sounds connected to the planet itself. When it is not in harmony, a dark and hazy space noise is heard. When the planet then comes into harmony, happy and harmonic music is played.

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