Using the ubiquitous Xbox Wireless Controller as an input device for Ensemble is something that appealed to a lot of people at the show. It’s low cost, has lots of different controllers on one device and can be used by people with a wide variety of abilities. Often it’s just a matter of mounting the controller in the right way to allow someone to control a joystick or reach a button. Many young people are also used to playing with the Xbox games console at home, so it prevents a familiar interface that requires little or no training.
In this particular demo we set the Xbox up to control an electric guitar, with associated backing track and visuals. Like any Ensemble theme, it tends to be built-up bit by bit, with different people making suggestions about how to improve on the original idea. None of these themes appear fully formed, so although I’ll take you through each section they won’t necessarily have been put together in this order.
The backing track
This theme makes use of a pre-recorded backing track that’s included in the ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ sounds section of the sound library (shipped with the Designer software). We use the ‘Start’ button on the Xbox controller to start and stop this backing track.
The ‘Switch Processor’ block (labelled above as Toggle) sits between the switch and the ‘Audio Clip’ block (labelled as ‘Backing Track Loop’). This allows us to use one press of the switch to start the sound and a second to stop it. The Audio Clip block should be set to ‘Gate’ mode and ‘Loop’ to Yes; the Switch Processor block should be set to ‘Toggle’ mode.
Effects sounds and lights
To make use of the four coloured buttons (A, B, X and Y) on the controller, we set them up to trigger audio clips and a matching light colour. For the show we used a Showtec Compact Lightset, but the same principal applies to any DMX controlled lighting.
The lights can be assigned up to six different colours using a colour picker. As we are using four switches to trigger the lighting we need to set the block to ‘Direct’ mode. This gives us one port for each colour. This particular block also gives us the option to control each individual spot or the lightset as a whole. In the Jungle Theme we used the spots individually, but for this theme we had all the lights doing the same thing. So under ‘Settings’ we selected ‘Combined’ mode.
The only thing remaining is to set the number of colours to four and then use the dropdowns next to each colour to select the correct colour. Remember you can use ‘Live Preview’ if the lights are connected to see the actual colour being produced.
Setting the background image
In order to set a background image that appears all the time and features as a backdrop for the triggered images, we need to use a second Video/Image Block. For this we add a single scene, selecting a suitable image and leaving the effects settings as default (full screen with no entry or exit transitions). Then tick the small box next to the scene in the list. This means that the image will be triggered automatically when the map is run.