xGames version 2.2

This new release of xGames features many improvements, the main one being that you can now add wave sound files to questions. This means you can create a quiz where you ask a question about a piece of music which will play automatically as the question is asked. Due to some restrictions on dynamically importing sound files during runtime and to make this process quick I am only allowing standard wave files. This does not mean you can’t use your own mp3 files, just that you’ll need to convert them first. If you don’t already know how to do it try Audacity which is a free sound file editor. In Audacity you can load in an mp3, highlight a section of the sound track (I recommend about 10 to 30 seconds), paste it into a new file and export it as a wave file.

Click here or here xGames version 2.2 installer executable

Click here to download xGames version 2.2 installer zip version (useful if your firewall blocks the download of exe files)

Bond audio question shown in the xQuiz editor and in the actual xQuiz game

Ok so I know I said the last version was the last, but I did intend it to be at the time, so I won’t be making the same mistake this time and saying this is the final release, as it may or may not be. I still do need to update the user manuals for all the changes over the past couple months, so there will be a minor update for that when I get it done. When I worked full time as a programmer I didn’t mind the coding, but always hated the paperwork (design, planning, user guides etc) side of things and I’m afraid I still feel the same way about it.

Here are a list of the changes in Version 2.2 from Version 2.1

1. Added the facility to have audio wave files play against each question in xQuiz, xRisk and xDrop. I will not be adding it to xBots as it wouldn’t work in that game as teams can be asked different questions at the same time, however all quizzes will still work in Xbots, albeit without the audio tracks. Altered xBots quiz loader to ensure this is the case.
2. Changed the xQuiz & xRisk editor to allow the user to select wave files for each question.
3. Altered the editor to be more forgiving with blank lines between questions in the text file. So that if you create quiz in notepad or notes on iOS and then load it into the editor it won’t crash.
4. Altered the xQuiz editor so that it automatically adjusts the answer lengths from 52 to 30 if you add a picture. This means there are no longer two editors for xQuiz (previously I had one editor which allowed pictures and one without pictures where you could enter longer answers). You can now mix and match questions with long answers with questions with shorter answers containing pictures.

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xGames Version 2

xgamesv2 front end
I am releasing an updated version of my xGames educational suite of quiz based games which make use of wireless XBOX360 controllers. This version uses XNA4 to bring it into line with my Kinect game releases. I have also made improvements to the games; the most notable being that the three 2D games now have a single front end as shown above. Another big advantage is that xQuiz, xDrop and xBots also now all share the same question folder bank which means when you create a quiz for one it will instantly be available in the other 2 games as well.

I have also packaged them up in a proper professional installer file, which contains the various runtimes needed for the games such as .net and xna4 runtime. This means that if you download and run the installer file below it will install everything you need to get the games going and it will create shortcuts etc. It also will install the drivers for the wireless XBOX360 receiver and controllers for WinXP 32-bit, Vista 32-bit, Win7 32-bit and Win7 64-bit.

Click here to download xGames version 2.2.

To avoid the file size getting too massive, I left out the controller drivers for WinXP 64-bit and Vista 64-bit as I doubt many people are running them, but if you need the drivers for them they are below.

Click here to download XBOX360 controller drivers for Windows XP 64-bit
Click here to download XBOX360 controller drivers for Windows Vista 64-bit

Kinect Magic Cursor version 1.2 with source code

Kinect Magic Cursor allows you to use Kinect connected to a Windows 7 pc to control the windows mouse pointer and perform left clicks. Once you install the software you simply use your right hand to control the mouse pointer by standing in front of Kinect and moving your hand. To simulate a left mouse button click you just raise your left hand above your shoulder. It certainly could have plenty of uses, an interactive presentation projected onto a whiteboard or wall, which could then be controlled by a user standing in front of it controlling it with their arms is one use and I’m sure you can think of many other uses.

Release 1.2 comes with source code after I had a few requests after the last release.

Kinect Magic Cursor

Keyboard Controls to change application settings

ESC key Quits the application.
K key toggles between kinect and mouse control.
LEFT-ARROW & RIGHT-ARROW keys change the scale, which is basically how far you need to move your hand in each direction to move the pointer to the edge of the screen.
UP-ARROW & DOWN-ARROW keys allow you to adjust the angle of the Kinect camera.
SPACE key freezes the video feed into the application, which is useful if you are running on a slow PC.
S key starts the video feed again.

You will need a Windows7 PC, Kinect SDK v1.5 and XNA4 runtime installed and obviously a Kinect (XBOX360 Kinect or Windows Kinect).

Click here to download Kinect Magic Cursor version 1.2 installer.

Click here to download Kinect Magic Cursor version 1.2 source code.

Once you run the application you can minimise it and it will still function, however you will need to click back into it to exit it and stop the Kinect mouse simulation from running.

xRemote version 1.2 with source code

If you already use my xGames educational games suite and have a wireless XBOX360 controller with USB wireless receiver for Windows then you should try this. It allows you to use a wireless XBOX360 controller as a wireless mouse and multimedia remote control. It is very useful as a wireless presenter device for the likes of powerpoint (Right and left bumpers perform left and right arrow clicks which allow you to navigate slides in powerpoint), however you can also control the mouse with the left stick something you can’t do with most multimedia remotes.

Version 1.2 has a couple minor bug fixes and when you simulate cursor keys using the D-PAD, it has a slight delay between each cursor key press as I felt it was too rapid. I am also releasing the source code this time too.

Controls

Left and right sticks on the controller will control the mouse pointer.
A Button performs a left mouse button click like a real mouse, you can hold it down and perform operations like drag and drop.
B Button perform a right mouse button click like a real mouse and can also be used for operations like drag and drop.
Left Trigger simulates a left mouse button click and release, so can only be used for single-clicks.
Right Trigger simulates a right mouse button click and release, so can only be used for single-clicks.
X Button simulates a left mouse button double-click.
BACK button quits the application.
LEFT bumper button does a LEFT-ARROW keyboard press (useful for powerpoint).
RIGHT bumper button does a RIGHT-ARROW keyboard press (useful for powerpoint).
The D-PAD works as cursor keys, allowing you to perform LEFT, RIGHT, UP and DOWN cursor key presses.
LEFT-ARROW & RIGHT-ARROW keys on the keyboard allow you to adjust the mouse speed from within the application.

You can minimise the application and the controller will still function as a mouse.

You will need a Windows 7/XP PC and XNA4 runtime installed and a wireless XBOX360 controller with a USB wireless receiver to plug into the PC.

Click here to download xRemote version 1.2 instatller.

Click here to download xRemote version 1.2 source code.

Kinect Magic Cursor and xRemote

I’m releasing 2 very small applications for Windows that are nevertheless invaluable. There is already software out there that does these jobs, but this is my take it them using XNA4.

The first release came about as I was asked to do a magic wall thing using Kinect and I managed to put this together in about 5 hours (finished it at 2.30am), so it might not be perfect, but it’s worth a go. It basically allows you to use Kinect connected to a Windows 7 pc to control the windows mouse pointer and perform left clicks. Once you run the software you simply use your right hand to control the mouse pointer by standing in front of Kinect and moving your hand. To left-click you just raise your left hand above your shoulder. It certainly has plenty of uses, an interactive presentation projected onto a wall, which would then be controlled by users standing in front of the wall and controlling the pointer with their hand is our initial thoughts, but it could have so many other uses.

Kinect Magic Cursor

There are various keyboard controls to set things within the application.

ESC key Quits the application.
K key toggles between kinect and mouse control.
LEFT-ARROW & RIGHT-ARROW keys change the scale, which is basically how far you need to move your hand in each direction to move the pointer to the edge of the screen.
UP-ARROW & DOWN-ARROW keys allow you to adjust the angle of the Kinect camera.
SPACE key freezes the video feed into the application, which is useful if you are running on a slow PC.
S key starts the video feed again.

You will need a Windows7 PC, Kinect SDK v1.5 and XNA4 runtime installed and obviously a Kinect (XBOX360 Kinect or Windows Kinect).

Click here to download Kinect Magic Cursor version 1.2

Once you run the application you can minimise it and it will still function, you will need to click back into it though to exit from it and stop the Kinect mouse control.

My second application is based on the first one, as I thought, “why not also do this with the wireless XBOX controller”. So if you already use my xGames and have a wireless XBOX360 controller with USB wireless receiver for Windows then you should try this. It basically allows you to use a wireless XBOX controller as a wireless mouse and multimedia remote control.

Left and right sticks on the controller will control the mouse pointer.
A Button and Left Trigger perform a left-click.
B Button and Right Trigger perform a right-click.
X Button does a double-click.
BACK button quits the application.
LEFT bumper button does a LEFT-ARROW keyboard press (useful for powerpoint).
RIGHT bumper button does a RIGHT-ARROW keyboard press (useful for powerpoint).
The D-PAD works as cursor keys, allowing you to perform LEFT, RIGHT, UP and DOWN cursor key presses.

LEFT-ARROW & RIGHT-ARROW keys on the keyboard allow you to adjust the mouse speed from within the application.

You can minimise the application and the controller will still function as a mouse.

You will need a Windows 7/XP PC and XNA4 runtime installed and a wireless XBOX360 controller with a USB wireless receiver to plug into the PC.

Click here to download xRemote version 1.2

(UPDATE: Minor update which allows you to use A and B on the controller like proper mouse buttons so you can drag and drop things.)

Kinect Time version 1.1

ImageHot on the heals of my first release comes a minor update to Kinect Time. I decided to release this update after doing a couple minor updates after trying it for the first time in a school last week. It now has two hands which appear, one after you set the hour hand and one after you set the minute hand. This is just to solve the occasional confusion as to whether the hour hand had been set, before setting the minute hand.

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It also now features two languages, thanks to Stuart Ball at Microsoft PIL for this. In the options.txt file, located in the same directory as the EXE, you can set the language to ENGLISH or WELSH for the WORDS mode in the game (This is shown below). The number in the second bottom line of the options.txt is the angle the Kinect camera is to be set at, you can alter this in the game at the start of each round by pressing the UP or DOWN arrow keys (this works in Kinect Angles also).

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To download Kinect Time version 1.1 click here.

To download Kinect Time version 1.1 with source files click here.