New Proposal Part II

It has been a bit quiet on the project front as I’ve been getting hammered at work. But things have calmed down so I’m back on track. Since my last post about my initial proposal I’ve been going back and forth about how to realise this project. Since then I have nutted out a few of the questions I was asking myself in the previous post as well as discuss the process and methodology which I missed.

What data will be represented?
With the new rule changes that came in this year, more and more skaters are getting penalties and having to spend time in the sin bin. The result of this has influenced the game as bin time, especially for Jammers, plays big role the final score. For example, if a Jammer (the point scorer for her team) commits a penalty she must sit in the bin for a minute, unless the opposition Jammer also commits a penalty and then they swap out as soon as the other Jammer sits down. However, within that minute, a Jammer can potentially score 30 points. With this in mind, I would like to show the relationship between points and penalty time. I will use height as the indicator for number of points and width for the number of skaters on the track. This is work well as there always needs to be at least one skater from each team on the track at all times. There will also need to be a minimum/ starting “height” for jams that result in no points otherwise the “width” couldn’t be represented.

Another stat that also plays a important role in the game is “lead jammer” status. Earning “lead jammer” status gives that team control of the jam and the ability to call off/ end the jam. I plan on using colour to represent which team gets “lead jammer” status and use a flashing as a way to represent when a Jammer gets sent to the sin bin.

Bar Graph

Bar graph sketch made in Processing using roller derby stats showing points per jam and Jammer laps


Idea of how the data might be displayed

What will the sculpture be made out of?
I plan on using clear Perspex as the part of the sculpture that lights up. I plan on having bars, like a bar graph, that represents the points for each jam. There will be scored lines on the bar to signify the number of laps a jammers makes, another interesting stat. If it’s not too expensive I’ll look to get the Perspex bars cut externally as it will save on time as well has have a more polished and cleaner cut then if I did it by hand. They will also be able to cut finer bars as I only have a limited amount of surface area as I’m using the iPad as my base. As for the “holder” of the Perspex sculpture, I’m leaning towards using hobby plywood as it’s easy to cut, glue together and paint. There is also the ability to engrave into it if you use a thick enough piece which might be an option if I need to display some text.

Test of engraving a bit of Perspex and lighting using an iPad

Test of engraving a bit of Perspex and lighting using an iPad

Discuss process and methodology 

What you will make?
My goal is to make an interactive data sculpture using roller derby game statistics that might potential allow the viewer to see patterns within a game and/or across multiple games for different teams. However, this might not happen and the result might just end up being a fancy bar graph. If that is the case I’m sure I’ll learn a lot along the way.

There are 6 games in the season, not including finals, and 4 teams that play each other once. I aim to represent all 6 games within the sculpture and the physical part of the sculpture to highlight the main stats I’m interested in and use the digital part (iPad) to give an overview of all the data. The interaction part will come into play by the user being able to switch from game to game and focusing on one area of the stats or one team. How in depth the interaction will be will depend on my Processing skills, the time I have and the restrictions on the iPad app interface.

Technical requirements of the project?
I will be coding in Processing and then use the graphs that come out of it to design and build the sculpture part of project. As mentioned above, if possible I will be trying to outsource the actual cutting of the Perspex to an external company to save on time and produce a higher finished product.

Any anticipated outcomes?
I don’t quite have any anticipated outcomes except for the hope of being able to create a fully working interactive data sculpture. I hope that users will be able to understand and interact with it on different levels. For those who don’t understand roller derby, the result will be interesting enough for people to want to interact and want to know more. For those who are interested in roller derby or statistics in general will see something more within the data.

How you will work?
As it’s week 8, I only have 7 weeks left design and build my project. I have the stats for the first five games as the last game still need to be played to have the full season not including the finals. Therefore, I have enough information to start the digital side of the project within Processing. I will need to complete the digital part before I can order the Perspex bars for the sculpture. However, I will design a mock for the “case” in which the bars will be placed. The most time will be in the coding of the project and making sure it works using the iPad interface and lights up certain areas correctly.

Week 8 – Strip down stats package to only the data needed. Start working up the sketch.
Week 9 – Continue working up the sketch and test on iPad. Get quotes for Perspex order. Order a few samples for testing.
Week 10 – Continue working up the sketch and test on iPad. Mock up sculpture case.
Week 11 – Continue working up the sketch and test on iPad.
Week 12 – Final game played. Input data into the sketch. Order the Perspex bars.
Week 13 – Built final sculpture case. Finalise the sketch.
Week 14 – Combine the digital and physical part of the sculpture together and test.
Week 15 – Project due
Week 16 – Report due

How you will meet them?
As per the timeline above I have tight deadlines. I will need to time manage carefully and if things aren’t going to plan I might need to scale back the project to make sure I end up with a finished project. I have had a slow start and deciding on how I was going to realise my project did hold me up a bit too. But now it’s full steam ahead. I have taken some time off work in the later stages so that I have a bit more time to fully be focused on my project. I’m exciting about the potential of this project I just need to stay on track.


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