Solutions At Hand

Handhelds, smartphones, mobile technology and the digital lifestyle.

It’s Childsplay, on Freevo

Posted by Michael Brown on July 12, 2007

Freevo has become a staple in our family’s lives, and a project I’ve enjoyed setting up for us. I have Freevo’s recordserver and webserver components running on the machine in the office, where it records the TV shows my wife and I are interested in seeing (usually after the kids go to bed). Freevo is also running on a dedicated Home Theatre PC in our family room, where it is often used to watch kid’s videos and browse family pictures and videos stored on the fileserver. It allows us to enjoy family-oriented media together as a family. My oldest child has a Leappad educational toy, but she’s getting to the age where she’s interested in more “dynamic” stuff. Now, I know there are all kinds of educational “game consoles” out there, but why would I want to hook up another gadget to the TV, especially one that requires a lot of extra software titles to make in interesting? That could get quite expensive, quite fast…

Here’s a solution that’s childs play… make use of the existing Linux-powered home theatre PC, and make it an educational console! Childsplay is a suite of educational games written in Python (the same programming language as Freevo is written in). Childsplay is available in Ubuntu’s Universe repositories (and in Debian Unstable), as well as by downloads from the sourceforge website. I enabled the games section of Freevo, and configured Childsplay as per the Linux Games Config section of the Freevo Wiki. My specific configuration was more like this…

apt-get install childsplay childsplay-plugins

In Freevo’s local_conf.py, I enabled the games plugin, and configured the games items as follows:
GAMES_ITEMS = [ ('Childsplay', '/etc/freevo/games/childsplay',
('GENERIC', '/usr/games/childsplay', '', '', [ 'childsplay' ] )) ]

And in the /etc/freevo directory, as root (or add sudo in front of each of these commands, where the # symbol is)
# mkdir /etc/freevo/games
# mkdir /etc/freevo/games/childsplay
# > /etc/freevo/games/childsplay/childsplay.childsplay

You’ll now have a menu item, “Play a game”, and if it’s the only game configured, it’ll run Childsplay. You can then pick which particular childsplay game you are interested in playing by clicking on the thumnail picture. We tried it with the wireless keyboard, and it works well. I may experiment with it’s “kiosk-mode” when I have some free time, which uses an on-screen keyboard, and experiment to see if it works with a joystick or gamepad.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: