Galaxy is one of the newer casino resorts in Macau’s Cotai Strip. The resort’s owners, Galaxy Entertainment Group, wanted to achieve a stunning exterior visual show to draw in the crowds and to distinguish the complex from its competitors. In addition, two interior installations would create dramatic entrance effects in the lobbies.
ALI worked closely with Hong Kong based company, Ptarmigan Integration, on the creation of the exterior show, which involved LED lighting, lasers, searchlights, music production, programming and control systems. We were also involved with installation and programming of the interior features.
One of the major challenges presented by the project was the need for a sophisticated show control interface. The demands on such a controller were formidable. At the user level, it would need to provide an intuitive and elegant interface to allow the operator to run pre-programmed shows, following all the necessary safety checks, at specified times. At the network level, it would need to integrate and interact with a diverse range of audiovisual equipment, none of which was guaranteed to ‘speak the same language’.
ALI was commissioned to provide a custom solution. We developed a hugely more sophisticated version of our existing Finger-Trouble show controller. The new product functions as part of a control loop – issuing commands, listening to feedback and making decisions based on rapidly changing data. For example, the controller can run automated safety checks via Art-Net, and can prevent the show from running if a problem is detected (for example, by powering down the lasers or dowsing the search lights). Moreover, specific shows are automatically loaded for special events, such as Chinese New Year.
Finger-Trouble also ensures the LEDs and lasers are primed and ready prior to triggering the show. Because the laser automation controllers communicate via a proprietary protocol, we developed a product to interpret between this protocol and Art-Net, which is open domain and widely used.
ALI’s Colour-Tramp was used to control the exterior LEDs, facade sodium lighting and searchlights. Already a powerful and versatile system, Colour-Tramp was to emerge from the Galaxy installation with even greater functionality.
This all came about due to the need for complex visual simulations – on site, programming of complex sequences is greatly aided by a means to simulate and study the resulting effects. Key requirements include the need for real-time imaging, and the ability to handle huge datasets (about 80 DMX Universes for Galaxy’s exterior LED features). It rapidly became clear to the show programmers that existing pre-visualisation tools could not be readily adapted to their needs.
Colour-Tramp, on the other hand, could. In its normal mode, the controller outputs signals to the network. By reversing the process, so that the controller sits on the network and consumes data, the flow of information can be turned into a real-time picture of the network fixtures. We added this functionality to Colour-Tramp within the space of a few weeks during the Galaxy commissioning phase. This proved a huge asset to the show programmers, in enabling them to visualise complex sequences.