Introduction to KinectSandbox Software settings

What are the settings

KinectSandbox software uses variuos parameters listed in text files called Settings. These paramteres define most of the software’s behaviour, from physical range of interaction to details of appearance. Each parameter has a value – either logic [true, false], or numeric. By altering those values you change how the application works and looks. 

Types of setting files

There are two kinds of setting files inside the app. First one is GlobalSettings – it contains parameters that are common for all modules and presets. You will usually set them once at the beginning and then leave as is.

Second type is preset and mode Settings, both highly specific and applying to a single case. To clarify, presets are pre-defined scenarios of the software’s behaviour and modes are the five ‘programs’ of the app (Interactive Map, GraviBall, Magic Worlds, DigQuest and andscape Secrets).

We talk about mode Settings (settings_mode_0-4) in the context of touchscreen control. They define the program that is loaded (therefore there is a max of four of them) and some general parameters that need not to be tweaked later. Other parameters that can be edited via touchscreen are saved to the files after each use, so they are constantly overwritten.

Presets (settings_0-9) are relevant in a setup without touchscreen, where the only way of communicating with the software is a keyboard and mouse. To simplify adjusting, 10 presets were introduced that can be switched between using a numeric keypad (0-9). Preset Settings define every parameter, including the mode application currently works in. Although they can still be tweaked during use with a keyboard, the idea is to have them pre-defined for easy access.

Both preset and mode Settings can override some of the values from the GlobalSettings file for the purpose of an individual scenario. This is described in more details in the dedicated article.

How to access settings

There are three ways to access and tweak settings. You can use dedicated Settings Menu inside the app, edit the text files or use the touchscreen control. The last option is the easiest and most approachable one, although obviously reserved for touchscreen users. The interface for touch control covers most of the editable parameters and the rest is still accessible in Settings Menu with keyboard and mouse. Detailed specification of the touchscreen interface can be found here.

View of the Settings Menu starting screen

The Settings Menu is a pop-up window that appears on the main screen after you press ‘Tab’. Navigation inside the menu is done with mouse. Big advantage of this solution is that you can monitor changes as you tweak the parameters. Accessible settings include terrain levels, physical range and borders of the simulation, as well as some mode-specific settings for Paradise Island and Discovery modules. You can read more about the Settings Menu in the here.

The Setting files itselves can be found in KinectSandboxKinectSandbox_DataStreamingAssetsSettings. You can simply open them with a text editor and then change individual values.
Editing the text files may seem like an advanced task, so we prepared two separate articles for both GlobalSettings and preset/mode Settings. It is important to get to know the structure of the files and learn about accessible parameters in order to faster and more efficiently edit them in the future. Also, in some cases you will need to make adjustments in a Settings file before tweaking it inside the app. Once you read the two dedicated articles all doubts should be dispelled and you can always use them as a reference in the future. 

Tips & Instructions

  1. To save parameter changes done inside the application (using touch control or Settings Menu) the program needs to be closed. It is best to use keyboard shortcut ‘Alt+f4’. This also means that if a preset or mode is switched to another, any changes made to the previous preset/mode are lost. To ensure the changes are kept, edit preset/mode, close the app and open it again.

  2. Inside every Settings file there are parameters containing following lines:

    “UseGlobal”: true,
    “Value”: 0 – means this parameter is defined in the GlobalSettings file;

    “UseGlobal”: false,
    “Value”: 150 – means this parameter is overwritten by the Settings file and the app will use this value rather than the one defined in GlobalSettings;

    If a Settings file uses parameters defined in the GlobalSettings, any changes to those parameters applied inside the application will be affecting the GlobalSettings file. Example:

    You are using the application on preset 1 and you change ‘SandboxTopLevel’ parameter using Settings Menu. Preset 1 used global value of ‘SandboxTopLevel’. Now the GlobalSettings value of ‘SandboxTopLevel’ was changed and consequently every preset that uses the GlobalSettings value of that parameter will be affected.

  3. That being said, it is important to study both GlobalSettings and Settings files you are intending to edit. If you need to apply a change to a preset/mode only, make sure the parameter’s “UseGlobal”: is set to false. Some of the parameters are preset/mode-specific by default, but this will be discussed in the following articles

  4. You can have a maximum of five settings_mode_ files, each of them representing one mode of the application. The first one, settings_mode_0 always refers to the Interactive Map mode. If you have e.g. two additional programs (a total of 3), you will need three files. If for some reason the number of files is smaller, the last module won’t load and you will have to define the parameters yourself. Easiest way is to duplicate the previous file and change ‘Mode’ value.

  5. You can have a maximum of 10 presets (keys 0-9) – 10 settings_ files. The principles are the same as in the previous case. No settings_ file – no preset.