Scenarios

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Usage Information
This article is a stub and requires expansion

Needs Lighting Scenarios merged - mcefan

What is a Scenario?

"Scenarios", "Activities", and "Command Groups" are interchangeable terms -- they mean the same thing.
A scenario is a group of commands that can be sent to a device (or series of devices).
To perform an action in LinuxMCE, a scenario is chosen from the ones created by the user, or from one of the categories that are created by default during installation (located on the main menu of an Orbiter).

Each scenario is a group of commands, or tasks, that appears on the Orbiter as a button.



Default Scenarios

In LinuxMCE, the default Orbiter main menu consists of several scenario categories, grouped by room. These categories are:

LinuxMCE automatically creates a scenario called 'Showtime' in rooms which have both a TV and lights. This scenario dims the lights to 10% whenever the TV starts playing.
In the 'Media' category, a scenario called 'TV' is created to start the TV in rooms with a PVR or other TV-enabled device, and one called 'Video' sends a command to the Orbiter to list your video content.

For an explanation of what each button does, read the list What scenarios are created automatically?



Other scenarios

Follow the following links to these other scenarios:



Adding scenarios

Creating the buttons

Once a scenario is created, it is represented by a button on the User Interface. Buttons are grouped by room and displayed on the room's screen. Before creating a scenario, decide where you would like the button to appear, and create the scenario in the corresponding room. The button will automatically appear in its category on the UI corresponding to the room.

You do not manually create a button, it is created and associated to a scenario when the scenario is created.

Creating the scenarios

Advanced Scenarios Admin Page

These LinuxMCE Admin Website pages create your scenarios.

Some default scenarios are created for you at installation. Naturally, every home is different and you will likely want to change the scenarios. However, most users find it easier to modify existing scenarios than to start from scratch.

A fully-functional system can run using only the default scenarios, if you choose. However, you can add new ones, or, change or remove the default scenarios. This is done though the menu located at:


LinuxMCE Admin Website-->Wizard-->Scenarios



The wizard allows you to quickly create scenarios to do the most common tasks.



Using the Scenario creation Wizard

The scenario creation wizard helps you create scenarios. The LinuxMCE Admin Website will show you the most appropriate wizard, based on the category you pick. If you're adding an activity in the lighting category, for example, the wizard will display a list of the lights in the room and let you pick which ones to turn off. If you're creating a scenario in the security category, it will list the installed cameras and will allow you to select which ones to display. This is the default behavior.

By default, scenarios in the lighting category show you the room lights, allowing you to select which ones to send commands. However, since a scenario can send a command to any device in the system, you can also specify a command to another device in your home by adding it with the Wizard-->Scenarios menu. You could make a phone call, for example, even from a scenario in the lighting category.

Using Advanced settings

To add custom scenarios to a category of your choosing, use the LinuxMCE Admin Website --> Advanced --> Configuration --> Scenarios. It displays advanced options for configuring the scenarios which are not available in the wizard. Any sort of action can be added to your scenario by using the Advanced settings.



Configuring scenarios

The LinuxMCE Admin Website --> Advanced --> Configuration --> Scenarios page gives you access to all configurable Scenario settings. You can use it to customize any scenario.




Removing scenarios

Media scenarios wizard unchecked scenarios.png

Scenarios can be deleted if required but there is also an option to remove the autogeneration of certain scenarios. Go to Wizard->Scenarios->Media Scenarios in the WebAdmin (for example) and untick the boxes next to the scenarios you don't want to see on your orbiter in a particular room.

In the screenshot, I've unticked radio in all rooms because I don't use that one at all and also unticked all the scenarios generated for the various unused inputs on my TV in the TV room. That keeps the scenarios (menu items) nice and manageable on the orbiter.

Rooms, scenarios and devices

Different rooms, different scenarios

Scenarios are specific to rooms. A scenario can affect any device anywhere in the house, but certain scenarios will only be displayed in certain rooms. This is so that when you are in a particular room, you will only see the scenarios that you are likely to use from that room.

With mobile phones, your current room is detected automatically. The menu on the mobile phone will show the scenarios for the room that you are currently in. Other controllers are not able to detect the location automatically, so there will be a room button you use to tell the controller what room you are in. It is possible to select any room in the house (no matter where you are), however, so you can choose the scenarios for any room at any time.

Certain scenarios are assigned to certain rooms by default. When you manually select a room from the Orbiter main menu, the default scenarios for that room are displayed. In general they control devices in that room, but this can be changed. If your kitchen is near the garage and you want a scenario to 'turn off the garage light', you can assign a scenario to the room 'kitchen' that will do just that. It doesn't matter that the light is in the garage. Any scenario can control any device anywhere in the house.

How orbiters display scenarios

For a Media Director, the on-screen Orbiter User Interface appears on the TV screen. It is manipulated by the mouse/keyboard or remote control connected to your Media Director. By default it is set to display the scenarios for the room in which the Media Director is located.

In contrast, a mobile Orbiter (such as a webpad) can be carried throughout the house. It must be able to select the scenarios for multiple rooms. Fortunately, the option to manually select which room you are currently in is available on every Orbiter's main menu.

This can occasionally cause some confusion. Perhaps both the Living Room and the Bedroom have a scenario called 'TV'. You may have a web pad that is in the Bedroom, but you then carry it to the Living Room. You may forget to tell the web pad that it's now in the Living Room (at the bottom of the Orbiter screen it will still say 'Bedroom'). You hit the 'TV' button expecting the Living Room TV to come on, but in fact you're still controlling the Bedroom and the TV comes on there instead. Finally, you may realize that you must change your room location to Living Room, then you can control the TV there.

Once you get used to this concept, though, you'll find it very useful. Conveniently, any Orbiter can be set to control any room and choose from the scenarios assigned to that room. No matter which Orbiter you use, the same set of scenarios will be displayed for each specific room. For example, the kitchen scenarios will always be the same, no matter which Orbiter you are using. (The scenarios are assigned by room -- not by Orbiter.) No matter whether you pick up your mobile phone, your web pad, or your remote control, you will always be shown the same list of scenario options for the Living Room.

Media Director on-screen Orbiters display scenarios for the room they are located in, but Mobile Orbiters can be used with any room. Always verify that you have the correct room selected by looking at the display.



Restricting users

You have the option of preventing some family members from using certain scenarios. From the LinuxMCE Admin Website, certain scenarios and rooms can be restricted to certain users. Maybe little Suzy's mobile phone Orbiter should be restricted so that she is only able to control her room and the living room, for example. She would only be able to execute the scenarios in those rooms, but not the Master Bedroom. Other possible options include requiring a pin code to access the scenarios for a particular room.



More info