Thinkgeek's Technomancer Hoodie helped inspire the main lighting concept, however the gesture based lighting would not work very well in a cosplay setting. I didn't want to just throw lights on the costume without reason. While many of the armor sets in World of Warcraft feature glowing gems and other lighting, the Battlegear does not. So I decided to theme the lighting around the types of magic that Mages cast; Fire (red), Frost (Blue) and Arcane (White).
With that in mind, I needed a way to select which theme to display at a given time. I considered using switches, but I didn't know how well I would be able to manipulate them with gloves on. Adafruit also offered an RF based toggle switch, which would let me send a selection to the controller without the button or switch being wired directly to the costume. The idea of wires catching on something while wearing the costume weighed heavily into my design considerations.
I started doing some tests with the NeoPixel light strips as well as the NeoPixel rings. I wanted a natural fade-in, fade-out pulse effect. I did some research on how others have simulated the effect and found that most used an array of values for the LED intensity that moved the brightness up and down, the more values in the array, the smoother the transition.
What I then realized was the array of values could be replaced with a sine or cosine function, with some modifications to keep the value range between the dimmest I wanted the lights and the brightest.
I will post a full write up on the code in a later update.