Project feasibility - lights, sounds, music, controller

So I was looking around for some info and came across some vague warnings of limitations that my idea might be flat out impossible, so I'm hoping to clarify that. I do pixel art paintings, and I was planning on adding LEDs to a large one I'm planning, and as many projects do, it sort of evolved over time into something much more complex. I don't have any specific boards or lights in mind, but my limited experience is with using an Arduino Nano and one of the standard LED strips to do some custom things for another painting:

I ran into some issues with this one after this video was taken that may be explained by some of the warnings I got from others earlier today - basically suggesting that throwing too much at these boards will make them not function, etc. I always thought this was strange, because I see cosplayers using hundreds of LEDs like nothing. But, anyway, here is what my plan is:

I want to make a "playable" painting. It will be a scene from a game, but there will be LEDs behind the canvas in key areas, and they will light up either by being just part of the ambiance or specifically by direct input (a SNES controller). Ideally there would be a single music track playing with sound effects playing when needed.

I was told that basically parallel processing is impossible, but I guess I had being using techniques learned in "blink without delay" to do what I did in the video above, so the question was why wouldn't it work?

If I need to use multiple boards/other hardware to achieve this, that doesn't matter to me, just as long as I can find the resources on how to assemble everything and what I should use.

The original question I was asking today was about the LEDs themselves. Parts of the painting are going to be, effectively, lasers. So strips will work as is, cut to length and put in series I suppose. Some sections are more like glowing orbs, so I was originally thinking of cutting a bunch of tiny strips and soldering them together in basically a grid pattern. My question was, can I just buy some sort of 10x10 LED grid and put that somewhere in the chain with the others? If yes, what sort of item should I be looking for? I have a grid of this sort laying around from a grab bag purchase, but it doesn't have the 3 wires of my LED strips, but rather like 14 pins, similar to a shield. So I have absolutely no idea how to interact with that in the manner I'm talking about.

So, how much of this is impossible? Thanks in advance!

I don't really understand what you're trying to do. Are the lights reacting to the music or are they supposed to be programmed along with the music?

And, then I'm not clear what the human interaction is supposed to do.

[u]Adafruit[/u] probably has the best information on Neopixels (addressable LED strips) you can get an idea of how much memory you'll need, etc.

If you are doing audio frequency analysis and controlling lots of LEDs at the same time, you could run into processing limitations. If you are just reading the volume/loudness you can use a peak detector/envelope follower and sample the volume "slowly" at about 10 times per second instead of sampling the audio waveform thousands of times per second.

Nothing so complicated. I want to have the following:

-Background music playing
-LEDs doing a pulsing pattern for the "glowing orb" parts of the paintings (the potential pixel grids)
-LEDs doing a "firing laser" pattern when I press a button on the SNES controller
-Sound effects playing as needed (firing a laser, for example)

There are smaller details to it beyond this, but these are the main things. If this works, then everything else will be easy, as they are pretty much just permutations of the above.

For the sake of simplicity, let's say there are 10 lasers that are 25 LEDs long, and there are 7 orbs no bigger than a 10x10 grid (3 of them might be served by a 5x5).

Sounds very much within the realm of an Arduino.

Background music: your favourite mp3 player doing its thing.
Sound effects: mp3 played from a DF Player Mini board, controlled by the Arduino. Use an audio mixer to mix it in with the background music.
LEDs: if you want changing colours, WS2812B individually addressable LEDs are a great solution.
If single colour, use a ton of shift registers and/or multiplexers like the MAX7219 (one of those drives 64 LEDs). If 8x8 is enough for your orbs I'd be looking at the MAX7219 boards, one for each orb. Maybe you can use the ready-made 8x8 displays for that. The lasers maybe easier to do with shift registers; three of them per laser for 24 LEDs long.

So looking up the DF Player Mini board (and coming across an mp3 player board as well), I see that these look like shields of some sort. So I guess the first question is - how do I interact with more than one of those at a time, let alone having enough pins left over for LEDs and the SNES controller?

As for LEDs, they will have color variance to them here and there, although in the laser case I would be fine with only blue and controlling brightness. However, even if I was only doing single colors, wouldn't the addressable LED strips be far, far easier than messing with individual LEDs and shift registers? Is there a good reason to consider that option?

The DF Player Mini needs two I/O pins connected to the Arduino. The LEDs one or more, depending on the approach you take. The controller may also need a few, depending on how that works. You have 19 I/O total.

So what are all those other pins for? It looked like it had something like 16 on there. And just to make sure I'm looking at the right thing: DFPlayer_Mini_SKU_DFR0299-DFRobot

Output (stereo line, speaker), button control inputs (play, forward, reverse, next, whatever), power (at least 2 ground pins)... See documentation for details!

So is the idea behind a design like this that it could be used as a shield, but if you only need a couple features you could just manually wire up the bare minimum?

I'd call it a module (board with all supporting components in place, with convenient connections). Shield is more of an Arduino Uno specific term.

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