We wanted built robots that fight. Without lots of money, we couldn't build those really cool battle robots equipped with flame throwers and chain saws. Feeling bummed out, we came up with the idea that, perhaps, we can get that experience in the virtual world. We wanted a game that can deliver both the rock-solid realism from the physical world and the mind-blowing effects from the virtual world. We strongly believe that this project will create some gaming experience that we have yet seen in the market.
What it does
The user will be driving around the robot and shoot virtual zombies using an Android phone. One wins if one kills all the zombies before they get to him or her. To other people, the user will just look like a maniac who is poking his or her phone rapidly and screaming at a seemingly empty space. Through the user's phone though, he or she can see many zombies roaming around and every second can be the difference between life and death (virtually).
How we built it
We developed the game using Unity and compiled it for Android phone. The augmented reality and marker tracking was done using Qualcomm's Vuforia. The robot was built using simple electronics components and a Teensy 3.1 microcontroller. Communication between the robot and the Android phone conducted via Bluetooth.
Challenges we ran into
For one, neither of us has used Unity nor Vuforia before. It took us a while to figure out how they work. In addition, neither of us has an Android phone (Tawfiq uses iPhone and Matthew uses Blackberry; we both use PC). So we had to borrow an old Android phone from a friend for testing purposes. In addition, finding good marker was harder than we thought. We tried out a bunch of abstract patterns, then Ghandi, Da Vinci, Issac Newton, and many other famous figures... we figured out that none of them is as good as our trusty Albert Einstein. We now have many of his picture all over the place.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
We got a real, fully functional robot built from scratch and we got the core of our project idea done. We learned and developed a game using Unity from absolute beginner within these 36 hours.
What we learned
We learned a lot about the technologies that we used of course. In addition to that we learned the way of developing products when there is a severe time constraint and lots of uncertainty. we also met a lot of like-minded and smart people.
What's next for BattleBot
We are considering to take it the next level. We want to make this into a game that is addictive and engaging. We also want this game will introduce robotics to more children and people in general. We hope to develop it into complete product and take it to the market over the next year.