Our inspiration for Paper Football was using a Leap Motion controller to create a game where the player uses a physical motion to interact with a digital game. We thought about the dichotomy between physical and digital games and how to interaction and feedback differs. Here, we wanted to take a very casual, but physical, game pf flicking a paper football to score on a goal post usually made by a friend's hands. Now, you still hold the football and flick it to score, but there is no friend, no physical interaction, and no feedback other than a quiet "GOAL!" that pops up before you try again. Our story represents how digital media is maybe moving in the direction where it augments to digital side, like using a Leap Motion controller to interact with your hands directly, but also may be taking away from the physical game. It begs the question, is interaction like this really better than the sum of it's parts, or are we taking away from something great through innovation. Arts and tech can have the same issues, where too much of one may lessen the value of the other, and we wanted to show why a balance between the two is how to make something truly amazing.
What it does
Paper Football plays very simple. Using a Leap Motion controller, which tracks hand movements over the receiver, the player can gently pinch the paper football with their left hand, and release right as they flick it with their right. The player will either launch the football into the goal and get a point before the scene restarts and you can try again. If you miss or mess up, the player can press Space to restart.
How we built it
First, we had to decide on the game we were going to imitate. We started with carnival games, like throwing darts in a physical location, but the simplicity and accessibility of making a football out of a scrap of paper and making a game fit our purpose better. Then, we set up our scene, first 3D modelling in Maya a shiny, Tech-gold goal post and folding a plane to give it actual paper creases, finished off with a set of pink notebook stripes. Then we got our hands working in Unity. Leap Motion has lots of different interactions, and we realized getting both hands involved with a pinch and flick was the way to go. Finally we added in our "football", let the player score and earn a "GOAL!", and polished up some motion.
Challenges we ran into
Our biggest challenge was getting started. 3/4 of our team is completely new to hackathons, and the pure freedom of choice was hard to narrow down an idea. We all loved the idea of using a physical component in a game-like setting, but weren't sure how to make it more meaningful. Leap Motion adds hardware but takes away the physical interaction at the same time, and we loved how our idea fit into that. We also struggled with setting up the Leap Motion, since none of us had too much experience with the SDK, but once we got past that hurdle, it all came together.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
It works! After tweaking and polishing all day we finally got the ball going to where it needed to with good consistency. And as cheesy as it sounds, we can all agree that we managed to bring together 4 strangers and make a pretty cool game involving all of our strengths, and worked together like a long-time team. None of us came into this expecting huge results, but we did it.
What we learned
We learned that sometimes, you just have to go for it! We spend a good bit of time debating what would be possible without just trying something and taking a risk. We watch the whole demo series trying to find inspiration, but when we relaxed and just let the ideas flow, our project evolved over time and wouldn't have become what it is if we planned it out.
What's next for Paper Football
We all loved hanging out with each other, and hope to keep in touch, maybe even polish it up enough to put on the Leap Motion demo store!