Connecting with friends is especially hard nowadays during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since we are unable to physically meet with friends, or unable to travel back to hometowns, we wanted to come up with a fun way that people feel a sense of connection while having fun. This is how we came up with the idea for gARden as gardening is both therapeutic and fun activity, we wanted to bring a sense of community just like how people come together in community gardens.

What it does

gARden is an Instagram filter where you can grow your very own plant. You start out with a seed and are given 3 actions to grow your plant into a healthy flower: (1) a watering can to water your plant, (2) a pesticide to get rid of those pesky pests trying to kill your plant and (3) a dose of sunlight to feed your plant and make it happy. After tending to your plant, you can share your accomplishment (or fail if your plant dies) to your community and challenge them to grow their own plants and share it with the community as well.

How we built it

Our techstack consisted of SparkAR Studio, Maya, and JavaScript.

We have the Patch Editor from SparkAR Studio and JavaScript working in tandem to create animations and interactive effects. The script was used specifically for the rotating seed and the NativeUI Picker. We initially had all the options from the picker interface visible to the user at the same time, but to create a stronger narrative, the script executes a set of commands based on what the user has selected.

Maya was used for 3d modelling. All the objects were exported in .obj along with their material layers and imported as assets to be used in Spark AR Studio.

We also used Git to work remotely and to stay on top of versioning.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge we ran into was being able to use GitHub with SparkAR Studio. SparkAR projects can't seem to work in parallel in Git without overwriting each other.

Another challenge was learning SparkAR Studio and understanding the strengths and limitations of the software. As we realized that the features in SparkAR Studio are relatively restrictive compared to Unity, we had to work our way around some constraints.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are so very proud of the outcome and what we were able to make. Given out busy schedules, we were so happy that we made a whole finished product.

What we learned

We learned that working remotely during a hackathon is much slower than doing it in person, but at the same time, we were able to learn a great deal from how to manage our time and how to efficiently learn new skills and tools with a limited amount of time.

What's next for gARden

  • Ability to save plant in order to view other users' plants in the same screen
  • Implement a leaderboard to used between users

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