HudsonAlpha’s original genome exploration app, GenomeCache, has limited capabilities away from the HudsonAlpha Campus. GenomeGo! takes the original gamified walking experience from GenomeCache and updates it with more connection features, intuitive design, and new mapping and AR technology.
Once a player loads onto the app, they will be presented with a map and a clue. This clue will lead the player to a gene, once reached, the gene will present the player with a trivia question. That if answered correctly will reward the player with point and a question specific sticker. The players aim to collect all the stickers and compete with their friends or classmates in the points system.
We used the very popular PokemonGo app (a game where you hunt and collect Pokemon with the help of a virtual map and AR technology) as a model for the mapping aspects of our game.
See Difficulties for more information on our current mapping system and how we plan to improve.
Our international scoreboard displays both a global map of all players and a leader board. This feature connects players and classrooms across the world. This provides a twist of competition and excitement.
To reward the players for getting correct answers we created a sticker and point reward system. For every question the player gets right they receive a sticker, and points based on accuracy. The sticker they can then use in our AR camera. Students can take a picture of themselves/teammates with stickers they have earned and send it to their teacher. This is fun for the students while also creating an accountability tool for teachers.
When they get a question correct the app moves to the next gene.
HOW WE BUILT IT
- We used the Unity Game Engine to create the Genome Go! AR experience. We decided to use Unity because it has everything we needed to create, launch and succeed with a high-quality augmented reality app.
*We used Snazzy Maps because it is a repository of different color schemes for Google Maps aimed towards web designers and developers.
*We used PowerPoint for photo adjustment and alterations with the color, size, and shape of different figures that are included in our app.
DIFFICULTIES & SOLUTIONS
The type of mapping assistance we were hoping to get from Unity Assets Store is no longer available, we spent the first quarter of the hackathon following outdated tutorials for the mapping software which in no longer available or no longer free.
AR CAMERA VISUALIZATION
The challenges we encountered for camera visualization were getting the plane and camera to connect with the script that activates the camera on the computer. Inputting our progress bar, avatar, and genome markers was hard because we had to use multiple sources which include photoshop, PowerPoint, and then finally getting it put into Unity. It was hard to connect all the individual elements of the app because of time constraints.
MAPPING & AR: FUTURE SOLUTION
The creators of PokemonGo, Niantic, have decided to open it's AR platform for professional developers and companies, companies can apply right now for access. Niantic also has said in the future they plan to release an open source version. If GenomeGo became a project taken up by a company, the mapping and AR software could be applied for. This would solve both the mapping and AR camera difficulties. source
CONNECTING SEPARATE ELEMENTS
We were easily able to code features separately, such as the trivia, and sticker system. Both of those features were coded separately in order to achieve time restrained goals, however the true functionality of the app is very rough.
CONNECTING SEPARATE ELEMENTS: SOLUTION
With more time we would become more fluent in the Unity game system and would be able to create a cohesive app
EXPORTING TO REAL APP STORE
Unity does have a feature that can automatically export your app to the Android or iOS store, we know this is possible but felt that exporting may take up valuable time.
TRIVIA QUESTION LOSS
The way we coded inserting the questions in was not effective. This could easily be changed with more research on file importing (using a pre made list of all the questions in a .txt) with Unity. In our current app we only have the first twenty five stickers created and the first five questions. However this is an easy solution.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR GENOMEGO!
· Throw something (test tube, etc) at the DNA marker in the AR mode to “capture it” and access the question to make it more gene like · Make global maps and leaderboards to see people connect, learn, and compete around the world · Develop a Learning Mode in addition to our Game Mode. The Learning Mode will use Map Mode only and will allow you to see yourself stroll through genome and popups at set points will give you a description and fun facts about the genes as you approach them. (No trivia involved) · Develop Map Mode in 3D rather than 2D. Integrate Global Positioning System(GPS) to real time updates across a live mapping system to record scores around the globe. · Create an explanatory video that pops up after you first download and open the app that gives details on the 23 chromosomes (justifying our use of “one big helix” for ease of use) and other basics of genetics to make sure that the user knows what is going on before they begin diving into the genes. · Make trivia questions more relevant to the Genome.