According to The World Bank, the world generates about 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste, of which at least one-third is not processed in a way that promotes sustainability. Moreover, high-income countries contribute to about one-third of the world's total waste. Looking to the future, it is predicted that global waste will grow. In order to keep Earth sustainable, we have to improve the ways we process waste.

Energy and resources are used to produce, process, transport, prepare, store, and dispose of waste. When it is not possible to properly handle waste, these materials are typically deposited in a landfill. Furthermore, not all materials and products can be reused or recycled. Currently, in California, there is a reduction in waste and recycling. Although many places implement a disposal system where we can sort our waste, these efforts may not be enough to keep Earth sustainable for future generations.

What it does

Our game is a simple fighting RPG. Using WASD to move around the world, players can run and avoid various enemy Recyclies, Trashies, and Composties. Press 'J' to fight enemies on the left, and press 'K' to fight enemies on the right. Once enemies are defeated, players collect the sortable items and drop them off at the corresponding bins where they should be properly disposed of. If the player sorts the waste correctly, their score increases. If the player sorts the waste incorrectly, their score decreases but the game doesn't end. The game only ends when the player loses all of their health from the enemy waste monsters.

How we built it

When we started this Hackathon, we had no idea what we wanted to create. We spent a couple of hours brainstorming and researching various social good topics, eventually settling on a game related to proper waste disposal. Initially, we wanted to make a Roblox game that focused on teaching kids how to sort trash, recyclable items, and food waste. However, we later decided to change our project and make a RPG fighting game, since we felt that the change would help our project be more interactive and fun to play.

To make our final project, we used Unity, a cross-platform game engine, writing our code in C#. Most of us were unfamiliar with C#, so this project was a huge learning experience for us. We drew our animations and most of our game sprites in Procreate, a digital art application. In order to work on the code together, we used CollabCode to share functions. We wanted to incorporate math concepts into our project as well, so we researched kinematics formulas, specifically involving drag and air resistance, to properly model object interactions in our game. Then, we implemented the math by writing functions to determine the position of an object as well as its direction and velocity.

Challenges we ran into

One of the bigger challenges we faced was when we set out to add physics to our mobs when they are knocked back. We didn't just want to put a simple parabolic arch to our mob arch. We wanted it to be realistic as our character beats off raging banana peels. We looked into projective flight and were able to implement air resistance in the trajectory of our flying plastic cups.

It was a struggle to understand the physics of our game when interpreting it from a two-dimensional space into a three-dimensional one. Because we decided that the monster is airborne after being hit, it was also a struggle to figure out exactly how many variables would be constantly changing due to the varying forces. After properly deriving acceleration and the velocity of the cups, we were able to represent the movement in both an x and y-component. We then were able to apply these xy-components to our flat world by scaling vectors to show movement for our turbulent trash.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We programmed a functional video game with our own animations! Our project is not only a fun fighting RPG, but it is also an educational tool that can teach young kids how to properly sort waste. Since this was the first time for most of our team to be working in C# and with Unity, we're proud of the new skills that we are able to take away from this experience.

What we learned

During the brainstorming and research part of our project development, we learned more about the different ways that waste is processed, what specific steps the materials go through, and what kinds of materials can be recycled, composted, or thrown away. Once we started designing our game, we enjoyed becoming familiar with Procreate to make our sprites and animations. We were able to explore design principles and game design ideas. Through some struggles, we learned how to implement 2D game physics. Lastly, we all gained more knowledge on how to program in C# and Unity.

What's next for Get Wasted

The project can be expanded by adding more gameplay elements. We could include more new enemies to make it more challenging for players to determine how to sort waste. Like most games, this project could be built further to have a wave system, boss stages, and/or different levels gradually increasing in difficulty. We had ideas to include power-ups and character customization options too. Other improvements include better graphics, improving our animations, and making a more consistent art style with all elements of our game. Most importantly, we want to include more informational blurbs to make our project more educational. We believe that our work has the potential to make waste disposal education fun, which will hopefully effectively teach our players and encourage them to be more mindful of their waste disposal habits. W Sustainability!

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