The lack of availability of clean water poses an acute problem, particularly for First Nations communities across Canada. Inspired by RBC's challenge of tackling a problem for a community we care about, our team created Glass Half Empty, a poignant game with a serious message.

What it is

A narrative game with custom illustrations and voice enabled interactions to immerse the player in the story of an ordinary Western University student visiting his friend's home on a reserve in Garden Hill, Manitoba.

The character encounters several interactions throughout "Level 1", which is the "becoming aware" stage of the game. By realizing the impacts of unpotable water in these communities, the character has the ability to "take action" (progressing to level 2) or ending the game and thus losing. Although we've only developed Level 1 during Hack Western, the idea is that the character would go through levels 2 and 3; taking action (level 2) and then impacting others through various methods such as advocation and presenting in classrooms (level 3).

How we built it

The game was built with the d3.js framework, using Google's Dialog Flow to create and implement the voice interactions. The graphics and user interface were created in Adobe Illustrator.

Challenges we ran into

This project, and game design in general, was new territory for all of us, so it was both a lot of learning and a lot of challenges. Communication between design and development had to be navigated, and several reiterations of design were re-done but in the end we were able to come up with a completed game.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Conveying an important message through a unique medium, and of course, seeing a project through from start to finish!

What we learned

For some of us, this project meant learning entire libraries in just a couple hours and exploring voice implementation; for others, designing for the nuances of game design and voice interactions. For all of us, this project proved to be a really great learning experience in not only technical skills, but also in collaboration and storytelling.

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