• Started with the idea of building a web app that integrates the feature of the once popular virtual pet games and the modern notion of “Gamification” for productivity and education.
  • We realized that children and early teenagers have the biggest problem with self-control, and need additional motivation to accomplish their given tasks, so we set target users to 6 to 12-year-old school children and teens.
  • Raising a pet teaches children to take responsibility and live in a manner that brings happiness to everyone around them. Such education by affection is precious for children today.

What it does

  • Big picture: Habit Pets provides a virtual pet that the user is able to raise by actions like feeding the pet. By accomplishing a daily task or to-do-list task, the user is rewarded with money, experience points, food items and health/ happiness attributes. Food, health, and happiness keeps the pet alive, motivating users to finish their tasks in time. Level, experience and money is the additional features of the pet, increasing user adhesiveness.
  • Food: rewarded to tasks that are related to school, work, academic, etc. (E.g. Finish math homework, read 10 pages of novel)
  • Health: rewarded to tasks that are related to sports/ physical exercises. (E.g. Go to the gym, learn a certain sport)
  • Happiness: rewarded to tasks that are related to interactions with people and every-day life. (E.g. finish daily chores, help a person out, practice the piano)
  • Daily Tasks: routine tasks that are repeated daily.(will pop up daily)
  • To-Do list: additional tasks of the day. (will not pop up again after accomplishment)

How we built it

  • The web app has its back-end based on PHP, MySQL, the CodeIgniter framework, with its front-end based on javascript, JQuery and bootstrap. The web app is hosted on Microsoft Azure, which provides us unprecedented convenience in implementing the CRON system and working with the overall infrastructure.

Challenges we ran into

  • We’ve struggled to implement the CRON system at the beginning until we find the WebJob feature of Microsoft Azure, which makes periodical update of our pets’ hunger possible.
  • We also ran into issues regarding UI design and Javascript-related problems. Fortunately, we managed to access open resources including images under the Creative Common licences that makes our UI delightful.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

  • Animation and attracting icons that will attract elementary children and teenagers. Our logo is designed with childlike innocence and vibrant color, and lively icons give users a direct feeling of affinity.
  • An easy-to-make to-do-list that helps users to collect and gather their ideas and goals easily. There are times when people fail to take down notes simply because they are difficult to add. Habit-pets perfectly solved the problem with concise design.
  • A repeating daily check that enables users to cultivate long-term habits.
  • A game-based functional mechanism to accomplish goals. Although this makes the work a little bit harder to code, it enables users to keep in great interest in the habit pets.

What we learned

  • How to make a web app more appealing (design, animation, operating mechanism) to target groups.
  • Finishing a project that we are interested in is so vibrant that we are crazy and elated even though lack of rest.

What's next for Habit Pets:

  • More options: we would love to add more features to the websites, including, enabling users to design their own virtual pet with provided tools, verifying the task difficulties manually, enable linked parent access to ensure the task accomplishments.
  • More Ways to Access: we are also planning to develop Habit Pets into mobile apps via Cordova/Ionic or native implementations on Windows, Android and iOS.
  • Marketing and Advertisements: reach out to local elementary and middle schools to advertise for our product and let more people know the benefits of our gaming website.
  • Go into Business: create an option that will allow users to use real money to purchase coins in the game to buy the feature that a player would like to have to make a profit.
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