We were inspired by the potato-astronaut theme of this year’s Hackathon. We figured that if we incorporated it into our project, it would result in a fun and refreshing experience. So we decided, why not make a game about starring potatoes and a murder mystery in space?

What it does

Our program functions as a visual novel with interactive elements and puzzles. There are various options to choose from that can influence the ending of the game. In all, the game mechanics are implemented in a way that would allow the audience to easily obtain information that can be used to help them solve the mystery.

How we built it

We built our game in Java. With the functionalities of Eclipse, we were able to create multiple text boxes to convey our story to the audience. We imported a variety of sprites for both the visual novel and open-world aspect of the game. With object detection, our team was able to make interactive elements appear throughout the game to keep the player engaged.

Challenges we ran into

Some of the greater challenges we ran into involved the sheer size of the code we were putting together. Debugging, which is notoriously difficult to do with graphics, was even harder when we had to manually track down the mistakes in the code. Staying organized with descriptive comments and proper variable names turned out to be a lifesaver for saving time on tracking down small errors like a misspelled word or missing variable declaration. Because of the reality of the time constraint, some parts of the story had to be cut out for time and even still sometimes the code turned out to be too much for our computers to handle. This led to simplifications that had to be made in the code in order to not only make it functional but also efficient. This way, we made sure that the player didn’t have their experience ruined with a laggy or broken game.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

One of the accomplishments we’re really proud of is how much we have learned throughout the process. While none of us knew how to compose music we managed to figure out how to use software and create a soundtrack for the game which fits the mysterious space ambiance feeling we would want the player to experience. We are also proud of our graphics and art; we incorporated many sprites to express different emotions so that the player could better understand the mood of each scene. Finally, we are very proud of the code we managed to put together, despite the numerous cuts to the story. It was an intense process trying to put together a game in 24 hours, but in the end, it was a rewarding experience.

What we learned

We learned how to efficiently code so that there’s minimum lag for maximum enjoyment. Additionally, we learned how to make compelling soundtracks and art within a small time frame. We suppose that this process is similar to real-life planning for video game projects, so it was a good experience overall to learn good work habits from. Definitely not good sleep habits though.

What's next for Hashtronauts Game

There are many ways that the Hashtronauts Game can improve. With more endings and investigations, the possibilities are limitless. A concept like Hashtronauts is something that can definitely be built upon to reach a wider audience. While the future of Hashtronauts isn’t known yet, later improvements and additions will certainly be planned more thoroughly.

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