Children are becoming increasingly stuck in the virtual world. With the use of screens becoming so ubiquitous, the tablet and phone has become a parent's first go to to entertain their children. Children are spending more time on a screen and less interacting with the world around them. Lets Build is a game built to solve this Rather than mindlessly watching videos or playing mind-numbing games, children can instead interact with the AR block playground provided by Lets Build. The application inspires children’s creativity and imagination by providing the space and materials for them to build and create anything they wish. Lets Build also motivates children to interact with others, as the app’s multiplayer functionality lets anyone join in on the fun.

One of the app's core features are the virtual blocks. Unlike conventional children toys such as building blocks or markers, there is no mess with Lets Build. Parents will not have to pick up these virtual blocks, creating the perfect portable experience to entertain and create. Furthermore, the app's AR aspect allows children to still interact with real world around them in contrast to a standard mobile game which is limited to the 2D screen space. With Lets Build, children won't be wasting time staring at a screen but rather exploring the world around them with their creativity and imagination.

What it does

Lets Build creates a virtual AR sandbox playground where the children can build together with blocks. Nearby users will be able to influence each other's space and view and interact with each other's block additions. Each user is assigned a unique block color and must collaborate with the others to create and design the scene.

How we built it

Tools and Programming Languages: Unity3D, C#, Xcode

Libraries: ARFoundation, XRKit, Apple Multipeer Connectivity, Unity Image Recognition Library

Design Tools: Figma, Illustrator, Photoshop, Fusion360

Collaboration Tools: Github, Google Docs, Paper Prototyping

Hardware: iPad Pro

Challenges we ran into

  • Translating taps on the device screen (2D image plane) to 3D world space
  • Known Unity AR Issue with Android version 12
  • Merging conflicts between team members when pushing to GitHub Repo
  • Android and Apple device conflicts when building projects
  • Unity's deprecation of UNet (a multiplayer & networking solution)

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Multiplayer functionality
  • AR ray casting and plane detection
  • Designing and building functionality
  • Assessing the core app features to focus on

What we learned

  • How to implement multiplayer functionality
  • Accessibility and Game Prototyping
  • Rapid prototyping and project creation within 36 hours
  • Nuances of different of Unity's player and build settings
  • Time management
  • Github Collaboration

What's next for Lets Build!

  • Further user personalization with a unique sound for each player
  • Geolocation based colors, players can achieve different colors by scanning codes in different locations
  • Adding more colors and block materials to enhance the creative experience
  • Ability to save builds for future sessions
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