Inspiration

I wanted to build something basic, yet comfortable with my knowledge. I initially thought of building a hangman clone, when I found out that the idea was kind of lame in my opinion, following a meetup I had with some game development enthusiasts at the University of Waterloo. To help me expand my ideas, I took a look to see if there was anything interesting within the hackathon, and I came across the Microsoft HoloLens, where I wanted to use it as my input device. Unfortunately, I found out that my laptop did not had the specifications required to install all of the tools I need, and thus a basic kind of hangman was built instead.

What it does

This is a one-player game where what you have to do is find the letters that make up the hidden word. If you select a letter than exists, you earn points. If you choose a letter that's not part of a word, though, you get a strike and a part of the hang figure appears. Be careful, though; every consecutive letter you choose that does not exist, you get a higher number of strikes in the following sequence: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. If you get a letter that does exist, though, you break out of the sequence. In addition, if you consecutively choose letters that exist, you get a combo in your score.

I got 100 words programmed in from this website here: http://www.hexco.com/what-are-the-top-100-hardest-words-to-spell/ (Spoiler warning: this reveals all the possible words that can show up as a hidden word in the game.)

How I built it

I used Unity 5 to put together the polygons needed and both Visual Studio 2015 and C#. The polygons were put together in a hierarchy structure Unity 5 provides me, and the scripts written in C# let me program the behavior of the game as well as how to transition between different states in the game.

Challenges I ran into

I think the challenge for me was adding and placing together the polygons in the game to make up the hanging figure. I did ran into small problems in programming the behavior, but I don't think it was as intense as it was in building up the figure itself visually.

Rather than conventionally hang the figure by a rope loop around its neck, I decided to loop the rope around the figure's waist. As the figure was rotated 60 degrees around the Z axis in Unity, I had to change the rotation of the polygons needed in making up the rope loop to make it look more natural. For simplicity, the loop is made up of 11 scaled capsules with their ends clipping one another. I could have imported a torus from Blender, but I would run into problems with scaling on import.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I think this project was very limiting, because I was only stuck with what I was comfortable with instead of challenging myself as I wanted to by using the Microsoft HoloLens. I would have been able to program the game where I can just move around the holographic figure and pick the letters as I go to get the full 3D view of what's happening with that figure. See, when I tried to start this out, I did spent some time to get the software I need to program the game and run it on a HoloLens emulator, but I eventually found out that my Acer Aspire E5-532 laptop does not meet the required specifications.

This isn't my first hackathon. This is actually my fourth one with MLH, and I am running into trouble with coming up with ideas that turn out into projects that are finished at the end of it. Reflecting on this, I hope that by the next hackathon, things will be much better.

What I learned

I'm able to make a game where others have already built, but just make a bunch of tweaks to make it more unique in a certain sense. I feel like I can do a lot more tweaking and play around with the features not only for game programming and see which one best fits, but also when I have to tune and debug the game when, either I or we, have a prototype of the game.

What's next for MLH Holo HangFigure

Add random holographic colors and animations, and experiment with some more tweaks into the game, such as having the player try to find not one hidden word, but two or more in one level. In addition, add lives and a few bonuses. I should add some subtle music and sound effects as this game is a lot more casual and low-level than intense ones such as Minecraft or Super Mario. What I should do eventually is get the hardware I need to experiment the game for the Microsoft HoloLens.

Can I try it out?

If you have Windows, then yes! Just download or clone the GitHub repo where this is saved, then in the folder, click on "Game Build." The game is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. You need at least Windows XP to run the game, but you should have Windows 7 or later.

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