The learning that is the hallmark of hackathons inspired us to create a game that would be just as educational. With all the sicknesses going around, we thought it could be important to help our fellow programmers prevent getting real life bugs while they were trying to fight software bugs. We did this by researching actual functions of the immune system and implementing them into the game in a way that promotes fun and learning simultaneously. For example, all of the white blood cells in the game act just as they do in the human body!
What it does
The main goal of our project was to allow our users to have a fun experience while also learning about the immune system.
We executed this through a couple distinct steps. The first part was the main game where you attempted to grow your disease in number by attacking defenseless red blood cells. As you grow your army of bacteria, it gets harder to defend them all from the counter attack of numerous white blood cells.
When a disease cell hits a white blood cell, you enter a mini-game, based around the features of how the actual white blood cell interacts with the disease, whether that be absorbing and the ripping it into shreds, or spraying out toxins to destroy the disease.
How I built it
We decided to build it in Unity. As new unity users, we thought that it would be an interesting challenge in addition to being a good way to implementing our idea.
Challenges I ran into
None of us had worked with Unity before, and that was the largest problem, but also the greatest decision. Over the course of the hackathon, we all learned how to use Unity at a reasonable level. We started off knowing nothing, so we decided to strategically split up to cover more tutorials and more of the API. By the end, we were able to combine our knowledge and teach each other of what we had learned. We struggled with integrating the graphics and built-in features with traditional code, and figuring out how Unity interacted with other aspects of itself were core problems while working on our project. At the very end of our project, we also had a difficulty with merging two different sources of code.
Additionally, we ran into some issue with integrating our code. We each focused on one aspect of the project; however, we neglected to plan for difficulties in merging our portions. Though we all have experience with Github, the added challenge of Unity and the new file types which it presented. As a result, we ran out of time and have individual pieces each in our own repositories.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud of trying to learn Unity, and succeeding in working our way around. Working in C# and with graphics for the first time was equally exciting.
What I learned
First, we all learned how to use Unity at a much better level. We progressed a great deal in our knowledge in the creation of games through unity by coming together as a team and having each individual shift roles between student and teacher. We learned how to integrate graphics, animation and code, and we gained valuable skills of self learning in a restricted time period.
Second, we did research on the immune system to make the game as educational as possible. We learned about the 5 varieties of white blood cells that are commonly in our bloodstream, and how they interact with diseases.
What's next for Pathogen
We hope to implement more of the mini games for each of the different white blood cells as our next step. Later on, we are hoping on adding different regions of the body, with different diseases, such as viruses or parasites, or different bacteria.