Video games of old were all about local multiplayer: grabbing a few controllers and playing with friends was what made games magical and worthwhile. However, recently local multiplayer has fallen by the wayside - especially considering the high barrier of entry that having to buy so many controllers and needing a high-powered computer or console creates. PlayMobius was built from the ground-up to fix all that, allowing anyone to participate in fast-paced gameplay with friends using only a smartphone.
What it does
PlayMobius allows for all sorts of interactive games to be made on any platform that can use Socket-IO. Lobbies of these games are hosted on the server, and nearby friends can join the fun by using their smartphone as a controller and entering a room code to join. Along with the PlayMobius platform, we've developed a simple demo game showcasing the features of the smartphone controller.
How we built it
PlayMobius was built with a Flask backend and a ReactJS frontend, both of which use SocketIO to communicate inputs and entering/leaving lobbies. The provided sample game was made in GM Studio 2 using a SocketIO extension.
Challenges we ran into
Game development is difficult and requires a lot of bugfixing and playtesting, which we nearly ran out of time on. In addition, the interconnected nature of the controllers, backend, and game made testing take longer.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We squeezed a lot of features out of ReactJS, even being able to use the phone's gyroscope for a red light/green light minigame. Also, having working interaction between three different levels - the smartphone client, game client, and server - was not an easy feat, and having it all come together in such a short span of time to make something enjoyable is definitely a major source of pride.
What we learned
Don't stick with something that isn't working out if something else can get the job done faster. Have a design done early and make sure the team is on the same page. Murphy's Law is a real thing.
What's next for PlayMobius
Optimizations to allow for smoother gameplay, a more polished demo game, and new games that fully utilize the potential of the accessibility and features of a smartphone controller.