Our product is a combination of different motivations. First, we wanted to consider what programming could do on a wholesome, universal level. Our primary focus was on education. Secondly, this is our team's first hackathon, so we were aware of our limitations and inexperience and factored that into the concept of creating a finished product. A finished product was essential to us. We budgeted our time and we made the edits that we had to. All this so that we would be able to say at the end of SD Hacks, this is what we made. While we still have visions for what we would add or what Risa's Garden can become, we were aware of how important it is to be able to show people a finished product. Third, we were influenced by how we come from different backgrounds beyond computer science, such as art and music, and decided we wanted to make a game or some sort of interactive story. We were inspired by the direction western indie games have taken, with emphasis on storytelling and atmosphere.
What it does
Risa's Garden is an interactive storybook! As Risa puts love and care into her garden, so can you!
Risa's Garden is a story for kids with consciously constructed themes of investment, diligence, and friendship. The premise for Risa's Garden is the idea that if you take care of a garden, there will be flowers. But if you don't, then there will be weeds. Roy took this idea from his past teacher to create a story that explores this theme in more depth and synergizes this with the visual and sound components of the story.
How we built it
We used Adobe Flash to create the program with Actionscript 3. The art was created with a combination of PaintTool SAI and Photoshop.
Challenges we ran into
Sound effects. Thanks to Eddy we had a library of different sounds we planned from the start on using to give a better, more dimensional game feel. We understood that sound effects give a sensory feedback that is essential when making an interactive experience. Unfortunately, we had difficulties implementing them into the program and if we had more time we would absolutely integrate sound effects for the actions. We had many sound problems during the creation process, so we made the executive decision to invest in the polish of existing sound elements of narration and music. Honestly, all in all, any challenges we ran into, any bugs we faced, we managed to solve together. Any human problems, such as creative fatigue, was solved by looking after each other (even if sometimes people wouldn't listen at first).
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are so proud of the fact that for our first hackathon we have made a completed project that we can show people. It is also accessible to the general public; if anyone asks us what we made at SD Hacks, we can tell them we made an interactive children's book. It's not abstract, it's tangible. Everyone will be able to understand what that means.
We are also very proud of everyone on our team. We could not have not made Risa's Garden without every member of the team. Everyone contributed something unique. When you work with friends who value teamwork, every step of the process is fun, even when you're dying.
What we learned
We learned the basics of Actionscript 3 when used for Flash. The most we learned about was the development process. We haven't yet gotten the development experience from beginning to end in class. We exercised budgeting skills by asking ourselves how much can we do in this time? What do we want to be done by this time? Do we have to cut this element? We exercised what it means to work in a team and understood what it meant for each member to be a functioning unit in order to make the most progress. Most of all, we learned how satisfying it is to have a completed project you made with your friends.
What's next for Risa's Garden
Our original dream for Risa's Garden was to make an educational experience for children. It was originally intended to be a typing game, but then in the interest of a finished product we budgeted our time and made cuts for our timeline. We wanted to unite this actual somatic education with the moral education of themes that you can see now in the story. For our team in the future, we absolutely intend on making more developed stories, experiences, and products.