We were inspired by the hackathon's theme and our own experiences to try out a game-like hack for our project, with a huge focus on sharks, the environment, and healthcare, overall. Further discussion led to the idea of building a hub where all things shark could sit, and, soon, we had not only a game plan on our hands but, too, a database of memes, shark facts, and shark images to work with.
What It Does
The SharkiPedia is best described as a shark wikipedia, where facts of a most realistic or fantastical nature gather to coinhabit the space. SharkiPedia is a database of shark facts, shark memes, shark pics, shark quotes, and all manner of everything shark. Although we did not manage to get the Unity side of things running quite so smoothly, the hack does, for the most part, does what it was intended to do, with the addition of a side chatbot to help users with all their shark-featured needs!
How We Built It
We built this project using HTML5 and CSS to set up our website with, as well as Python to scrape data on sharks from the world wide web. Afterwards, we used Unity 2D and C#, along with a slew of free assets, to build a shark platformer, complete with keyboard-controlled character, collectible items, a score table, and more.
Challenges We Ran Into
Our main trouble was that we spent too long trying to come up with an idea, and even longer, still, deciding on what project to do. Our split design had a lot to do with different areas of expertise, and how it was difficult for most of the team to pick up a new language and new system early on. Between a shark database and a shark game, it made more sense to combine the two into one giant project rather than to simply make a stand-alone game. Time zone differences played another part in our current troubles, but the length of the hack definitely provided us some decent leeway in making up for lost time and accommodating those differences. Lack of communication between all team members was also soon resolved, midway into the project, to ensure everyone was on the same page, but the difficulty in learning Unity 2D in time did lead to a huge shift away from our original project goals..
Accomplishments That We're Proud Of
We are proud to have completed a huge endeavor in such a short time frame, and prouder, still, to have used a different workflow and different platform to do so. Although some of us have worked with Unity 2D in the past, none of us have had a proper schooling of Unity, and following tutorials could only get us so far. Through trial and error, however, we did, indeed, manage to overcome those hurdles and create the foundations for something amazing.
What We Learned
In this hack, we learned how to work together within different time zones and overcome our own hesitations on picking up new IDE's and platforms to better develop the project ahead of us.
What's Next for SharkiPedia
In the future, we plan to give SharkiPedia even more datasets to work from, and to expand the Unity game to include more gaming aspects, such as triggered boxes, health bars and damage outputs, multiple enemies, etc., as well as to work as its intended platformer design.
What we have right now is something of a minimum viable product, where the barest bones of a prototype are visible for all to see. What we planned and what came from that are somewhat different because of the nature of hackathons and their time constraints, but continuing to work on the project later will certainly yield more complete results.