Most entertaining hack

Most beautiful hack


We love both anime and computer science and thus we decide to combine them together

What it does

It teaches basic to intermediate computer science concepts within its immersive and engaging storyline. Its broad focus on subject areas including Linux, Operating Systems, Networking, Web, and Cyber Security also helps expose players to different aspects of computer science.

How we built it

We used the ren'py visual novel game engine and sourced character and background art from the public domain (mostly DeviantArt). The storyline is inspired by the many anime and visual novels that we have played.

Challenges we ran into

It is very time consuming to select the right art, compose music, and decide on the script. The engine was not very well documented and the community around it is relatively small, therefore most of the time we have to find workarounds for bugs ourselves.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were very organized and nailed down the storyline at the start so that everyone can work in parallel together. This is very important as the The Scarlet Record consists of 8 chapters, which would be impossible to be achieved linearly.

We ensured as far as possible that there were no productivity blockers for anyone (undecided art/assets, storyline choices) and aimed to resolve these as fast as possible, which is very relevant to software engineering in real life as development output often scales very poorly with the number of engineers. 223 commits as of time of writing - definitely productive!

We managed to accomplish most of what we had envisioned for the story, and are very proud of that.

What we learned

Move fast by working on a minimum viable product before iterating and improving on it.

Follow the principles of Progressive Truthfulness - it is impossible and daunting to create a polished product from the onset. We started from just dialogue, before adding backgrounds, sprites, menu choices, non-linear gameplay, and music.

Orchestrating the art of the project was very challenging as none of us are artists and we have to make do with the best compromise between aesthetics and theming.

What's next for The Scarlet Record

Make more non-linear choices with different endings

Add more dialogue which introduces computer science concepts

Improve the art style of the project and make it more uniform

More character development

More polished writing

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