Inspiration

Children get antsy during travels, causing additional stress for their parents (and other travellers). Simultaneously, children can pick up on their parents' emotions - causing them to feel stressed, too, especially for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who needed a way to prepare for a flight without going to the airport. We desired a solution to improving the air travel experience for these children and their families.

What it does

Travel buddy takes children through the process of airport procedures ahead of the flight date. The app will prepare them for these procedures through a series of mini-games relating to the process. During the in-flight portion of the trip, Travel Buddy will teach children how to be polite to staff and other passengers. Each flight will unlock different games relating to nearby landmarks. This creates a fun environment for kids to constantly want to try new and different games on every flight. The games are designed to be played for long periods of time, with milestones and achievements to engage the children while on the flight, no matter how many times they replay the games.

How we built it

UI/UX design We started off by doing research in order to better understand the problem and gain insights from passengers. Our goal is to enhance the travel experience, not only for the children themselves but also for other passengers. After gaining some insights, we ideate some solutions and try things out in a low-fidelity wireframe. Finally, we created the visual designs in Adobe Illustrator, and polished the final interactive prototype in Adobe XD.

Game demo Built using the Unity Game Engine

Challenges we ran into

As we had no prior experience working in Unity or Back End Development, bringing our group's game to life proved to be a challenge. We learnt everything from scratch, even taking 30 minutes to figure out how to collaborate on a Unity project. At the beginning of TAMUhacks, we brainstormed ideas and settled on one. After talking to mentors several hours into the hackathon we decided to pivot to a prototype focused submission instead of a full functioning game. Only developing the main ideas such as the basics of the flight engine database and the mini-game the children would play with in flight. Pivoting ideas well into the hackathon added an extra challenge regarding the time we have to flesh out and develop our ideas.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

On the development side, we are very proud of how the mini-game over a landmark functions correctly. This gave a better idea of the feel of the game would be represented. We are also proud of being able to extract American Airlines' Flite Engine API into the app and taking only wanted information fields such as the flight number or duration of a flight.

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