Inspiration

We were inspired by cookie clicker/idle mobile games and their functionality, such as virtual pet collector games. We wanted to make something similar in order to keep the fun and relaxing aspect of an idle farming game, while allowing users to explore the different ways in which they could help protect the environment, as that was the theme for this hackathon. We decided to combine and expand on these ideas to create something unique with added features, and Plantverse was born.

What it does

The Plantverse app is an idle farming app in which users can plant and grow their own virtual garden. Once planted, the plants will automatically produce currency, which the user can use to buy more plants and level the current ones up. The currency can also be spent in the plant collecting gacha, an added feature that engages the user in an exciting mystery plant collecting game. Information on the plants that are collected and grown by the user can be found in the Plant Library, a database of information and photographs on common but also exotic global plants. This database also includes external resources for the user to learn what they can do to protect endangered species and guides on how to grow plants of their own in real life. Over time, the user would grow and expand their virtual garden, learn more about different species of plants, and act to protect the environment in real life.

How we built it

We designed and coded the Plantverse application on Axure RP Team, a javascript based program that facilitates the use of visual elements. Jolyan, our artist and designer, designed and drew the visual elements in our application, including all of the plant designs and drawings, using Adobe Fresco. Daniel, our front/back end developer and editor, edited our video pitch on Wondershare Filmora. Sarah, our front/back end developer and researcher, researched and put together the flashcards in the plant library, including the descriptions, facts, photographs, and external resources.

Challenges we ran into

The main challenge we ran into was Axure’s slow processing of elements, images, and animations. In order to work around these laggy load times, we needed to figure out a way to optimize and shorten our code. For example, a task that was coded to be done in multiple steps could be shortened to only a couple steps, and our team worked together to come up with creative solutions to these problems. Furthermore, there was a point at which the code did not save properly, and we spent a while recovering some of our previous progress.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This was our very first time making an idle farming game, as well as experimenting with a gacha system and balanced rates of appearance. We’re proud that we were able to step out of our comfort zones for this hackathon and implement a mobile application with features that none of us were familiar with beforehand. We’re also glad that we were able to surmount the obstacles that we came across during the process in creative and innovative ways.

What we learned

Over the course of two days, our team learned how to implement new features and were able to add new skills to our mobile application development tool belts. We also learned how to optimizely incorporate the functions of Axure RP Team in-depth. In addition, we found that we worked much more efficiently when our team considered each of our teammates’ skills and stuck to our strengths to work collaboratively. We had a blast working on this project and really enjoyed SimpliHacks 2.0 :)

What's next for Plantverse

Next, we would like to further develop and improve Plantverse into a mobile application incorporating the current features and more. The ability to create and customize your profile, as well as being able to request friends and visit friends’ gardens, would create a more personalized experience for the user. There could be additional educational opportunities if the user was able to grow multiple greenhouse gardens each with their own climate; plants grown in each garden would be climate or region specific.

Currently, only the "Common Fern", "Succulent", and "Danedlion" plants function in the plant collection. Given more time, our next steps would have been to complete the entire plant collection so you could drag, drop, and upgrade all the plants you see in the list.

We would also like to create a beta version of our app and collect feedback from beta testers in order to further improve our app. We would advertise the beta version to the public using social media and websites. Overall, we would love the opportunity to continue developing Plantverse and to grow (pun not intended) a community of environment enthusiasts!

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