This was my second visit to MIT's Reality Virtually Hackathon, and I really wanted to make something more fun, and purrfurrably cat-themed.
One team member wanted to make an idle game, and another wanted to do something with ARCore. Our first concept was a cat dating game, but that was kinda weird so we opted for a game where you hang out with cats to get to know them and find the purrfect match...for adoptions not dating. Thus Cat Match AR was born, and it's actually pretty cute and fun. I really enjoyed that hackathon and learning more about augmented reality.
Here is our description for Devpost...
We all love cats and wanted to make a fun experience in AR interacting with cats. The idea of a cat matching app lent to the opportunity to also help real animals find families.
What it does
Cat Match AR is an idle game with 5 inputs: pet, feed, play, swap cat to left, and swap cat to right. The player is timed while they interact with a variety of adorable animated cats in the comfort of their own homes through Augmented Reality by petting the kitties, giving the kitties treats, and playing with the kitties. Depending on the cat's profile, each kitty's approval meter will fill or empty accordingly to how much they enjoy the activity. Player's can visit multiple kitties to find the kitty that they get along with the best. At the end of their time, the player is given their "purrfect match" and their stats so they can see what kind of interactions the player prefers. This is to help them understand their kitty preferences for actual adoption.
How we built it
We used Unity 3D and the ARCore SDK.
Challenges we ran into
Learning how to use the ARCore SDK with Unity in such a short period of time was a big challenge this weekend. That and keeping it working throughout our modifications. It's a new technology and is still being developed, so documentation and stability are still in the beginning stages. Mentors were a great resource and helped immensely.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are honestly proud of getting it working at all. It's the little achievements throughout the process that make it so rewarding. All of those little aha-moments give you a boost of energy and help you realize how important the small things are in technology. We're also proud of managing our time and scope effectively during the hackathon so that we were well-rested, fed, and minimized stress.
What we learned
We got a jumpstart on AR and ARCore, which will be hugely helpful as we continue to pursue AR development in the future.
What's next for Cat Match AR
The Big Picture is to connect the game to animal shelters and allow them to create avatars for real cats in the game, as well as improve the profiles to incorporate more personality attributes of the cats for more accurate results. An "idle observation mode" allowing the kitty avatar to imitate the personality of their real-life cat would be helpful to allow players a chance to see how the real cats they're interacting with might act in their home. The avatars would give cats that are "less attractive" a better chance at being adopted, and players a better idea of the types of cat personalities that suit them best so both cat and adopted family are better matched and happier together. We would also like to add mechanics to generate paid content to earn donations for cat rescues and shelters. In the future, we would like to develop the same kind of game with dogs.
Try it out