Postmortem: Spell Slinger

Project Insights

This is a blog post supplementing the project Spell Slinger showcased as part of my portfolio. If you wanted to instead look at the project itself, you can find that here.

Background

As part of my Masters degree at my University, I enrolled into a course regarding Augmented Reality. It spanned 4 days and after spending the first day and half learning about the theory behind AR and some projects that made use of the technology, we were asked to form teams and spend the rest of the time making an AR project. I was part of a team of four and, with all of us being Game Studies and Engineering students, we decided to make an AR game. We used Unity3D with C# for it, and the Google ARCore SDK to make AR work.

Design Choices

The idea of a “tower defence” game came to mind, and we decided to have enemies and spell effects to ward them off. The name of the game came from the fact that we wanted the player to be able to sling the spell cards and throw them in a direction, however the ARCore SDK did not allow for that, so we skipped it and went for the player placing cards on the surface and spawning spells that way.

We had a dedicated project manager and they made sure that the team was on the same page and regularly communicating with each other, which greatly improved our efficiency.

The development process was stressful for me as I tried to make some functionalities work, which ARCore did not allow traditionally. I ended up scrapping a lot of the design in favour of having a base that was easier to develop and expand on. Google ARCore was also only supported on a number of phones, which did not include my own. Since I was the programmer for this project, it made testing changes much more difficult when we werent working at the same place.

What I learnt

Since this was my first time working with AR, I had no idea what to expect in terms of difficulty. I learnt to RTFM before diving into development, as some functionalities I spent a while developing, were already part of the SDK. I’ve wanted to work on another AR project since and plan to do that in the future, whether independently or as part of an organisation.

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