Thanks to the efforts of one of our team, Voon-Li Chung, we went on a “virtual scavenger hunt” (later dubbed “the Metrogaine”) last Friday. Voon-Li made it all happen while working on other projects during the last few weeks, and Andrew and I came along for the ride … or run as it were.
The virtual scavenger hunt worked like this:
- There were two “field officers” (in this case, myself and Andrew) who were equipped with phones mounted on chest harnesses,
- There rest of our staff were split up into two teams to guide the two field officers (aptly named Team 1 and Team A) through a Google Meet hangout, and
- Team Zebra consisted of Voon Li, in his “bunker” (pictured below) where he guided the action as our moderator and game master.
All the game-specific technology for the app was written from scratch by Voon-Li:
- an Android app on the field officers’ phones which provided super-fast positioning of the field officer via a back-end API,
- the back-end API which accepted the phone data,
- a web application that connected to the API to obtain the latest coordinates and display them on the map, along with target points. Questions to answer at each point would come up as the field officer moved into range.
Meanwhile, a Google Meet Hangout was also running with the team on it, providing instructions to the field officer about where to go, and providing the rest of the team a view of what was going on out in the field.
At the start of the game, we were provided with a set of target points from Voon-Li, which were displayed on the map (see below). Only the team back in their homes (we’re not office based at the moment due to COVID-19 of course) could see these points on the map, not the Field Officers. So the teams guided the field officers to these points through the Google Meet setup – our chest-mounted phones were also showing a live feed of us running around – and once the phone’s reported location was near the point, then a question popped up for the teams to then answer.
This was a pretty fun and safe way to spend a bit of time on a Friday afternoon, and Andrew and I got to exercise and still remain physically distant from people around us. For the team back in their home offices, they remained socially connected while physically distant, and for Voon-Li, well, he had a great time being the game master and listening and watching us run around in circles.
We learned a lot about various pieces of technology that we used in the project, so there were also a bunch of good outcomes for us there apart from just morale-building, but in these interesting times with a lot of stuff going on around us all, it was great to have some downtime and a bit of fun.
I hope you are all finding ways to stay safe, healthy and happy as well.