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Project course led to the creation of a mobile game – collecting sensor data from the environment using a magic wand

Students created a mobile game that’s played on a real map of the players’ surroundings. They collect phone sensor data from the environment with a magic wand and use it in battles.

In the yearly Software Project course of the Department of Computer Science students pick an interesting project from options proposed by companies or by Aalto University. The Balance of Magic mobile game started from the students’ desire to do something exceptional in game development.

They wanted to incorporate the real world, augmented reality, mixed reality and the Internet of Things into a single game.

‘The premise was a Bluetooth device, a magic wand, which is connected to a mobile phone and collects sensor values from the real world. The game is played on a real map. As a player moves around he or she can battle the game’s characters approaching on the map. The collected sensor data becomes handy in fights: ice energy mined from the environment can be used to fight a fire character,’ describes Ville Hiltunen, who was responsible for the development of the magic wand.

The problem-solving skills exhibited by the team were very impressive

Antti Nurminen

The team made up of eight students first had problems adapting the size of the project to their aims, contents and hourly limits of the course. The ability to follow through with a project plan is one of the most important lessons learned from the course, and there the team received help from the project owner, Aalto University Researcher Antti Nurminen.

‘The problem-solving skills exhibited by the team were very impressive, even though the team encountered many technical challenges due to the project’s large scope and versatility,’ Nurminen explains.

During the project, the student team also learned the importance of the interaction and seamless teamwork: every member must, at all times, be aware of the project’s overall status.

‘Even a small change in the project plan and design or a specific area of the project can have a significant effect on the project on the whole’ says Jouni Osmala, who focused on game graphics and their implementation.

In addition to Hiltunen and Osmala the bold project team’s members included Miro Aurela, Atte Haarakangas, Eero Mänty, Marko Rajala, Stefan Stenstrand and Niclas Vauhkonen. The results of the project are in use in Aalto’s new NEPPI course (Networked Partnering and Product Innovation), and, when applicable, in the EU H2020-funded SOFIE project.

A new Software Project course began once again in September, and a total of around 30 topics have been proposed by partners such as Elisa, Futurice, Relex, Sievo and KONE. Students get to pick the most interesting ones.

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