Capture the Owls!

December 22, 2022

December 2022 hosted our second ever “Engineering Week” at Tome where we encourage those who are able to join physically in the office for a number of group activities.  We used this opportunity to try a collaborative “group lab day” where multiple engineers contributed to one project, in this case a game dubbed “Capture the Owls.”

Basic Game Idea

A seemingly endless parliament of Tome Owls have escaped from the nearby Detroit Zoo.  They are landing all over Royal Oak, but can be re-captured (and safely restored to their comfortable zoo lodging) by certified owl catchers (running a specially-developed app) that get close enough to each individual escapee.

Beyond this basic game framework, we had some ideas for fun add-ons, e.g.

  • Implementing AR functionality so you could see your target on your phone screen
  • Integrating with Slack or our other office tools
  • Making the game playable and fun for remote employees who cannot be near the team for Engineering Week
  • Interacting with an owl instead of capturing it (e.g. taking a selfie, gesturing to it, etc)
  • Other “gamification” – e.g. ways to lose your collected owls, challenges between players, and “bonus rounds.”

The team was then free to self-divide into as many groups as necessary to build whatever we could.  Generally, we had a team working on backend development/API/game structure, a team working on a smartphone app, and individuals spinning off to topics that were most interesting to them (e.g. Augmented Reality.)

We ended the day with a fun, playable game!

Per our standard process, we sent out a survey after the lab day.  Polling the team, some of the most common responses were

  1. surprise that we could create something “real” in a single day
  2. would have liked more time to build out the idea further
  3. a fun idea for the next group lab day