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