Friday, January 4, 2013

Carleton Quest Now Available in the App Store

I celebrated New Year's by getting my first iPhone app into the App Store! It's a story-based QR code activity (currently but probably not permanently called Carleton Quest) intended to help new students at Carleton University learn their way around campus.

Students will be asked to visit various locations relevant to both their own faculties (such as their Dean's Office) and to all students (for instance, the services available at the library).  At each location, they have to scan a QR code in order to continue.  While there are free QR code scanners available, I wanted to create a self-contained app that allowed me to put certain constraints on what can be scanned when.  I wrote an engine that can dynamically read a game file and run whatever story you want.  The Carleton app includes a linear story as well as a few branching choices and two mini-scavenger hunts that allow you to choose what items you want to find.

The first version is complete, but not terribly fancy looking as of yet.  We're going to test it with new students who are starting at Carleton this week, and use their feedback to tweak the story and improve the app.  We're also planning on hiring a graphic designer to help jazz up the interface.  But the plain look is totally fine for now, since walking around campus and learning the layout is the important part, not what's on the screen.

(The 'we' in this case is the Student Experience Office and Communication Officer Mike Reynolds.  Everyone has been awesome to work with, and I'm looking forward to continuing with this mutually beneficial project!)

All in all, I'm quite pleased with how painless getting into the App Store ended up being, despite the horror stories and holiday shutdown.


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