And just like that, it’s over. Yesterday was the engineering design expo, where we showcased our projects.
The Last Week
Over the last week, I was able to fix a number of bugs and work some polish features out. I fixed some issues with scaling, some with touch management, and I managed to fix a major problem I had where I could not get clients to connect to each other reliably (I was dealing with regioning issues, as it turned out). Unfortunately, I was unable to ultimately get both AR and networked multiplayer working reliably in the same client, but I was able to fix a number of issues plaguing both, so I had a phone to show off AR and my laptop to show off Networking at the expo.
At the expo, I had a fairly quiet showing. I got some compliments on the arrangement of my poster (based off a D&D 5e Character Sheet) and the project’s name, which were nice, if unimportant. I had a fairly modest demo, so I wasn’t expecting to catch too many peoples’ eyes, but I think I had more people stop by then expected. People generally didn’t seem too interested in my demos when they did stop by, nor were they particularly interested in hearing about the troubles I ran into with networking. Most of my good conversations involved why I wanted to do this project and discussions about how the scope of the project changed and why I opted to include networked multiplayer halfway through.
Most people who stopped by had enough knowledge about D&D to know that combat would at least have the potential to take a long time, and people who played tabletop RPGs generally agreed that a tool like Familiar would be useful.
All in all, it’s hard to call Familiar a success. However, I think in the end I got much closer to my goal than I had expected, and I think I learned a lot along the way. Naturally, this project taught me a fair bit about time management and scoping, and I got some useful skills in ARCore and Photon along the way.
If I were to do this project again, I think the biggest thing I would have done differently would have been to try and stick with Vuforia. Learning ARCore was nice, but I think I let myself get too carried away with the imperfections within Vuforia and modern AR tech in general. I think that, ideally, I would have instead operated with a much less realistic board, with tiles up to something like 8 inches by 8 inches, and created something that could be scaled to something more realistic as the technology improves. This is a line I’m interested in continuing down in the future, as I think it’s promising, and I still believe that the original idea for Project Familiar has potential.