Some photos from Shakti Lamba who is currently testing Symbai in the Chhattisgarh state in north eastern India.
The whole system is solar powered, and provides it’s own networking via the Raspberry Pi synchronisation node shown here. The android tablets also recharge from the same power source. The Raspberry Pi networking is a direct descendant of the experiments we carried out in London during the Sonic Bike workshop.
Here are three of the tablets syncing their data – photographs for people to identify each other (names are used differently to western culture), audio recordings of verbal agreements (a requirement in preliterate societies), and information of who knows who.
More on this free software project, links to source etc over at foam kernow.
A release of Bumper Crop is now up on the play store with the source code here. As I reported earlier this has been about converting a board game designed by farmers in rural India into a software version – partly to make it more easily accessible and partly to explore the possibilities and restrictions of the two mediums. It’s pretty much beta really still, as some of the cards behave differently to the board game version, and a few are not yet implemented – we need to work on that, but it is playable now, with 4 players at the same time.
The 3D and animation is done using the fluxus engine on android, and the game is written in tinyscheme. Here’s a snippet of the code for one of the board locations, I’ve been experimenting with a very declarative style lately:
;; description of location that allows you to fertilise your crops
;; the player has a choice of wheat/onion or potatoes
(place 26 'fertilise '(wheat onion potato)
;; this function takes a player and a
;; selected choice and returns a new player
(lambda (player choice)
(if (player-has-item? player 'ox) ;; do we have an ox?
;; if so, a complete a free fertilise task if needed
(if (player-check-crop-task player choice 'fertilise 0)
(player-update-crop-task player choice 'fertilise)
;; otherwise it costs 100 Rs
(if (player-check-crop-task player choice 'fertilise 100)
(player-add-money player -100) ;; remove money
player choice 'fertilise)
(place-interface-crop)) ;; helper to make the interface
Testing the board game, which you can download on this page:
The game on tablet:
This is the game running on a phone:
Bumper crop is an android game I’ve just started working on with Dr Misha Myers as part of the Play to Grow project: “exploring and testing the use of computer games as a method of storytelling and learning to engage urban users in complexities of rural development, agricultural practices and issues facing farmers in India.”
(Warning – contains machine translated Hindi!)
I’m currently working out the details with artist Saswat Mahapatra and Misha, who have been part of the team developing this game based on fieldwork in India working with farmers from different regions. They began by developing a board game, which allowed them to flexibly prototype ideas with lots of people without needing to worry about software related matters. This resulted in a great finished product, super art direction and loads of assets ready to use. I very much like this approach to games design.
From my perspective the project relates very closely to groworld games, germination x, as well as the more recent farm crap app. I’m attempting to capture the essence of the board game and restrict the necessary simplifications to a minimum. The main challenge now that the basics are working is providing an approximation of bartering and resource management between players that board games are so good at, into a simple interface – also with the provision of AI players.
Source code & Play store (very alpha at the moment!)