Just last weekend was the 7th Wooly Fair, an arts and culture festival in Providence, RI. My wife was asked to perform, and I went with her to planning meetings to see how I could contribute to the fair. Being an engineer, not an artist, I thought "maybe I can write an app for the fair!" Thus, the Wooly Fair QR code game for Android was born:
Two weeks before the fair, people started thinking about the logistics and asked "does it work for iPhone?" No, sorry, it's an Android app. "Does it work for BlackBerry?" I see a trend.
In the interest of being inclusive, I quickly decided, "well, if they have a QR code scanner on their smartphone, I can make the app web-based, then everyone can play." 12 hours later, I had this:
Not bad! It's my first web-app that targets mobile, which actually makes it really easy to develop (say it with me: no IE!) Better yet, Android, iPhone and BlackBerry 6 all use WebKit, which supports a fair amount of CSS3 and HTML5 features!
It runs AppEngine, so deployment is trivial. Playing the game doesn't require any registration or login, so the user experience is fairly seamless. Every time a user scans a code like http://wooly-fair.appspot.com/card?id=1af349d0 it adds that code to your list of found items, which is stored in a long-lived session.
The game serves as a good way to get people to explore their physical space, maybe look at exhibits they wouldn't. It also catalogs what things a participant looked at, and each 'card' includes a link to more content about what they scanned. So later on, they can go back and say "remember that artist? What were they called? Oh yeah I scanned it, let me go look it up in the game." Finally, the app also includes useful things like an event schedule and map, to help attendees find what they're interested in.
I'm going to make the game into a generic platform, tentatively called "QuiRk" (get it?) that anyone can customize and use for their event. Interested? Let me know!