Part of my recently completed NSF project on Grid-Based Material Handling was to develop a K-12 game to communicate the essence of high-density storage and computational complexity in a game format. The original plan was to build several physical board games (see prototype) and send them to colleagues I thought might be interested, but that was so 2007.
Shortly after I submitted the proposal, Apple announced the iPad and, of course, “that changed everything.” Building an interactive game on a tablet device was clearly the way to go, so we did indeed change everything. An electronic game is infinitely scalable; my board game was not.
Box Rush is an interactive game built (ironically) on the Android platform. You can download it here. We hope to release a version for iOS in the coming months.
Rather than describe the design, I’ll let you download the game to see how intuitive it is. Users can login with their Facebook accounts, and the system maintains global best solutions, so users can see how their solutions compare with other users around the world. Many of the levels are easy, but many are not. We have not computed optimal solutions, so crowdsourcing will have to suffice! I am hopeful that we will be able to develop extensions to this game in the coming year.
I’d like to thank Joseph Shanahan, an undergraduate wireless engineering major here at Auburn. Joseph did an outstanding job on the design and execution of the game. If you are interested in having him develop for you, please see his site LearnJavaFast.com.
Many thanks to the National Science Foundation, which sponsored the research and this outreach effort.