Update: Ericsson Labs has now posted on their blog about the challenge.

I’m back from DreamHack and things went down well. The last task was a bit too hard (well, impossible really – until we released clues) but otherwise we got a very good response.

The best thing about the event was however that me and Emanuel participated in the Ericsson Labs developer challenge. So this is a story of how I won a PS3 by proof of concept alone.

The goal of the competition is to develop the most creative, useful or fun mobile or web application that uses at least one of the APIs available at Ericsson Labs. Your application must be a runnable example and you must be able to show that your idea works. However a few flaws here and there won’t hurt.

This was the competition. Use some of Ericssons tools that help developer do fun things to do something fun.

The whole process was extremely fun actually! It started out by me having an idea about doing some classical positioning-game, like tag but with GPS locations and covering a city or something like that. The idea has been tried and proved many times so I thought it would be quite trivial to implement a copy of that idea. But the idea had a few flaws, when talking it over with Emanuel we bounced the idea back and forth a few times and came up with the best concept we could.

On the day after, we started coding after the first half of our own competition was done, at like 20:00 or so. We stopped coding again at 05:00 with some sort of basic working model of the application. It was pretty intense and we ran into more technical issues like Java not being able to handle SQLite3 rather than coding issues. But at 05:00 we thought we had something good and went to bed, only to get up again at around 10:00 to start working out the finer details and some of the absolute worst bugs (essentially crippling the entire app =P).

After 5 hours or so of more coding on the morning, we demoed the app, got some basic approval and sent in the contribution. We really had no idea If we were going to win or not as the judges gave absolutely no impression of what they thought until the competition was over.

In the end though, we stood up on the stage as first prize winners taking home about 9000 SEK of awesome stuff.

HTC Hero PS3 + Rockband

We split it so Emanuel took the phone and I took the PS3 + Rockband, worth around the same amount.

It was extremely fun going from idea to just providing a proof of concept and get rewarded for that, instead of having to put in the additional 80% of work that takes a product from proof of concept to finished.

So what was our idea I hear you asking? It was actually pretty fun. The front-page of our temporary website we put up explains it pretty well.

banzai is all about the fun of the chase. It was originally designed as an urban tag-game played out in real life. Because of the accuracy of the Ericsson Labs Web Location API we switched our market to people with access to large areas to play around in while using some kind of motor vehicle, the urban city-based game might be revised when the Web Location uses GPS to a larger extent. The game is about finding "the chosen one". The game is initiated at a given time and place, you choose which games you want to participate in yourself. Once the game is started you will get the location of everyone else. Completely at random, one player will be informed that he is the chosen one. It is then the goal of the chosen one to stay away from everyone else. > > # Points > > Points will be given at three times. > * When the chosen one is caught, the round is over. At this point, everyone needs to get 500 meters away from each other as fast as possible. The sooner you are 500 meters from everyone else, the more points you get. When everyone is clear a new round will begin! The number of rounds is defined in the particular game you choose to join. > > * The chosen one will get points as long as he is not caught, the chosen one is deemed caught when everyone else is within 200 meters of him. > > * The other players will get points when spending time close to the chosen one, the amount of points they get will depend on how close they are to the chosen one. The proximity to the chosen one is displayed for each player at all times with a bar diplaying 0 - 100% where 100% is within catching distance. >

So that was it. A screenshot might be in order.

The look of the site

As you can see, a list of players show up, some controls for the map to zoom and stuff like that (all of the map stuff here was one of the Ericsson API’s we used) and your score as well as the distance to the chosen one.

All the locations here for the players drawn on the map were polled every 30 seconds by Emanuels backend server, while I wrote the user interface, map stuff and calculating distances and scoring.

All in all it actually works surprisingly well, and I’m quite proud of having done it in 15 or so hours. The idea is pretty solid as well but obviously needs GPS and not triangulation like the Ericsson API was using.

What is the result of all this? We might get some small recognition withing Ericsson Labs, we own full rights to the idea and code that we’ve done if we want to continue building on it. But the only result I’m really seeing right now, is this.

My new setup

From the money I will make by selling the PS3 I bought an xbox 360 Elite so I can play Modern Warfare 2 with Emma (and I like the xbox controls more than the PS3 ones). I also bought a new 24” widescreen display that I’ve hooked up to both my computer and the xbox. So when I’m not playing I have an additional 24” screen and when I want to play, I just turn on the xbox and switch the screen over with the press of a button.

Xbox 360 Elite

Pretty awesome.