Donald J. Patterson

Design a Transreality Game (iOS Capstone)

iOS Capstone: Transreality Game

Together with Sam Kaufman, UCI and Coursera, I’ve launched the final class in a six class specialization on Coursera. It’s called “iOS Capstone: Transreality Game”  We designed this one to be the culmination of everything that the students have learned in the previous 5 classes. Over 60,000 students have enrolled so far! The students have a ton of flexibility to design an amazing game, but they are constrained in some very specific ways.  I’m so proud of the students that made it through this whole specialization and excited to see the games they produced.  Some examples are at the bottom of this post.


One of the ways in which mobile applications are unique is in their physicality. We run applications on devices which travel with a person and because of that they have a close relationship with the user. These devices are companions in travel, communication, shopping, entertainment, business and recreation.

We asked the students to design an application which leverages the physical nature of the device to create a game that a user can play on their iOS device – partially with their body. The game is supposed to use different kinds of physical input: touch, orientation, location, light etc. to create a unique entertaining experience for users. We called this project a “Transreality game” because it bridges the online digital reality of a phone with the offline reality of the rest of the world.  And for the record we launched it months before Pokémon GO was on the scene.

iOS Capstone: Design a Transreality Game

Design Constraints!

The game had to be a 2D game using SpriteKit. It had to be an avatar-based game. By this we meant that the game should have some kind of primary character that the user controls in order to play the game. Super Mario is an example of an avatar-based game. Settlers of Catan is an example of a game which is not.

It had to use the physics engine, a particle emitter, sounds and a few other things. Of course it had to use touch AND sensors like (real life) gravity, location (GPS, geofences, etc.), accelerometers, magnetometer, or light.

There had to be multiple views, 5 achievements and most of all should be fun!

Example Designs!

Here are some of the games the students came up with.  You can see them explaining how they met the design constraints.  What you can’t see is the support that they gave each other through the Coursera web site.

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