ZapBox: Mixed Reality Hackathon

6 min read
Blog Author

ZapBox: Mixed Reality Hackathon

Blog Author
6 min read
At the end of 2017, Zappar HQ staged a company-wide 2-day mixed reality hackathon using ZapWorks and ZapBox. Teams set about creating awesome MR experiences, with the winning zap being integrated into the ZapBox app in 2018.

At the end of 2017, Zappar HQ staged a company-wide 2-day mixed reality hackathon using ZapWorks and ZapBox. Teams set about creating awesome MR experiences, with the winning zap being integrated into the ZapBox app in 2018. 




Samantha Trinder, Producer 
Caspar Thykier, Co-founder and CEO 
Simon Taylor, Co-founder and Research Director 
Lucas Perez, Creative Director


The winning zap

With an outstanding entry and a unanimous decision from the judges, 'In It To Win It' won 1st prize with their mind-blowing mixed reality tower defence game.


Thoughts from our Judges

"It was great to see so much creativity on show, and for the teams to be able to run wild with their ideas. The demos we saw after just 48 hours (more for those who slept here!) were outstanding."


"Everyone's talents and abilities really showed through from start to finish! The amount of teamwork and dedication was amazing!"


“We built ZapWorks and ZapBox to empower creators to build for the new creative canvases of AR & MR. What the teams devised and implemented in such a short period of time is a testament to their wonderful talents and the power of ZapWorks.”


“It was great to see our creative team having fun creating content for ZapBox. We were using an internal beta build of the ZapBox app which featured support for the cardboard triggers on the ZapBox controllers and I was especially excited to see these being put to use for the first time in ZapBox content experiences.”


Interview with the winners

Fellow producer, Sam gave me his thoughts on his team's experience and future iterations for the official release. 


ST: Can you give people a brief synopsis of the game? 

SD: The game is a mixed reality version of the immensely popular tower defence genre. Users have to defend their base from an endless wave of attacks from enemy forces by deploying turrets along their path. 


Game map WIP


ST: What was your thinking behind creating the game? 

SD: Tower defence games have been prevalent in all areas of gaming for a while now, but I had always wanted to see a fully immersive experience that allows you to really feel like you are involved and in control. We realised that MR was the perfect environment for this type of game and that with the right team, we could really make something entertaining and exciting enough for players to want to come back to time and again.


ST: Talk to me about the functionality of the game, how did you incorporate mixed reality into the overall mechanics? 

SD: The game was built to allow players to use the ZapBox controllers to select different types of defence turrets that they could line-up across the road leading to "Zappar castle". These defences have to shoot down a series of balloons before they reach the castle to drop their bombs.

Mixed reality really takes this to a new level as users are able to ìreachî into the game and place their turrets along the enemies path whilst being fully immersed in the gameplay. 


ST: How does the game progress? 

SD: As the defences shoot down the enemies, they receive gold that the player can then use to either buy more turrets or upgrade the ones they already have. The game is built on an endless wave cycle, so you have to survive as long as you can. 


Phases of "Zappar castle" as HP decrease


ST: What elements did Ed and Jack work on? 

SD: Jack and Ed did some sublime work to make the experience a reality. Ed created some exceptional 3D assets that really helped set the tone of the experience (you can see his handiwork in the images), while Jack's incredibly hard work building and coding the experience all through the day and night, ended up with us having a wonderful game. 


Turret iterations


ST: What iterations do you and the team want to make to the prototype before it goes live in the ZapBox app? 

SD: There are things that the team as a whole still want to add to the prototype before we release in the ZapBox app. We would like to include more maps, new enemy armies and types and potentially more variations of the turret, but for now, watch this space! 


Enemy balloon iterations as the game progresses


Expect to see the fully working prototype of the team's tower defence game in the ZapBox app this year. In the meantime, you can start creating your own AR and MR experiences using ZapWorks