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How low-code managed to bring people together
in times of social distancing

This case study is aimed at bringing the fun and entertaining side of
low-code into focus during a time of social distancing, and highlights
solutions to the challenges of multiplayer gaming.

Executive Summary

The journey of keeping alive a tradition among friends during a global pandemic using low-code.  Replicating an offline experience in an online environment, this is a case study documenting the fun side of low-code.


Facts

Industry

Technology

Departments

IT

Duration

Two weeks

Challenge

Right before social distancing hit us all, Dale Warner, Plant an App Partner and President of MBI Systems Corp. used to enjoy taking his mind off work every Friday evening by joining his friends while playing a domino game: Texas 42.


When the global pandemic hit and social gatherings were considered unsafe, the simple joys of playing games with friends were taken away.  Dale began the search for a way to replicate that experience in the digital space, but he soon realized that the apps that were available fell short, since they either required a bulky PC game engine installation or were designed for a single player.  


When he decided to use low-code to build a browser-based solution, a technical challenge was quickly apparent.  Each player's game surface  would need to update immediately when a move was made.


Solution

Addressing an enterprise-related challenge with low-code is quite common, and many low-code platforms compete for that market.  Using low-code to meet a purely social need is far less common, but having expertise and drive makes it possible.  Since Dale had deep experience using Plant an App tools and the motivation to game with friends, he quickly made plans and got started.



Within a few hours, Dale had sketched out the game layout, built the database necessary for game play, and started building the five components for the game. Those included the display of the player’s hand, the display of the dominoes in play, two displays of dominoes taken by each team, and a control area to handle shuffling.


Two components of the low-code platform Plant an App were selected as the core of the game design.  Action Grid provided each of the domino displays, and an Action Form was used to handle the input for the Chat feature.


The challenge of immediately updating the game surface when a player moved, which is a form of co-browsing, was addressed by implementing a third-party notification service called “Pusher Channels”.   When a player moves, calls to this service notifies each of the other player’s browsers to refresh the impacted components of the game.


Low-code bridged the offline and online world by powering a game that could be played using almost any browser.  Because it is browser-based, it can be played on diverse devices like smartphones, tablets, PCs, and laptops.   The game plays fundamentally like the offline version, yet has some unique benefits like automatic scoring, chat, and a coaching mode for new players.


Results

Texas 42 games were played during social distancing

Texas 42 have been played between 18 friends located only a few houses away and also between players separated by over 300 miles.

MVP ready in a couple of hours


From sketching out the game layout to building the database necessary for game and five components, the whole time involvement needed to have a first MVP was only a matters of hours. That's the speed of low-code!

Co-Browsing

The technical challenge of co-browsing was resolved, opening up the possibility of use beyond gaming.

Plant an App “Fun-Tech”

A tournament version of Rock-Paper-Scissors was developed to demonstrate Fun-Tech in a quick and easy way. It was first played on June 10, 2020 by 13 players from countries and time zones around the world.

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