QuizWitz Twitter bot and an interview with our developer

Dear lab cats

We have a new tool for you, a Twitter tool!

Yes, you can now play QuizWitz in the comfort of your own Twitter profile. How does it work, you ask? Well, you follow @Ted_Witz, wait for a game to start and answer by either typing the full answer in a reply, or by replying a, b, c or d.

Your answer will be registered by the bot and after a certain amount of time we choose, or you resuest, @Ted_Witz posts the results on Twitter. At the end of a round, the bot will pick a definite winner and who knows, Ted might praise you for your hard work!

The interview


You’re the founder and lead developer at CatLab, that much we know. But how did you come up with the first idea for QuizWitz?

It kind of started with me looking for a game that I could play with my friends. We had already played Scene It until we knew all questions, and even bought the extra questions pack. But after that it was over. There wasn’t any new content to discover.

So how did you get into programming. Did you study it? Did you just start doing it one day?

I think I wrote one of my first games in QBasic on a computer someone got rid of. I think I must have been about ten years old then. After high school I studied applied computer engineering in Ghent. I worked for a couple of years at different companies, and now I’m here.

Do you follow any blogs or sites to keep up with the changes in your industry?

Mostly The Next Web and Dutch site and forum Tweakers. As for games, I try to stay up to date with the Humble Bundles and I’m part of various Facebook groups about indie game development.

Are there any people in the field that inspire you?

Most people that inspire me are total assholes, so I try to only follow them to a certain degree. And answering this of course stops me from mentioning any names. *grins*

You created the bot which allows users to play QuizWitz on Twitter. Can you tell us how you developed this?

The QuizWitz bots was written as a plugin for the QuizWitz game client. We’ve been working hard on making our software moddable, and this Twitter client is the perfect example of this. The Twitter bot will also be available as a standard module, including source code, so people will be able to set up their own QuizWitz bot or to expand upon its functionalities.

Do you have any extra tips or tricks for the people reading this post?

Keep going, I guess? Getting games to the market is no easy deal, but you should at least try, right?

@Ted_Witz Twitter bot screenshots

In this last question, two players that answered a previous question in the round, didn’t answer this particular question. The bot still considers them contestants and awards them 0 points. Neat, isn’t it? So, what do you think of our bot? Would you play against your Twitter friends? let us know in the whiskers box below, or immediately request a round on Twitter via @Ted_Witz!

Interview with our designer about the new QuizWitz website

Dear lab cats

This week’s development post will be about our new website and our designer Katia. We thought it was about time we introduced the people in our team a little bit more. At the same time, you might learn something from the way she works. This post will be a little interview with questions about her work at CatLab and her interests.

The Website

Our new website will approach different people in their unique way.  We created different content for different audiences. A quiz creator will search in a different way than a party quizzer. Someone who loves to play online and talk to people in the community on the other hand, will look for even different terms. We added screenshots at the end of the post if you’re interested, you can also visit them here:

The Interview

First things first though. Here’s our little interview with the designer of the QuizWitz community and website. Do note though that the party game itself was designed by a freelancer before we even knew Katia!

So, what do you actually do for CatLab?

At Catlab I have a varied job. Last year I created the designs for the Catlab-website, QuizWitz-website and QuizWitz community network. I also developed those first two websites. Besides that I’m a helping hand in the front-end development of the game and the social platform.
Furthermore I like to do some social media management so I started the FanFacts-tweets.

What do you study now?

At the moment I study Devine at Howest University College in Kortrijk. Devine is a contraction of design and development so the degree is divided in those 2 parts.
I’m going to my second year where I will learn more about Javascript frameworks, 3D Motion Graphics, API’s, …so I’m very excited to start the new academic year.

How do you keep up with the industry? Are there any blogs or sites you follow regularly?

I follow a few inspiring people on Twitter which helps you to stay up to date. I also like to check inspirational projects on Behance and Codrops. Next to that, I follow some inspiring Facebookpages like CSS Design Awards , creativeBloQ , you the designer and many more.

Could you walk us through the steps you follow when you create a website?

First I like to brainstorm about the content of the website and how to visualize it. In this stage I like to browse through Behance, Pinterest, awwwards.com and cssdesignaward.com
When I’ve got some nice ideas I start sketching and wireframing. After that, when I’m happy with some sketches I start the digital design in Illustrator. At that moment I also brainstorm about some nice effects and I keep good UX in mind.
When the digital design is finished and I got some feedback from third parties, I start with the front-end development.
In the last stage I add some animations and try to test the website as well as possible on a lot of different devices.

Do you look up to any inspiring people in the field?

There are some people I keep an eye on, but it changes because I’m still learning and exploring my way of working. It also depends on the fields they are active in.

Photography

Branding

Webdesign

Illustration/Character design

Can you think of any tips and tricks that might help other people too?

Take your time to get a good result. Relax from time to time and start over when you’re not 100% convinced.
It’s harder to change your design and code afterwards than to start from a strong, well-considered idea.

Screenshots of the new website!

 

Dolumar goes open source

Dear lab cats

We have fascinating news about our first game which we made back in 2008: We decided to make Dolumar open source!

What?

As of now, the game’s code is accessible to everyone. The game will remain online and you can still play, but if you want, you can start using its source code to mess around. Got any ideas for our persistent browser-based game Dolumar?

Find everything you need at GitHub and start puzzling!

Why?

Though Dolumar was once a thriving community, this has faded over the years. Until we can do a complete remake, we decided to enter the realm of Open Source with it! We know people from many different backgrounds were present in the community, including coders and game developers. We want to give them a chance to host their own Dolumar games, or perhaps push some interesting changes.

Great!

This opens up new possibilities for an old and rusty, but unique and challenging game we loved to play ourselves! We hope you can see some treasure in there.

If there’s any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us. Also, don’t forget to share this news with the world!

How QuizWitz defines the roles in its community

Dear Labcats, dear developer friends

As you might know, we’re working on QuizWitz. It’s a party quiz game with its own community, something our mentor at StartIt@KBC knows a thing or two about (this is an understatement). He urged us to get to the bottom of our platform and its future users. This post is an overview of what we defined so far. (You can also read this post on Gamasutra!)

The Community

A community is like a little society in itself, and in a society everyone fulfills another role, just like in real life. In QuizWitz, users will do very different things depending on why they join or come back to the game. From the ‘why’ we can also deduct the ‘what’, and that’s a valuable insight for any developer.

If we know how and why it will be used, we can not only understand our users better, we can reach out to them and provide the right care and features. This means it’s not only a marketing tool to get to know your future players better. It serves a bigger purpose. To do this exercise, we imagined QuizWitz in 5 years time, being a vibrant ecosystem.

The Roles

We decided to define 4 roles for our community. We imagine each of them has a preference in terms of features. First of all, we tried to define the ‘why’ and ‘what’ starting from our most important game elements.

The overview below shows our three different feature categories: The multiplayer mode, the community network and the single player mode. Depending on why the user joins the community, he or she will have other goals. Those are shown between the brackets behind the role names. The colored features are the favorites per role.

As you can see, the first role we call the Tourist. They’re a fun bunch looking for a quick game with friends or family. They also like to explore and play single player mode if struck by boredom. This role doesn’t register upfront and doesn’t engage too much in the community.

The Journalists are a whole other story. They love to mingle with other users and let their voice be heard. They register to comment and rate rounds, as well as play quick games against friends. They love a bit of everything and like to test their knowledge against Professors.

As Famous Quizzers play to grow in the multiplayer rankings, they will organize fun evenings for their friends and family. They also love to show them who knows the most about these topics. They will create their own rounds about topics in which they feel other quiz creators missed things.

Professors like to play against other Professors, but their favor testing their knowledge about different kinds of trivia. They love to explore the network on their own and give feedback, as well as create unique quiz rounds about topics they know much about.

Conclusion

We believe QuizWitz has everything to facilitate these different roles, though we still have a huge job ahead of us. It’s a good thing we’re no quitters! Every community needs its players, so please do share the QuizWitz name and fame.

If you have any thoughts or comments about these roles, please do leave your paw in the comments below or tell us on Facebook, Twitter or in an email!

Thanks a lot and don’t forget to kiss the cat goodnight!

QuizWitz update: Game controller designs and the feedback evening

Dear lab cats!

Past few weeks of July, we’ve been updating the codes on our CatLab website and designing a new version of our game controller views! So tests were necessary, and that’s why we organized a true “QuizWitz play and action evening event for awesome people”!

Feedback Event

We didn’t call it that of course but we organized a fun evening with some friends from each of us to create a diverse group of ‘test subjects’. There were drinks, snacks and feedback from 12 people (we just didn’t have the space for more)!

It was a fun evening with lots of quiz questions and winners! As people left for home, we immediately started to plan our next fedback evening. Here are some pictures but we have some more on our QuizWitz Facebook page!

Controller designs

The game controller screens were an issue to tackle. We wanted to give players more instant feedback as they answered questions. Our designer Katia came up with some fun designs you can see here. Better yet, test them in action in QuizWitz directly!

Roles on the platform

If QuizWitz is to become a living and vibrant community of people, we have to see it as a tiny society. By defining roles people can assume, we can reach the right people and design the right features for them (and you). We’re working on that by thinking ahead, looking at what different people will be doing on QuizWitz in 5 years. More on this will follow later in August.

Screencast

Lastly, we’re preparing to create some videos in which we go over our updates and give insight in our development process. If you know any topics we should not forget, please do comment in the whiskers box below, or on Facebook, Twitter or send us an email!

As always, thanks for reading and don’t forget to adore the cat!