Towards the begining of 2019, we were contacted by Prof. Dr. Debora Weber-Wulff, who I got to learn that she was a founding member of Wikimedia Deutschland itself, and a committed intellectual to Wikimedia’s mission, including Wikidata’s project. Dr. Weber-Wulff asked Wikidata team if they would be up to pitch a project to the students of the “International Media and Programming” at HTW Berlin, for Summer semster 2019.
Along with a very inspiring colleague, Lucas Werkmeister and the very calm but ambitious Prodcut Manager of Wikidata project at the time, Lydia Pintscher, we put together a list of possible projects that can both be of great value to the master students in terms of challenges they’d be facing, and of great value to Wikidata project as well by being:
- a show-case on how to build useful and interesting applications on top of Wikidata (using its current APIs)
- a show-case to advocate for the mission and values of Wikidata project
We put together the pitch deck. Lucas and I headed to the presentation day at HTW, and eventually got 6 interested students in our pitch. We kicked off right after the presentation time with a short meeting to excahnge contact, agree on suitable time for meetings and set the initial questions we need to think about until the first one.
Wikimedia Deutschland was quite generous too. For one, it allowed me and my co-supervisor to commit 2 hours per week to this project, which were spent either on on-site meetings and sessions with the students, or asynchronous exchange of ideas and support back and forth. For another, it also allowed us to use its offices for the on-site meetings.
We would meet with the students in the beginning every week, brainstorm, challenge and sketch different game ideas and gameplay experiences. We finally settled on developing a simple strategy turn-based game for two players, in which they’d be competing to conquer and hold on their land in a small map of tiles, by playing mini-games on their turns that are mostly based on answering common knowledge questions.
Once the basic mechanics and elements were figured out, the team has split into frontend and backend, progressing in parallel, and eventually integrating their work. Surely, many incompatibilities were faced, but none proved to be fatal. We ended up with a decent proof-of-concept in that semester, which conviced more students and another professor, Prof. Dr.-Ing. David Strippgen to take on the project in the next semester and develop it further.
The group of students proved to be a unique one. Individually, each of them possessed interesting thinking process and attitude. As a group, with minimal guidance, they managed to collaborate and communicate very effectively.
It is been a great experience, and an honor to have met and contributed with them to their Q-Wiki project.
I’m personally proud of the little contribution I’ve got to add to that project at its seed stage, and very happy to see it grow further.
More info can be found on the Q-Wiki project site.
Get Q-Wiki game on Android Play store now and play with your friends. It is great fun and I bet you’ll expand your common knowledge in different topics by the time you finish your first round ;) Have fun!