What's an iCruise anyway?

It’s not an app or a way for you to autonomously drive. iCruise is a drill bit that’s faster and generates less heat than the industry-standard, which means greater accuracy and efficiency. Produced by Halliburton, they wanted to show off their latest and greatest product at trade shows with entertaining mobile games.

Don't you hate it when the wifi sucks

Trade show floors are a rough environment at odds with delivering a speedy, seamless mobile game experience. Attendees with purchasing power walk among dozens of booths, waiting to be impressed and are often on their phones when they’re not.

A well-attended trade show could have an audience of 1,000 or more. So, trying to have a crowd play a game simultaneously using weak, overburdened booth WiFi was definitely a problem we needed to overcome.

Let's play a game, shall we?

We came up with the idea of creating a simple, but weirdly satisfying, mobile game designed to overcome the latency issues inherent to trade show booth WiFi.

We started by building in the ability to capture user information immediately upon game start. This not only gave Halliburton attendee leads, but also allowed us to instantly display game results on the leaderboard. Our mobile game allowed more than 1,000 users to start the game at the same time, which was under one minute with simple interactions such as spinning, tapping, and finger swiping. (You might be surprised by how challenging it is to build spinning interactions.)

To surmount those latency problems, we built the game on a Fire base with a React front end and admin panel, and a stripped-down Express server. React is ideal for front-facing user experiences. Express handles API requests in the cloud for rapid functionality. Fire keeps everything in sync using a document-based database provided by Google.

The game functioned like this: Google Fire base would kick off game rounds, React would ping users to play again, and the Fire base would store all of the scores and update the leaderboard in real-time. All participants had the same amount of game play time, regardless of differences in phones and phone performance. Our build generated a CSV file at the end of the show capturing all results and exporting them, which happened within the cloud function.

Why we did what we did

Mobile game user interactions are very javascript heavy. That’s a problem since javascript hasn’t kept up with the times and can’t be used to create the functionality and experience we needed. So, along with the other components mentioned above, we chose to use React, which is extremely nimble. Setting up a server to handle initial download of the game would have been an option, but a costly and time-consuming one. React delivered rapid load times at a lower cost and faster implementation, which was a lifesaver given that our timeline from concept to completion was only 4-6 weeks. Yikes. Additionally, to create an excellent, bug-free product on a rapid timeline, we conducted employee testing with around 1,000 people before hitting the tradeshow floor.

How did we make it secure? We used a version of Express through Google that authenticates and protects data so that our Fire base wasn’t just sitting open with read and write access. This established instant security. Fire could scale as big as Halliburton needed to go, from hundreds of users to thousands with no experience lag or degradation.

Why you should care (and hire us)

There’s a dizzying array of game engines and coding languages out there. Piecing together just the right combination to create a mobile game experience that requires meeting very specific needs requires deep experience and talent, and in this case the ability to move really, really fast. The exact configuration we chose was the most efficient and effective to deliver a top-notch mobile game experience for Halliburton in an inherently challenging environment. Lots of agencies promise a tailored approach, but we have the skillset to actually do it, very, very quickly.