This article looks at a very literal interpretation of gamification. It shows what can happen if you attach a 3D game front-end to a business process system. Details on how to install the client program are provided later if you want to try out the system for yourself. There is also a more technical “making of” article with source code over on the HANA SCN section.
The front-end is a familiar “3D shooter” type game environment. What is different is that the in-game objects are actually Purchase Orders from a SAP HANA back-end system. Purchase Orders appear in the game as boxes which run around and can be hunted, analysed and then “shot” to either approve them or reject them in the back-end system. There is a reporting element too, where 3D bar charts can be analysed in-game. When was the last time you’ve actually climbed on your data?
Here is a video to give you a better idea of how it looks in action:
And here is a comparison of the objects as seen in the transaction system and the 3D client:
Gamification is usually aimed at taking gameplay ideas from games and implementing them in other software (the points system and badges in SCN being a good example of course). Gamification is not usually about putting other software inside a game world. This Proof of Concept shows how a 3D front-end can be fitted over an OLTP/OLAP system relative easily. The back-end is SAP HANA, and SAP HANA comes with pre-configured demo content called SHINE (SAP HANA Interactive Education). Part of that content is a Purchase Order processing system called Enterprise Procurement Management (EPM).
The behaviours of the POs in the game are all generated from the PO data itself. The sizes of the PO boxes relate to the quantity of items inside, the colour tint on the cardboard boxes relate to the product category. High value POs tend to move around more, whilst lower value POs are happy to sit statically, or stack into pyramids.
This project is not intended as something that would be used productively as it is, but more as a novelty that could generate other ideas. For example:
- It would be relatively easy to add networking and collaborate with other people in the 3D world.
- When consumer Virtual Reality goggles become available in late 2014 or early 2015, it will be possible to make this 3D world fully immersive. Interestingly the company who produce these VR goggles, Oculus Rift, were recently bought by Facebook.
- Much gameplay could be added. POs from the same vendor could flock together, the player could be given “approval grenades” to mass approve POs that are clumped together.
- High value POs could run away fast, and with path-finding implement could need some effort to catch. An “approval sniper rifle” could approve POs at a great distance.
- POs could be “tamed”, picked up and stacked, then mass approved.
- The landscape could adapt itself to the data from the back-end system. It would be possible to generate locations, or at least signposts within the landscape that could say match a partner City. POs could then clump together near their appropriate partner city.
If you want to try it out the game for yourself, it is very easy to do so if you’ve access to a HANA system, and only slightly less easy if you don’t (it is very easy to get one). Head over to the HANA area in SCN and midway through the “Making of” article, you’ll see a section titled “How to Install and Play HANA SHINE 3D“. All the details you need are there.