Monday, March 25, 2013

Makahiki Configuration

Building on last week's Makahiki installation, this week I played around with some common configuration tasks. Below are the steps I completed. The section numbers given in parentheses correspond to the Makahiki docs found here.

0. Update your Heroku Makahiki instance (
I added the AWS credentials environment variables to the project's activate file in ~/.virtualenvs folder first. You should also add the MAKAHIKI_ADMIN_INFO here too. Uploading took 5 minutes or so.

I noticed this line in the output:

Environment variable MAKAHIKI_DATABASE_URL not defined. Exiting.

It didn't seem to cause any later problems though.

1. Getting to the challenge design page (2.3.2 /
I couldn't get to the /account/login page at first. This took me 20 minutes to debug, and I reinitialized the Heroku instance during the process. It turned out I had just mistyped "account". <sigh>
2. Design the global settings (
I changed the Name and Logo settings as a test.
3. Design the teams (
I added a new Lehua-C team as part of the existing Lehua Group.
4. Set up users (
I could create new users, but I could not login normally using their accounts. It was possible to login as them from the admin's account, though. It turns out this was due to having mixed-case usernames, so make your usernames all lowercase.
5. Specify the games to appear in your challenge (
I disabled the "Drop Down" water game.
6. Learn about how to design the resource goal games (
This step just involves learning about the system and the design goals behind it.
6.1. Configure the Energy Goal Game for your new team
I switched the Lehua-C team to using manually-gathered energy data.
7. Learn about how to design Smart Grid Games (
This is another learning-about-the-system step, but it's important for the next few sub-steps.
7.0. Design on paper
Or at least mentally sketch out the next level your want to create in the Smart Grid Game.
7.1. Create a Level
I create a new Level 4 that unlocks once the user has completed a couple Level 2 tasks.
7.2. Create a new Activity action
I created an activity involving airship research.
7.3 Create a new Event action
I created an excursion to the helium fields.
7.4 Create a new Commitment action
I created a commitment to hold one's breath while passing a graveyard.
7.5 Finalize the grid
I edited the existing car-pool activity and added it to my level. (I was careful to select an activity that wasn't assigned to a category or level yet.)

Although I tested each of these sub-steps as admin along the way, I ran through the tests again with a different user.

8. Design the Top Score Game (
I created a new prize.
9. Design the Raffle Game (
I created a teddy bear raffle prize and tested it.
10. Design the Badge Game Mechanics (
I created a badge and earned it.
11. Manage Action submissions (
I approved and rejected a few activity responses that I generated during the earlier tests.

Overall, I found Makahiki to be a fairly polished and complete system. The most challenging parts of this proved to be my own mistakes (mistyping the URL) or undocumented requirements (such that the usernames need to be all lowercase). My general impression, though, is that Makahiki design and management is a rather long and tedious affair. I tried to create some slightly amusing activities to stay engaged with the process, but I'm still glad I'm done with this exercise.

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