Weekly Blog

Week 1: We are 404 Productions!

Our Project

Project PicoCTF is a collaboration between the ETC and CMU Cylab where we are tasked with building an interactive web-based game for the PicoCTF competition in 2022. The game will aim to assist in introducing cyber security principles towards a young audience that has no programming background whatsoever, as well as help them learn the importance of cybersecurity in the real world.

Our Client

Our client this semester is CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, who has been working with the ETC for a long period of time together has helped deliver in four successful PicoCTF web games. Our client representative is Megan Kearns, Special Projects Administrator at CMU CyLab.

Work Done This Week

Housekeeping and Role

The final deliverable clearly lines the path for us and what we should achieve as a team of 3 programmers, 1 designer and 1 artist. We as a team need to deliver a polished and interesting game that teach youngsters the importance and fundamental principles of cybersecurity. We came up with the following list of our roles.

Lewis Koh: producer

Josh Li: co-producer, designer

Oscar Huang: programmer

Jeesub Lee: programmer

Tianying Lyu: artist

We were also able to decide upon our team name: 404 Productions! “404” right away conveys the notion and purpose of our project while nevertheless keeps the fun factor in. “Productions” keeps the name professional and does not limit our final product to only games.

Lastly, faculties at the ETC helped us come up with the “Composition Box” that will guide the inital brainstorming for the project:

Client Meeting

We met with Megan and her team this week! With this initial meeting the team wanted to get know, in more depth, the client, as well as the goal for the project in greater details. Before the meeting, we prepared a series of questions to ask Megan’s team mainly to clarify some key factors of the game, in addition to discussing logistic issues such as our weekly meeting schedule.

The first thing we learnt from the client is that our target audience is generally junior & senior high school students who is new to the realm of cybersecurity and are completely new to programming. This piece of information will shape what our game will look like for the most part.

Furthermore, our client clarified a bit more on the nature of the game we will be making, in addition to the project description we received before the client meeting. Yes, the game needs to be an interesting game with a focus on cybersecurity. Yet our client also emphasized that they’d love to see this game as a framework that motivates students to learn, on their own, outside the game, cybersecurity ideas and technologies.

Lastly, we confirmed that all the questions in the game will come from Cylab’s curated list of cybersecurity problems. Constraints brings creativity. We were also given access to PicoCTF’s Discord server, GitHub, and their Google Drive folder.

Plan for Next Week

Next week, we want to officially start the team’s brainstorming process on the game’s narrative and main mechanism in group brainstorming session. We want to offer our clients a multiple initial ideas so that they can choosing the most promising. We will also delve into technical possibilities and figure out what works for the team and the project best.