A section of our theory and practice brief requires us to create a game idea and to make a fragment of an interactive games design product. I was thinking for awhile about what to do and I decided on creating a game which allowed me to teach English and maths to children. I thought by creating a puzzle platformer using game mechanics to enhance childrens learning experience I would create something useful to children who may find education difficult or ‘boring’.
I will show my proposal a bit later on through this blog, but there had been an issue with the scope of my project. Simply put, my idea was way too big for the amount of time I had allotted myself due to hand ins. I also made my proposal difficult to do as I am not an educator, I would have to learn a subject and learn how to teach it before I could effectively put it within the game. I have taken on board things discussed with the class and Paul, thus making alterations to my project. I thought by narrowing down my target markets age, plus eliminating some factors of my document such as rather then creating my game to teach both English and Maths I could just use English and get rid of Maths. Furthermore, Instead of creating the game to help teach children with learning difficulties, what if I instead created a game to help bring to light qualities that may be used to help diagnose a child with autism. This way, I could research into autism and tests used to help diagnose a child and then apply these within a game.
In regards to my proposal, here is where I am at currently with the document although alterations will be made as it is an on going project and I have a lot of things to consider let alone develop;
The game is about a Dinosaur called Allen who was in a hurry to find all his books for school before turning in for bed, sadly the book had been torn up and scattered around by his younger brother. The aim of the game is to help Allen search for his missing pages around his house and help him piece together his book so that he can turn in for bed and get to school on time with his book intact. There are other objects within the game that Allen can collect to help him such as clues and bonus items. On each page that Allen collects he must answer the question correctly in order to find the location of the next missing page. There are obstacles in Allen’s way in each room to prevent him from finding missing pages although obstacles can be broken to find the pages. You must not be seen by your parents when looking for the pages otherwise you will be sent up to your room and the game is over.
The target audience for my game is both male and female children aging from 8-10 years old. My secondary target audience is children with autism or similar learning difficulties; when the game is being built both of these audiences will be considered so that it can be used by most children. The target audience will be able to use this software in school to help educators provide a means of teaching children English and Math but to also bond with the children through game play to help understand the child’s way of learning better.
The genre for my game is to be a puzzle platformer which will be in 3D, I thought using this would challenge the child to think out of the box and to keep them interested within the game. I also found that this genre would be useful for a game which is to be educational and child friendly, and also allows the child to ask the teacher for help and advice when needed so it keeps both parties involved.
My game will have;
- 6 playable levels, one for each room in the house
- Two story modes although the only difference will be the questions, one made for English questions and one for Maths.
- Will be built in 3D
- Will use a cel-shaded art style
- The level objectives will be to find the missing pages, answer the questions and to make sure you don’t get caught by your parents
Game flow summary:
The game will be a 3D person puzzle platformer so the main character Allen will roam the map trying to find the missing pages. You are able to move in full 360 rotation with standard navigation (forward, backwards, left and right). Allen is able to jump, kick and run so that he can get over obstacles, destroy obstacles and to escape from situations to help him find the missing pages and to not get caught. You will have completed a level once you have discovered the missing page in that particular room, in which you are then given the question to solve and once complete the next page becomes available. You will also gain rewards and points for collecting each page, plus rewards for not being caught and for collecting bonus items in that room. Also, once you have unlocked the next page, an icon will appear on the map indicating where the next page can be discovered.
Look and feel:
The visuals for the game will be Cel-shaded similar to games such as the Borderlands series, Jet set radio and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
The project will not be a huge project as I want to be able to complete the game and meet the time scale I have set myself for the project. I will keep the game simple by using modularity where possible in both asset and environment design. I think my priority for the project will go into information being correct and transferable to my target audience and also that my game functions correctly with minimal errors. This does not mean that I won’t focus on my game being visually appealing, but that this will be compromised if needs be as I will have to make the decision of what is a desire and what is a necessity. By keeping my scope small, it means I won’t risk over scoping my project and giving myself too much to do and not achieving deadlines as I will be the only individual working on this project.
Here are the values for my level so I know what needs to be created;
- 6 Locations – Allens bedroom, Living room, Bathroom, Kitchen, Dining room, Brothers bedroom
- 6 Levels – Each unlocked after collecting a page, and also as you gain a level one of your locations becomes available
- 3 bonus items – These will be 3 variations of bonus items, totalling 6 bonus items for the entire game.
- 3 NPCs – Allens mother, Allens father and Allens younger brother.
- 2 Puzzles per level – One to help you find the bonus item in that room, other to find the missing page
- 2 Variations of puzzles – both within the game each getting more difficult per level
- 20 unique assets within the game – I thought by creating a set amount of assets then I can use modularity to reuse assets I have but also would be able to meet timescales for the project.
The player will control a dinosaur called Allen through a 3rd person perspective and is able to move freely within the level. Once a level has been completed then the player is able to explore the next room on the map to find the next page or bonus item. Although the new room becomes unlocked, it does not mean that the page or bonus item will be found within the new area. The reason the new area is added is to make the game more difficult for the player by giving them a larger environment to search. The player is given a map in which you can see what areas are accessible, but will also mark where you have previously found items. The player is able to track their progress by checking the map to see what areas they have left to unlock, how many points they have gained and how many achievements they have unlocked. The player must not be seen by any of the NPC’s as otherwise they will have to retake the level, so stealth for this is beneficial. The only thing the player is able to interact with is bonus items, pages and objects which are blocking the way.
Movement – Allen is able to walk in a 360 rotation allowing him to have flexibility when exploring the environment. You are only able to move at one speed, although this makes the game more challenging as it means you have to hide behind items in order to not be detected by NPCs.
Pick up – When you go towards an item, you are simply able to click and the item will disappear into your inventory.
Moving/breaking objects – You are able to attack objects with your tail
You gain or lose points for different things such as;
Time points – You will lose time points for the longer you take on a level, this will be set back to the original per level and any time saved from the previous level will be added to your total score.
Task points – You will gain points by meeting your two objectives, collecting the page for that level but also finding the bonus item for that level.
Education points – You will gain points for correctly answering an English/math question which will be found on the page.
Achievements – You will gain achievements for reaching a particular amount of points e.g. 100 points = beginner achievement.