Based on a focus on Treasure Hunter at the end of Week 5 we added various design additions to the idea which was shaping up to be a dungeon adventure where players:
Could move around a character
Had an inventory (method of dealing with many gems in a level)
Could defeat monsters (requested by our audience)
Could pick up gem bags (method of incrementally introducing gems incrementally to our puzzles)
A New Perspective
We met with a designer from Zynga who was visiting The Entertainment Technology. She had a look at our idea, and advised us to focus on our core mechanic which was the slotting gems into the beam maker.
So based on the feedback we:
Removed gem bags.
Made our main character stationary. The character would now be an assistant who would act like guide (akin to Dora the Explorer games) giving advice, information and hints but not actually solving the puzzle directly.
Constrained problems to only 180 because the teacher requested it.
Considering the feedback from quarters we went about revamping our ideas.
One concern was raised regarding the complexity that physics considerations adds to the game which were not core to teaching angles to our target demographic. Since both our current ideas had an element of physics we took this feedback on board. We then changed the design direction, and made decisions to minimizing the element of physics.
Since we are firing a cannon ball, we wanted to change the perspective to lessen the look that the cannon ball is making an arc so that players don’t consider that aspect of physics.
To enhance learning we also would not having monsters move when missing, instead we would give them a new problem.
To give us more design flexibility we would have the pirate ship not be fixed to bottom center of ipad, instead have it so that it can be move around but remains fixed so as to allow us to create more types of problems.
One critique was that in both games angles were not a core part of the experience, and so we ‘tossed’ Alpaca Toss. Yet we used some of its core in a new idea.
This new idea came about whilst playing Tomb Raider, and remembering a scene from The Mummy that involved light beams that lit up a room.
The idea was essentially that we used ‘angle gems’ to move around a source of energy that charged up a power stone that opened up a door with treasure behind it.
We named this new idea Treasure Hunter, and designed five levels on Wednesday to try out the new mechanic.
On Thursday we prepped to visit Colonial School on Friday. We prepared a playtest format, planned a drawing activity and prepared some questions for the teacher.
Week four was spent further fleshing out our two prototypes for our 1/4s presentation.
Design decisions made at the start of the week were:
Making each monster advance towards you each turn in order to provide more interesting angle challenges
Adopting a Pirate theme for our Crayon King prototype because the fantasy of being pirate and destroying and looting fit our demographic better than a king ruling subjects
By the end of the week we presented the two paper prototypes to our supervisors. They suggested focusing on them, and make them more visually appealing.
Fancying it Up
In order to improve the prototypes visuals we first adapted the Abstract Ball Glue prototype into Alpaca Toss (alpacas somehow often turn up in our brainstorming process!). The aim was to make it more appealing to both genders as well as root it in something more realistic rather than the current abstract idea.
Armed with these ideas our artists spent the weekend doing just that with the following results.
In addition our lead programmer developed digital prototypes with two interfaces. One prototype used the gyroscope and the other with slider we tried different ux methods for game.
Kicking this week off we completed a paper prototype of idea 2 from week 2.
The paper prototype had the player make a sequence of angles including obtuse, acute, right angled, and straight angles to defeat a single enemy who approached them in a turn based manner. The decision for turn based gameplay over real time gameplay was made because we wanted to encourage strategic thinking. We named this prototype Angle Ninja.
We met Jesse on Tuesday who looked at each of ideas and gave us some advice.
During our meeting Jesse suggested the use of various lenses.
Jesse also commented that ‘spatialization’ was a good avenue to investigate for teaching angles. So considering his advice we adapted Angle Ninja. Instead of making gestures to create obtuse, acute, right angled, and straight angles to defeat a single enemy we would instead have multiple enemies which we would attack from a fixed position on the iPad.
The shift in design was due to wanting to focus on the fundamental lesson of teaching familiarity with angles rather than the more advanced one of the special properties of angles.
At the start of the week we presented the ideas we had in mind from week 1 to our supervisors. Our supervisors gave us feedback and we filtered down the initial ideas based on complexity and technical issues.
On Wednesday, we met Jesse and presented our initial ideas to him. Jesse gave us advice about our project suggesting we look into a number of educational games such as Battleship Numberline, and create lots of prototypes.
On Friday, the team visited the clients. We met Audrey from Intermediate Unit 1 and the students & teacher from Colonial School. We used the visit as an opportunity to collect information about our client and our players:
We presented a number of pictures to the students to gauge their art interest.
Based on what we learned from the visit, we had a better understanding about our audience. We then came up with many new ideas based on angles which was confirmed to be the main subject.
Our lead programmer Carl then built a prototype on the iPad based on one of our ideas. The prototype detected the drawing of acute and obtuse angles to explore teaching the special properties of angles (obtuse, acute, straight, right angle).
The new semester has finally started, and we are excited to work on this new project with Colonial School!
In the first week we setup our project room, had a bunch of meetings with our advisers and came up with a general idea about what we are going to do.
Later in the week we spoke to our client Audrey Mory who offered us lots of freedom in scope as long as it is an entertaining math-based educational game for children from 9 to 11 years old. The deliverable at the end of the semester should be an ready-to-ship game for Apple store.
We then started with competitive analysis playing many educational games available on the market, and decided what worked for them and what did not. We also had a brainstorming session, sketching out 10 game ideas.