Game Prototype II

I threw this together as a way to place in more symbols, as the style of game means that rather than a level ending when it is cleared the level continues until the player loses all their lives. As the player progresses the game moves faster. Basically the player controls the ‘spaceship’ which holds a symbol, and the player must drive the spaceship into the corresponding kanji. If connecting with the right kanji, the symbol changes to a new one (as shown bottom right) and the player searcher for the new kanji.

I considered as well the use of colour, and whether it’s necessary: will people connect the colour to the kanji too much? I figured there could be a ‘grayscale mode’ for people to attempt after beating a level if they want to improve their skills or for achievements or whatever.

Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 9.41.12 PM


Game prototype I

I started with a bubble game based platform but decided to upgrade to a similarly styled game that I’ve forgotten the name of. Basically the aim (in the original game) is to shoot the bubble in your gun next to bubbles of the same colour in the ‘snake’ of bubbles that crosses the screen. You need to shoot them all before they reach the end tube near the bottom of the screen. In my version the snake bubbles are kanji and the shooter bubble is a symbol that represents that word. If you miss, the symbol will morph into its kanji form. If you hit matching ones and they explode, a voiceover will read out the pronunciation of the kanji. The writing down the bottom left can be changed from English to Romaji to Hiragana so the player can recall how to pronounce the word or remember exactly what the symbol stands for.

The player moves through a campaign where each level they are introduced to five new kanji, and after five or so levels are given a level which will go back over all they have learnt. A mechanic will be in play to judge how often they get a kanji wrong, and therefore how often that kanji should be reintroduced to them. They can also access a ‘kanji bank’ where they can see the information cards for all the kanji they have learnt so far.

achievement unlocked-02 achievement unlocked-03

Design beginnings

The core things to remember for this game as defined by previous research (from what I currently remember) and direction of choice:

-This game is intended to be part of a learning process, not the complete process. Its purpose is to teach the learner to recognise singular kanji whenever they should come across them, knowing the solo pronunciation and the English translation.

-While learning is the main purpose of the game, building an engaging game must be the foremost priority. Otherwise, another medium may as well be used.

-Game type is submission, therefore immediately and easily understandable, simple in style.

-Game structure is to be designed for a mobile platform first and foremost, for use with touch controls. This is because this is the medium most often used for submission games, and means that the user must be able to pick up and put down the game at will, continuing in either short or long bursts of play time. Optimum level time should probably be <5 minutes, unless the rules of play state ‘winning’ to be surviving as long as possible.

-There must be a constant feeling of improvement in the player, and of challenge. They need to feel that they are succeeding.

-Game needs to be built in two styles; with a cycle between learning characters and testing/remembering the characters (where the second would involve a larger set of previously learned characters).

-Competition is highly valued within this game type, so allow players both a way to compete with others publicly and a very clear way to track their own ‘score’.

-Consider the four types of gamer-learner and how they will interact/enjoy the game: Killer-kinesthetic, Achiever-read/write, Social-aural and Explorer-visual.


Designing for Touch Screens

I haven’t put a huge amount of thought into this recently, but it’s always a good thing to keep in mind. Some points don’t apply to the framework I already have going, but there are also things that contribute to all mobile gaming.

> The ‘input device’ is someone’s finger, and will get literally between the player and the game. It needs to be accounted for (both in how bug you need to make the impact area and in how much of your screen it will take up). People with long nails will have to use the pad of their finger rather than the tip, so consider this amount of space.

> Combo moves are generally a no-go – try get your player playing with only one hand, as touch devices generally aren’t made for that sort of play (plus, then you’ve got way lass screen to work with).

> Consider all the aspects your device has to offer – they often have gyroscope, microphone, camera, etc. Make sure you’re aware of all the tools you’re working with.

>Don’t try to emulate console interaction. It’s gonna be clunky. Work with natural movements that humans make with their hands, as this’ll make the game more intuitive.

I can’t remember the other points, but the comments section also had this gem (multiple times) which I think may actually be more important than the others:

Screen shot 2014-06-01 at 3.29.17 PM