I aim to develop a submission-style game that will improve a learner’s ability to read, say and recognize Japanese kanji, widening their vocabulary significantly. The game needs to be an engaging, immersive and educational experience. The game design will be iteratively developed through game-testing, where users will be questioned on ease of gameplay, information retained and interest levels in order to provide the optimum digital learning environment.
~First and foremost, the game must be ‘fun’ and engaging in a way that surpasses ‘educational games’ and instead embraces simply being ‘a game’.
~It must teach the user something of the Japanese written language (restricted to identifying and memorizing kanji)
~The game must attempt to cater to all styles of learning (kinesthetic, read/write, aural, visual) in some way
~The game must be able to be picked up or dropped at will (i.e. short levels, auto-saving implemented)
~Designed for an audience of 20 -26 years (though not restricted to)
~Produced primarily for mobile devices (though may be ported elsewhere)
My chosen audience is ranged between 20 – 26 years, and is a mix of students and full time workers. They are past the age of compulsory schooling, and thus are not learning language in a controlled environment (if they are). Self-learning a language tends to be more difficult and less structured than a classroom based course, and the on-the-go pick-up-whenever style of learning is appreciated, so that language learning can be structured as a secondary focus around a busy lifestyle.
If all goes to plan the game will be exported to an android device as an app. Best results would be an interface that can cross-platform, so I am currently working with a 54x88mm screen size (roughly Windows Phone or iPhone 5) as these dimensions scale up quite nicely to larger phone sizes and possibly tablets.
The point of focusing on a mobile platform is to embrace the idea of on-the-go learning, avoiding making the player feel obligated to learn.