Games in learning

This semester as part of a course I had to do an assignment equivalent of a 10,000 word essay on any subject of my choosing.

I chose to do it on the use of video games in learning. Formatted as a PowerPoint presentation to be viewed individually.

Detailing the ways in which skills and new ways of thinking can be learnt through video games as well as some of the areas in which it is possible to learn from video games.

The end result came to a total of 66 slides and was awarded a Distinction (high marks). The presentation can be downloaded here.


Game Idea: Office building RPG

RPG adventure game, in the style of Elders scroll, set in an office building.

Quests: surf internet instead of work, fix printer, fetch staple, shady meeting in parking garage, etc.

Promotions: Drone, executive, boss, etc.

Stats: urge to kill, suicide.

I will try and flesh this concept out better when I get a chance.

Game Idea: Nervous

An 'unwinnable' dating sim.

A simple flash based adventure game, where the player has to chose from branching dialogue options. Some leading to positive progression, and others taking a very negative turn.

The story is basically a lonely guy lucks into a situation where he gets to drive a girl home. His choices determine whether she agrees to go out with him or flees then and there. The vast majority of choices leading to a Bad End.

Part gag game, part player torture.

Cartoonish and played for humour. As in reality there is no HUD, so the player has to chose wisely and pay close attention if they want to succeed. Kind of like a mystery.


Not dead, just sleeping

It has been a long time since I last posted.

Since I've finished my Games Design course, I have been doing a new course in 「Teaching English as a Second Language」. However, this does not mean I've given up entirely. Even though I haven't had time to do anything, I've been thinking. I now have several ideas on how to make KanaKana work better as a learning tool.

For the time being, bullet point:
  • Racing game, Highway Hunter style. Letters appear randomly on the back of the car, and players have to match them to an oncoming gate with the corresponding kana.
  • Bullet hell game. Play has to fly their ship with similar conditions to above. Avoiding incorrect letter/kana combos, while matching the correct ones. Starts off slow with plenty of time to match and dodge, then gets faster.
  • Alternate Bullet hell game. A typing game. Player types in a letter to shoot down oncoming targets. E.g a = あ. Again, slow at first, then working up to insane.
  • Game show game, Root Beer Tapper style. Player runs along the bottom of the screen, running between 5 buttons. At the top of the screen is a TV displaying a kana. Players must select the correct answer as fast as possible. A good game for learning and practicing the basics.
I've also had an idea for how to get the typing to work. A script checks if a, i, u, e, or o is pressed then loads the correct letter image. Default is 'a' category. By pressing a different letter first, e.g 'k', the script can tell the images in queue to load that set instead. Then when a letter is pressed instead of a = あ, it will be k:a=か. Afterwards it returns to default. Possibly including 'del' to clear if the play hits the wrong key.

Hopefully I'll get some time to actually start working on some of these.


Alphabet You Bet

Occasionally when I show people my concept for KanaKana, they will ask me if I plan on making the game for other languages further down the line. While this is a possibility, it probably won't happen until I've had a chance to study those languages and seen how they work.

That being said, I've had an idea for the first such spin-off.

Alphabet You Bet

A game designed to aid in helping Japanese people learn the English letter system.

It won't take much to make once KanaKana is ready. A simple palette swap at best. Replace the English menu with one in Japanese, and change the letter sets from ひらがな (Hiragana), カタカナ (Katakana), and Romaji (Roman letters, the alphabet) to UPPERCASE, lowercase, and カタカナ (Katakana, the foreign word system).

Both languages involve the use of two letter sets (as well as the home language letter set), so I won't have to monkey around with the code to get it to work. I have gone with another play on words (that no one will get) for the tile, to keep in line with KanaKana.

For now it's just something to think about, but one day I'll try and make it a reality.

Final week

Time sure has shot by.

Not that long ago, I started this blog to document my work in my university course, and now that course has reached the end. I've done so much and kept so busy, but still it feels like I've only just begun.

It's hard to believe that it is over. Nothing left to do but wait and hope that I've done everything right.

Even after my course is finished, I intend to continue posting my work on this blog. I also plan on working on KanaKana until it is a finished game capable of being fun as well as being a useful study tool.

In honour of the occasion here is the link to a build of the game I will be submitting.
KanaKana final build


KanaKana in focus

The long day is over.

I have managed to rewire KanaKana several times over. Out of the things I was hoping to do, I have managed to:
  • Add the option to choose which character sets are in use
  • Add a colour changing function
  • Add a letter set function
  • Add a decent menu (still needs work though)
  • Make the labels handle a lot better than before
  • Include a Splashscreen (the one up /|\ there)
  • Redo the help section to be a lot more accessible
  • Fixed the graphics on the tiles
Not bad for a single night's lost sleep.

After having it examined today, I've received a good number of suggestions on where I can improve it better:
  • Change out the Go board for something else (the grid pattern is distracting, especially with the different sized tiles)
  • I should move the score counts to the bottom of the screen and move the collected tiles into a cushioned area over the side so that the connects can be observed easier.
  • Add a review mode so people can study how the letters connect in greater detail.
  • Have it as an unlockable web as the player passed each set.
  • fix the new game menu, so that it is more clear what each option does.
  • Have the discarded letters appear as bonus pieces (we, wi, wu, ye, yi)
  • Give people a chance to review the characters to be learned, by having them appear more often.
  • fix the textures so that there isn't pixelation on some and not on others (get rid of the bevels)
  • fix the random colour issue (too many of the same colour appearing in random mode)
  • have completed letters disappear from the HUD (some sort of wipe)
  • fix the speed so the longer you hold the faster it goes
  • lessen the accuracy if this is going to be more than just a learning app
  • decide on an actual theme and start working from there.
A lot done, and a lot yet to be done. But first to sleep.