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<  Design concepts  ~  Educational games

JPGInc
Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 4:52 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 May 2008 Posts: 16
Hi everyone, I’m pretty new to this forum but I’ve had a read of a lot of the posts and I’m happy I came across this place. The people here seem to ‘think outside the square’ so to speak

Anyway I’m starting work on an educational game and I was hoping to get some ideas from you guys. The game will be a lot more complex than a simple educational game but I won’t go into detail until I have a better idea of what it’s going to be. What I want to create is a fun, exciting, addictive and simple way of practicing addition. I’ve been looking at some of the old games like Asteroids, Tetris and Space Invaders and would like to create something with a similar feel to it.

I like the way how in those games tension goes up and down and up and down very quickly making you feel panicked for example when you’ve placed some of the shapes in Tetris in the wrong place and half the screen is screwed up you start to panic but if you manage to clear them to the bottom again you feel relieved. How could you create this kind of feeling while solving simple maths problems?

Any ideas would be welcomed they might spark another awesome idea
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path to home
Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 5:04 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 15 Apr 2008 Posts: 886 Location: At your request
I think the most simple way to make a game like this is a puzzle game.

Might I suggest looking at a game that has based their entire system on puzzles


www.puzzlepirates.com

Used to play it a while back. everything a pirate does has been broken down into fun addicting little puzzle games. you might want to get a free account and see some of what they do. If nothing else, it will give you more ideas Smile
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JPGInc
Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:22 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 May 2008 Posts: 16
I downloaded the puzzle pirates thing. It's quite amusing, I'm not sure if it was what sparked my imagination or some of the other reading I was doing but I had an idea.

First though, the game I’m designing is a role playing game with an educational component, to be simplistic. The idea is for the game to teach up to a grade 12 (end of high school) levels understanding of maths in a fun way. I want to be able to play the game basically without knowing it was created primarily to learn, instead I want someone to think that it’s just a great mainstream game. I’ve wasted soooo much time playing games that end up being just a waste of time but if I was learning something practical at the same time….

An idea was tossed around that your exploring a world that has been thrown into chaos by the emergence of magic and that you use maths to make sense of it all. The thought I had was when you level up the screen flashes, in the style of those final fantasy games when combat starts, time seems to slow down to almost a stand still and all sounds go quiet except for a heart beat. The camera then zooms in on your head until there appears a picture of the brain. Depending on what exactly you’re levelling up you enter a different part of the brain. The camera zooms in to the extent that you’re looking at the synaptic connections of the brain and what you have to do is strengthen the synaptic connections by preforming addition.

You get points for each problem you solve and you have to get a certain amount of points before you can level up your stats. To try and get the tension that I love in a lot of the other simple games you could make it that multiple problems appear on the screen at once spawning faster and faster as you accumulate points. Once you have x amount of problems on the screen at once you lose or maybe each problem is on a timer and if you don’t strengthen the synaptic connections in time you lose the game, any other ideas? The heart beat can get faster and faster as you get close to loosing bringing tension up. And there can be dialog something like “it just doesn’t make sense” when you start and “I understand!” when you reach the goal keeping the theme that your trying to make sense of the world through maths.

Any ideas from that? especially how to escalate tension? I wish I knew programming so I could create a prototype.
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Wildbluesun
Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:34 am Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
Hang on, you're creating a game without knowing programming?

I dunno, I think that I'd catch on to its educationalness if I were playing pretty quickly. Also, most people don't know about synaptic connections, and unless the concept were introduced gradually most people would be baffled.

Perhaps...hmm...you could have a world in which maths is regarded like films or literature nowadays. You can wander around the world, Sims-style, getting better at certain things - earning promotions in your job by doing steadily more complex maths puzzles, and forming relationships by demonstrating your extensive knowledge of eminent mathematicians and mathematical theories.
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JPGInc
Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:54 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 May 2008 Posts: 16
You don’t need to be able to program to have an idea for a great game!!

The educationalness wouldn’t be hidden, just that the game is such that you would play it normally even if you weren’t learning if that makes sense. Have you heard of this game? http://www.bigbrainz.com/index.php I love the way how it’s just a game that’s fun to play. I want mine not to focus on maths as the game play, like in that clip to defeat the dragon you solve 4+4, instead you defeat the dragon like you would in Diablo 2 or World of Warcraft and to identify the magic item he drops you do 4+4 thus the game is fun to play and the educationalness comes from other elements of the game like identifying items etc.

I was going to treat the synaptic connections like muscles for the brain and just explain that your making your brain stronger so you can understand everything. Actually to level up strength and dex you could probably zoom in on muscle and strengthen the muscle instead.

What do you mean by “maths is regarded like films and literature now days”? The idea of getting better at things by doing steadily more complex maths problems is an idea I’ve been exploring for a while. Any ideas of how to work that into gameplay of a medieval RPG?
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Wildbluesun
Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
No, but you do to start work on it. XD Unless, of course, you have a programmer friend or have the funds to hire someone.

But even the idea of learning annoys most people...the only educational games I ever played for fun were Zoombinis, and that was because I didn't know they were educational. For most people school is learning and home is fun (apart from homework, but that doesn't count), so they would be unlikely to play an educational game unless they couldn't tell that it was educational.

Actually, I don't really know what I meant by that. O.O But I do know that I was thinking about a book I read once in which literature was big business, like films nowadays. Authors had paparazzi camping outside their houses, there were door-to-door campaigns trying to get Francis Bacon confirmed as the real author of Shakespeare's works...that sort of thing.

I was thinking about a modern-world RPG, actually. Something similar-ish to The Sims...as in, you have a job, and have to build relationships; I think that both could have maths implemented in them - jobs obviously, and you could have a kind of conversation screen where you pick your replies, and the most mathematically correct gives you the best relationship. You could also show how maths is used in everyday life; by calculating how much wallpaper you need, for instance, or how long to cook meat for.
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Mayar
Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:28 am Reply with quote
Joined: 30 Jul 2008 Posts: 1042 Location: On the Forum, adding his Mustard to anything in his interest (no art or anything that may offend me)
I have an idea how to learn graphs...

You can set the Playerinto a defense turret, then he has to enter the equation to blow up the enemy ships (points on the graph), or read the equation at set up the Line on enemy points...

Had this idea in school, hleped me to get the best in grade

But ur ideas are also nice
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JPGInc
Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:17 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 May 2008 Posts: 16
thats a good idea thanks for the reply i wonder if adding a time limit to that idea would make it more intense...
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Mayar
Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:04 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 30 Jul 2008 Posts: 1042 Location: On the Forum, adding his Mustard to anything in his interest (no art or anything that may offend me)
Just tell me what kind of stuff u need (many ideas, no skills)
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Wildbluesun
Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:32 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
Also!

I recently discovered that Zoo Tycoon II is meant to be educational. And people just play that for fun.

Aim for that.
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JPGInc
Posted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:39 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 May 2008 Posts: 16
Upon more detailed planning on the RPG I have decided that it’s a liiiiiiiitle too complex for me and my current skill set. Oh! Wildbluesun it turns out that my girlfriend also used to play zombini’s and loved it lol I found it for her and we played again for a laugh.

I’ve been thinking of some other kind of a game I could make that is educational and a little simpler. It's a game where the aim is to collect $1billion in cash and assets.

My question is what careers would you like to see in a game like this? And what kind of challenges could these careers have?
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Mayar
Posted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:02 am Reply with quote
Joined: 30 Jul 2008 Posts: 1042 Location: On the Forum, adding his Mustard to anything in his interest (no art or anything that may offend me)
This Salesguy who sales Houses...(Premium accounts)
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axcho
Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:24 am Reply with quote
Joined: 11 Jun 2007 Posts: 66
Hey JPGInc, you might look at the Flash game AddUp for inspiration.

Jenova Chen, the guy who made flOw, also made a flow-y math quiz game that you should check out.

Hope that helps.
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