Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Maths game development - Initial brief and document


‘Brainbox’ game design document



Customer


What does the customer want?
The customer wants a game that will help students to develop their maths skills and have fun at the same time. It must be fun and accessible but also represent an opportunity for students to develop key skills.

What does the design brief say?
The brief is very specific in it’s aims and request :
“The main character of this game ‘Brainbox’ has to move from level to level solving increasing difficult maths based problems. Each level should show a different maths problem and the level of the maths problem should be GCSE grade C Mathematics.”



Who is the target audience?
The target audience is for students of the age 14 - 16 (Grade C level GCSE). I think this represents a key issue in the game design in that the design, story and gameplay must be challenging, humorous and imaginative to appeal to that target audience. To make it too simple or junior looking would possibly put the target audience off playing the game at all. A degree of quirkiness would help to sell the game to the target audience and keep them compelled to play.

The game should be a positive experience and reward and complement the player rather than overly punishing or criticizing them. The aim is to give students the sense they are being helped and empowered.



Development

What sprites do we need?

I think we will need the following :
  • A hero
  • A mentor
  • A variety of enemies
  • Various assets and surfaces with which to build a maze
  • Collectables (these could represent hints as to how to solve the problem)
  • Solutions to the problems for the player to collect
  • Backgrounds
  • An opening screen displaying controls
  • An end of game screen
  • Various NPC’s (Non Player Characters) to converse with
  • An end of level boss for each stage



What sounds do we need?

I think we will need the following :
  • Collectable noises
  • Projectile noises
  • Enemy noises
  • Victory / Failure noises
  • Various ambient sound effects (doors opening, stone slabs sliding, wind, blowing, fire crackling, traps)
  • Boss noises
  • Menu screen / Ending screen music
  • A gentle ambient soundtrack (nothing too distracting as the player needs to think and concentrate)

How many levels do we want?

I have the idea that there will be a central hub that leads to different sets of rooms. Each set of rooms will be themed around addition, subtraction, division or multiplication. The enemies in each themed zone could feature enemies that reflect the nature of the maths in question. For example :

Addition - Enemies will create walls, adding obstacles to the maze
Subtraction - Enemies will eat through the walls and try to eat the player
Multiplication - Enemies could multiply, re spawning themselves and growing in number
Division - Enemies could divide, splitting into two when struck

Each zone ends in a battle of wits with a large boss monster who will test the player on what he has learned. By answering the majority of the questions correctly, the player can defeat the boss, collect a token and return to the central hub.

The idea is to collect all of the tokens to unlock the exit to the maze. The tokens form an equation that must be put into an order based on a given answer. Upon doing this the player achieves game completion and can see the end of the game.



What other elements do we want?

Potentially it would be good to have voice acting as there are short scenes with NPCs and boss monsters. It would be good to give each of these characters a distinct personality along with the main character.

The game world will be a mixture of fantasy and oriental influence.




Management

What do we want to do by the end of this session?


27 - 10 - 2014 (Week ending 31 - 10 -2014)
Design a rough outline of a story and some characters to populate the game. Begin to design the hero, his mentor and a short overview of the game world :


The hero will be a trainee ninja called Brianna Box, or Brainbox to her friends. We join her adventure as she facing her final test to graduate from the academy. Her mentor, Calcula, has sent her to the ‘Cave Of Equations’ to “sharpen her mind as well as her reflexes”. Calcula tells her that she must retrieve 4 tokens to solve the ultimate “riddle of the pit” and graduate. Brainbox must enter a series of fantasy based rooms, tackling problems and defeating creatures to become a true ninja.

How long do we have to create the game?

One month, which places the deadline at the beginning of December.

How can we break down the tasks in making a game?

We can break down the tasks in creating the game by creating and sticking to a production schedule. This will be as follows:
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Schedule
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Tasks for 27 - 10 - 2014 (Week ending 31 - 10 -2014)

Graphics and story

1 - Design the story and game world.
2 - Design the hero and her mentor to fit into the game world


This will involve producing a number of initial concept designs and drawings.
Creating a mood board to look at oriental elements
Creating the sprites from the resource material I have created and gathered

Tasks for 3 - 11 - 2014

3 - Develop the maze asset sprites and backgrounds.

Creating the sprites from the resource material I have created and gathered

Tasks for 4 - 11 - 2014

4 - Develop the maze asset sprites and backgrounds.

Creating the sprites from the resource material I have created and gathered


Tasks for 5 - 11 - 2014


5 - Develop the maze asset sprites and backgrounds.

Creating the sprites from the resource material I have created and gathered

Tasks for 10 - 11 - 2014

6 - Develop the mazes

Create a number of sketches to design the mazes.
Create the mazes in Game Maker using the sprites I have built.
Think about how Maths puzzles can be integrated into this.
 

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