MADLAB - EDUCATIONAL GAME

DEVELOPMENT / ART / DESIGN

Brief

This was a project I worked on as part of my university course. It involved working as part of a team to produce an educational game concept. We produced a very short demo of how our game would function.

Final



Initial Ideas

We started out our project following the brief and spitballing a few ideas which could fit our target audience. We had to make a game which was both educational and entertained 11-15 year olds. We came up with 4 main ideas.


Math-Style Tetris

The concept of this game is similar to tetris where shapes scroll-down the screen. What made this idea different is that everytime you completed a line in tetris you must solve a math question for point multipliers.
One of the issues we didn't stick with this game was because we theorised that the gameplay would feel like it was constantly being interrupted as opposed to the math system feeling integrated like the Madlab concept.

Whack-A-Mole

This idea was based off the game whack a mole, where the player has to test their reactions to hit a mole as it emerges from one of 9 holes. This type of game has been iterated and replicated a lot and the repetition of this idea was one of the main reasons we decided not to go with it. Our concept revolved around the idea that you would have to very quickly solve a math problem and hit the number with the solution when they appears and not hit incorrect numbers.

Body-Part Naming Game

This game revolved around the concept that the player would have to guess the names of body parts in a person to save the person. This game would encorperate different age levels of difficulty, with the easier difficulties revolving around locating easy parts like heart, lung etc and the harder difficulties focussing more on identifying things like the Larynx and pancreas.

MADLAB

This game would focus on a scientist running around practicing experiments trying to impress investors to fund their research and experiments. The players would start of in a run-down or even hazardous lab and have to struggle to gather ingredients to complete experiments. These experiments would be simply but would teach some basic scientific concepts. For example, coding it so that adding sodium to water causes a volatile reaction would give a little "experiment report" which would help to inform the player of sodium's reactive nature with hydrogen.
Ultimately we thought this idea would be the most fun and interesting to try to create and began developing this idea in more depth.


ART

To begin with we all worked together on different aspects of this project. My role in the team was to develop the art for the backgrounds and to actually code the game in unity. We chose unity as it would allow us hypothetically to export the game to multiple platforms easily. This title screen was created by Narathip "Boon" Assavadejmatakul.

Background Concept

This was my original background design for how the levels could be laid out. We ended up changing around the gameplay to have less of a prevelance on vertical gaemplay and make the game into more of a side-scrolling platformer (à la Mario). This decision was made so that the focus on the game would be overcoming the doorways that block the character's path and pose problems for the player to solve.
The overall concept and style of the background stuck and the final game's environments have a close resemblance to this initial concept.

Character

One of the members of our team assigned to creating the characters for the game took a while to create them. In the interim, I ended up creating a character for testing purposes. This is the character I made. I dubbed him "Science Jake" and he was my test-dummy for trying to code movement and 2D platforming in unity.

I used adobe animate to mock up an example of how his movements may look. This allowed me to easier set the character's animation and movement speed in Unity later.


Our character designer was still taking a while to create characters. Our characters were all based off real-life scientists, so I mocked up a quick sprite for Isaac Newton. This wouldn't yet have any frames between the keyframes but he served his purpose for testing around with multiple characters in unity.

Developing the Game

This was my first time trying things in Unity and coding in C# so I was following a tutorial from youtube by a tutorialist called GamesPlusJames. This was my first little experiment after following the tutorial very closely. I would use these basics to go on and develop most of the rest of the game needing little more than the basics I picked up from the tutorial.


Deadline Troubles

The character designer only managed to get me one completed character out of the requested 6 and the monster designer didn't get me the monster sprites in time for the deadline, so I had to produce those a week before our deadline and ended up shouldering a significant amount of the designers slack as well as coding the game.

FINAL GAME

If you want to pick up the final game you can download it here. This game is now significantly out of date.


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