Experience on making a fun educational game

The journey through this program has been a truly enriching one. Not only were we able to gain exposure to the industry and experience game development outside of school, it allowed us room for self exploration and reflect upon ourselves, our skills and our shortcomings.

Being a game designer in my team, proved to be extremely challenging, yet it is exactly this challenge that made the program an exceptionally rewarding experience. Our team was given the task to create an educational game for secondary school students that covered at least one topic in a set of particular subjects. Unfortunately, because of the wide range of topics we could choose from, it was difficult for us to come to a consensus on the topic of choice and for the first few weeks, we dished out mediocre ideas that were quickly disposed of.

The conceptualising phase for our team was really intense and to a certain extent, even demoralizing. When our first few ideas were unable to meet our own standards, the pressure was on me to generate an innovative concept that would sweep everyone off their feet. Regrettably, my experience of our ideation phase was nothing less than painful, and I can only say that it took a miracle to survive the ordeal and that was exactly what happened.

Concept #2 Whiteboard Prototype

As we continued to generate ideas, one of us came up with a puzzle involving traps and switches, and an idea struck me. With a quick tweak on the puzzle and a short set of rules, I designed a paper prototype that eventually formed the foundation of our current game; a simple looking, yet challenging puzzle that blew the playtesters away. GetZapp! was born. Simple, short, and sweet.

What? 3 weeks and still not an educational game? Education and gameplay still not integrated? And what’s more this business guy joining us tomorrow? What business plans can he come up with when we have no concept?

Great, he’s here. Told him the situation. He brainstormed with us! It came down to approach. Subjects, topics, no more elements, energy…ENERGY! We got this! Let’s bomb all types of energy into our game! Make prototype, and…neh…still doesn’t work…

What was it? Why didn’t anything work? Did we have too many game elements or are we just too attached to our own ideas? Sooner or later, we realized that we were going in circles…literally. On the other side of the board there was another platformer just like we had two weeks ago.

Who takes which type of energy? Electricity…I studied Electrical Engineering before and am doing games design! I’m sure I can come up with something…

YEAH! Got something! Draw on board, explained rules, got Dion to play. Good or not? Sandra got better idea? Show us then.

WAH! Fun, it works! All in 5 minutes. Finally an educational game that we can be proud of.

 

Written by
Sandra Chan Shing Wai
Game Designer for GetZapp!
Funcraft
Game Innovation Programme 2013

Sandra is the Game Designer for Funcraft. She has the ability to take something and work with it. While some are more attuned to making things up, Sarah can mold a mentioned concept into something better, which becomes invaluable through the whole design and implementation process. She’s also determined to create a perfect level that Belcoth wouldn’t be able to solve…

 

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous September 25, 2013 4:12 pm  Reply

    Very interesting points you have noted, thanks for putting up.

  2. GIP Alpaca December 30, 2013 12:39 am  Reply

    Thanks for the feedback. All the best with your game too!

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