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jackolantern1

Educational shooter idea

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I was trying to think up a concept for a basic math educational game, perhaps centered on learning multiplication tables. I had an idea to create a game somewhat like Galaga. The game would be a 2D shooter with enemy ships moving on to the screen in groups, diving for the player and shooting bullets. There will be a number that is constantly changing on the player's ship. There will also be numbers on each enemy ship and bullet. When the player gets hit by an enemy ship of an enemy bullet, they must quickly answer what the enemy number and the current player ship numbers are multiplied together. If they answer in a certain time frame, their shield protects them from the hit, but if they take too long, they will take the hit and die. As the levels go on, the numbers get higher, into double-digits. However, also between rounds, there will be short tutorials on how to multiply longer numbers in your head. Bosses could also be present in the game, but I have not decided on how they would work. What does everyone think, and do you have any ideas for how bosses could work? Also, this idea seems pretty obvious, so has anyone ever seen something like this before? Thanks!

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When I was in elementary school, we had these old computers with games in which you would have to answer arithmetic questions to get ammunition for a little 2D fighter-bomber game. It was great fun, the fighting part at least.

I'm not sure about multiplying numbers on the ships. It would be very difficult just to keep track of which numbers you are supposed to be multiplying at any given second, much less actually doing the math. Keeping all that stuff in your head is a whole other skill.

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I think it's a really interesting idea. You'd have to let them see the numbers as they answer though. You could also drastically slow down time during that bullet hit, but not completely, thus making for the time-based fail condition.

You could also expand the concept from addition all the way to differential calculus and beyond, or to fields beyond math.

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i had a game similar to that in the third grade called math blaster. i remember it actually being fun. im pretty sure your idea will work pretty well. I would do some play testing with some kids to see if the game will be too difficult or not. personally i wouldnt do anything more difficult than multiplying 2 numbers together. when you add more than that, it becomes really difficult. difficult enough that a lot of adults wouldnt be able to keep up. adding several numbers is a lot easier though.

as for the setting up numbers to multiply together, i would suggest having an equation show up on the bullet itself. that way the player only has to concentrate on one spot rather remembering which ship it came from and then looking back at their own ship. during that time the player can type in their answer.

Quote:
Original post by lightbringer
You could also expand the concept from addition all the way to differential calculus and beyond, or to fields beyond math.


i REALLY like the idea of calculus. omg that would have helped me out soooo much a few semesters ago! you could teach simple concepts in learning chain rule, product rule, quotient rule, integrals, etc.

i havent taken differential cal so i dont know much about it :D

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Ohhh, I forgot to mention that I did plan to have the game stop and show the numbers that must be multiplied. There is no way the player could answer the problem while still trying to shoot and dodge enemies. However, I do like the "bullet time" idea. Even if you do not control the ship while you are answering, I think that would look more attractive then just stopping everything and putting a dialog box on the screen. And yes, the numbers will have to be clearly shown to the player so they can easily know what they are trying to figure.

The reason I thought multiplication would work well is because multiplication tables really have to be memorized, and playing a game is definitely a more fun way than using flash cards. However, once the game is made, it would likely be trivial to change out the problems to addition, subtraction, etc. The only parts that would take a bit of time would be changing out the between-round tutorials that help the player learn along the way.

Also, I think it could be more than just 2 single-digit numbers. For example, 8 times 23 seems hard to do in your head at first, but all you have to do is multiply 20 times 8 to get 160, and then add 3 times 8, which is 24 ,to get 184. Learning how to determine these strategies could be given between rounds to help players with the higher, more difficult levels.

I do remember playing Math Blaster, and a couple of the concepts are somewhat similar, such as having numbers tied to in-game objects. However, you shot at the correct answer for an existing problem in that game. A lot of fun back on the old Apple IIe years ago.

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What about when you fire a charge up blast, you have it go to slow motion, then you have to do the problem before the bullet hits (which could be adjusted for tougher or easier problems). And if you get it right you get like double score or extra lives, maybe a powerup or something. But if you get it wrong, you get half points, and a popup shows you where you messed up on the problem. If you can keep the game more action oriented, than... "solve this question. Oooh wow animated cutscene plays again, woohoo... lets get this over with." It could be really fun.

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I like the idea of having problems on the bullets. You could just see if inputted numbers match any bullets that are in transit. If it does, the ship's defense laser successfully locks onto the bullet/missile and destroys it. Otherwise, you give them some sort of penalty.

I keep thinking of typing games like Typer Shark in connection with this idea.

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The idea of having hits interrupt the flow of the game seems like it might be distracting. Maybe instead, you could have a changing number on your ship, and each of the enemy ships would also have numbers. To destroy the ship you'd have to shoot them with the correct weapon -- 1 through 9. So your ship has the number 20, an enemy comes on screen with the number 5, and you destroy it by shooting it with a 4.

That way the math is part of the flow of the game, instead of a punishment/interruption.

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I'm pretty sure everybody knows that link but I cannot resist telling everybody you should type or die. Just for inspiration. I've read on game developer magazine about "the typing of the dead", a house of the dead mod... which seems to be JAP only for obvious reasons...

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