The first couple of weeks was all about learning how to think of games and planning what our game would be developed into. During the first week we did a lot of switching groups. One day each group created a game and the other groups would watch the game being played and try to figure out all the rules. In doing this, we learned that watching games is much for fun and engaging than just reading instructions. Another day we had to get into groups of two and create an educational game specifically for our partner. This helped us learn how to create a fun yet educational game that someone our age would enjoy playing, but learn at the same time.
Once we were put in our final groups, my group was assigned health. We first had to brainstorm what we wanted to teach about health. We originally decided to make a game to teach about malaria, the prevention of malaria, and treatments for it. On the last day of the first week, my group began to prototype our game. We started drawing it out and planning how it was going to look as a tablet and a board game. We took a break from that the skype with Nivi, our coaches friend who currently lives in Kenya. She told us a little bit about herself and Elimu. She also gave us some information on the education in Kenya. She ended up suggesting that my group think about making our game about hand washing because that is an important problem there. She wanted us to educate people when to wash their hands: especially before eating, cooking, changing a diaper, etc. We took her idea into consideration, and we tried to change our game so it would teach kids about the importance of washing their hands and when it is important to do so. Later that day, we had to start planning out our new game about hand washing.
During the second week, our coaches friend, Cody, came in to meet with each group and give some feedback. He told us that they don’t use sinks, but rather tanks and faucets. He also told us the name of a popular song in Kenya that all the children know called Jambo Bwana. A very catchy song that everyone knows. We then decided we wanted to have that song play as background music during the 20 seconds for each level to show how long the kids need to wash their hands in order for them to get clean. We also had to go through our whole game, find all the holes in it, and fix them. When we first sketched out the game, we drew the top of the hands, but we later changed it to be the palm of the hands.
During the third week,we learned how to make the game logic and flow. We had to write what would happen for each choice someone might make.
On the first day of the second part of the studio, we had to create our Game Logic. We split the game logic into four sections: Objects, Points, Impact, and Cost. We had to figure out how much upgrades cost, what each power-up does to help, and how many points you get for getting rid of the different kinds of germs.
On the first day we worked only digitally, we downloaded Game-Maker and Animation-ish and used Game Maker to program a rough version of our groups hand washing game. After downloading the program and writing out a test code using a tutorial/instructions, we realized it was just a one day trial and we couldn't play the game. We had to then download another version of that program and re-write the code for the test game. We practiced adding different objects, sounds, clicking, etc. Once we got the hang of it, we began programming our groups game. We inserted a picture of two hands for the background and set the background music.
We used a program called Animation-ish. This program to make the sketch at the end of our game. The process of this hand washing sketch was basically a online flip book. Each from would be a drawing and the following from would be the same but with a small change so when the book was flipped through you would see things move slowly.
After testing out our game by having other people play it, there were some common problems. Multiple people said that it was too hard to click the target. To solve this problem, we made the germs a little bigger so there was a larger target to click. We also added a high score button so people will know what score they need get to beat the high score. That makes it more competitive and for the player.
We also added in facts about the specific germs, how they harm you, and other facts about hand washing. The other edits we did today was we made the germs look like bugs to make them look more interesting and fun, made the facts pop-up, made it so the score shows up at the end, and made some germs appear and disappear.
This game tends to both India and Kenya. One difference would be the skin of it. The difference of the two games would mainly be the physical appearance like the water resource and the type of the sink. Also, the song playing in the background is specific to the country.