|Zorgon Undertaking- Competitive Analysis
|Lunar Colony (Left Brain Games)
|Lunar Colony is an educational game set on the moon. It’s a sandbox strategy game which places the player in control of one of several companies competing on the moon’s surface. The player must make strategic decisions about which buildings to build and where to build them, reacting to changing game conditions. Gameplay takes place on a 9x9 board, with players taking turns placing buildings. These buildings consume certain resources and produce others, and at the end of every turn excess resources are sold and required resources are purchased at prices based on market forces within the game. After each turn the player is shown statistics on prices and the actions of their competitors, which they must use to make decisions in their next turn. The game requires players to use an understanding of supply and demand to make strategic economic decisions, and the configurable difficulty level makes it appropriate for a wider group of students. The space setting makes the somewhat dry content more interesting, and the changing geography, weather, and opponent attributes from game to game increase replayability. Similar dynamically generated features may be appropriate for our game. A demo is available online and the game runs on Windows and Mac.
|The Last Village (BeluGerin Games) http://www.ponged.com/strategygames/thelastvillage-4632
|The Last Village is a turned based strategy game in which you control a Native American village and must defend it from other tribes. The game is played on a 5x5 board allowing the player to place certain buildings on different squares. The player must choose where to move their five generals in order to defend from attacking villages. The battle play involves summoning units and having them march at the attackers and using the generals special abilities. In the city mode the player must choose which buildings to build while maintaining resources for their troops. This teaches the user how to distribute resources in order to effectively maintain a village while under attack. In addition there is a trading component where you can sell or buy the three resources that are used to build troops, weapons and buildings. Each turn is one day of time and you are allowed to move generals once per day. The game play is somewhat complicated at the start and difficult to pick up very quickly. However, the game play quickly becomes repetitive and fairly boring. This game has many components that are similar to our concept, however does not have much interactions with other tribes. The game has three graphics settings so it is not required to have a high end graphics card. The only requirement for this game would be to have access to the Internet to play this game.
|Pikmin is a strategy game in which you crash land on an alien planet and need to repair your ship in a certain amount of time. To do this, you use Pikmin, which are small creatures on the planet who are happy to help you (i.e. they’re player controlled). You use the Pikmin to solve puzzles and defeat other creatures so that you can collect the parts necessary to repair your ship. The Pikmin come in three different varieties, suitable for different tasks, and collecting Pikmin is part of your task. The game is not explicitly education, but players must apply learned strategies to complete the puzzles and must manage their time well to repair the ship in time. The division of the game into approximately 13 minute days (Pikmin must return to safety before nightfall) breaks gameplay up into smaller logical blocks, and having to collect multiple parts to repair the ship gives the player incremental goals. This sense of progress makes the game compelling to play, and the escalating nature of the puzzles makes play rewarding throughout.
|Civilization is a turn based strategy game in which the player is tasked with building an empire, starting from just one settler unit. They must interact with a number of other cultures (computer players) in order to build themselves up. The scope of this game is huge spanning from 4000BC to near future times. This game is unlike the others because it allows the player to be diplomatic in their interactions and can even win through diplomatic means. This is an important part of our learning objective. However this is undermined slightly because it’s much more fun to attempt to conquer the whole world that to try to achieve peace. Additionally the game play is particularly long to complete and would not be appropriate for school use for that reason. There are much more recent versions of civilization so technology would not be a concern for playing this game. What’s particularly enjoyable about these types of games is that as your empire develops you can research new technology, which adds more features as you play. Also it stresses the importance of interaction as you can develop much more quickly by sharing technology, but also having technology others don’t have can give you an advantage.
|SimCity is a real time strategy game where the player manages the development and resources of a city. They control building placement, road construction, utilities management, taxes, and a myriad of other factors affecting the growth of the city. Unlike our game, SimCity has no particular goal. It is a sandbox in which the player may do anything they want, including terrorizing the city with natural disasters. Our learning objective seeks to promote cultural diversity and responsible resource management, so this open ended approach is too broad. In addition, the complexity of SimCity may be an impediment to the targeted age group. Later iterations of the SimCity series include advisors that give suggestions to the player on how to better manage their city. This feature increases playability as players do not have to read instructions or follow tutorials before diving right into gameplay.
|Age of Empires (Microsoft Games)
|Age of Empires is a series of real-time strategy games where the playesr oversees the growth and development of a settlement from its beginnings to its demise. In the game, the player constructs buildings, trains new workers, gathers resources, and builds armies in order to conquer all of the other players on the map. The overall goal is to make the largest civilization by vanquishing all other enemy settlements that get into the player’s way. However, there is an added twist to this game that makes it more interesting than other real-time strategy games. This game features 13 real-world ancient civilizations from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas that the player can choose to be. Each civilization contains historically accurate technology, military units, and buildings that are only available to it. Not only does this game serve as a method of entertainment for adults and children alike, it also can be a learning experience for them. Although the game does provide plenty of historical knowledge to the player, it still consists of themes such as violence and war, which may or may not be suitable to the classroom. Overall, this game is similar to our game in that they both involve managing small settlements. However, our game will be turn-based and will focus more on the interactions and the relationships between settlements rather than just conquest and war.
|Rationalize your choices and discuss their relative importance. Describe how you would assess whether your game, when completed, meets each of these objectives.
|1) Allow the user to choose different ways of interacting with the native inhabitants of Zorgon.
| Since interaction with the different groups of natives is vital for the learning objective. The students should learn how conflict and cooperation affect the division of the planet and its resources. A sense of being in control is also vital to keeping players engaged. This will be assessed as complete if the player has control over interactions with the natives and can choose how they treat them.
|2) Give the player a sense of progress as they work towards the overall goal. Giving the player discrete goals keeps them entertained and motivated throughout the course of the game.
| This is to keep the students interested in the game so they will actually want to play it and learn what we are attempting to teach them. This will be assessed with user surveys to determine if the students understood the progress goals and how many could complete the game.
|3) Require wise resource management in order to finish the game. The player will have to make decisions on which resources to prioritize.
| The student will learn that you have to work towards a larger goal by carefully allocating
| their resources towards smaller milestones.
|4) Have aesthetically pleasing design and a usable, intuitive interface.
| If the student is unable to understand how to play the game or if it’s ugly then there is no chance that the students will take anything away from the game. This can be assessed by surveying players to determine how intuitive game play is
|5) Engage the player in an exciting and thrilling story line.
| Users will feel more connected to the game if the story is interesting. Players who are more invested in the story are more likely to continue playing. When the game is completed, we play-test the game with a group and question them on the quality of the story.