wiki:Competitive analysis

Version 3 (modified by jwentworth, 4 years ago) (diff)


  1. Solman
    1. Target : This game is a previous CS121 game targeted at a similar audience (recommended by Prof. Z). This game aims to teach kids in a similar age group to ours about how the sun creates wind and weather.
    2. Fun Factor : This game has only 3 levels that don't change. Each level requires only at most two different actions to be performed. As such this game does not have a high replay-ability factor. Additionally there is no competitive pressure (time, limited lives etc.) in each level, which does in tandem with the very limited number of actions does not make for a very exciting game.
    3. Teaching Potential : This game does incorporate some of our learning objectives, specifically that heat flows in fluids by conduction (thus wind). Additionally that energy can be transferred via light. However this game does not make active use of energy transferring via the sun (i.e. with some way to block out the sun, and thus can't use heat, or "creates" cold), and no movement of the heat is observed when creating wind. As such, this game does not take advantage of the possible interactive nature of the game and merely tells the user these facts, which are only mildly correlated with game play.
    4. Genre/Mechanics? : It would be possible as a platformer to achieve some of our design goals, however this game fails to achieve them in this manner. The platformer would have to make use of existing currents for increased/decreased movement, or show heat movement. Also the game creates some confusing conditions due to treating heat as a point source.
    5. Difficulty : This game is very easy, which may be needed for the particular group it is targeted at. However a slight increase in difficult such that a player would have to make more use of our learning objectives would probably be advantageous.
    6. Appeal : This game in addition to lacking reply-ability, also has problems if a student watches a previous student play the game. The latter student can merely mimic the first student and achieve the same goals, with even less focus on our learning objectives.
    7. Potential : This game is not long enough to make into a class session, and can only be played once. It probably doesn't have very high potential for use in the classroom.
  1. Incredible Machine
    1. Target: The target of the game is to create a series of challenging puzzles requiring the user to make Rube Goldberg like machines to achieve certain goals, such as getting a basketball in a hoop, or a person to his house.
    2. Fun Factor: This game has many levels, and lots of different fun and quirky parts to use, and a lot of complexity in the later levels. I personally remember having lots of fun playing when I was in middle school.
    3. Teaching Potential: This game teaches a lot about the conservation of mechanical energy (specifically gravitational potential), but doesn't have as much teaching value in terms of heat transfer, conduction, convection etc.
    4. Genre/Mechanics? : The only game mechanic is moving, stretching and rotating different parts, before letting the system run, and seeing if the goal is achieved. This actually does a good job at achieving the learning objective. By changing the position of certain parts, the user can see how the momentum and energy of the objects change.
    5. Difficulty : This game has many levels ranging from very easy to very difficult, which is the range we would desire in our project. This allows students to get a hang of the game and do some easier things earlier, but challenge them later.
    6. Appeal: This game is very appealing. With the sometimes quirky objects that you can use, and unconventional goals, the user is never bored, despite simple game play mechanic.
    7. Potential: An Incredible-Machine-like game has a lot of potential to achieve our learning objectives. The level based structure allows us to vary difficulty, and add complexity, length, and flexibility to our game. The simple mechanics of moving parts around, and then letting a system run is easy to learn and intuitive. The only part of this type of game that would need to be changed is the focus of the levels. As was noted, The Incredible Machine focuses on mainly mechanical processes, whereas we would want our game to focus more on thermal processes.
  1. The Falling Sands Game
    1. Target : The falling sands game is a simple web game aimed at a general audience.
    2. Fun Factor : The major appeal in this game is the lack of imposed structure. There is no scoring, no plot, no requirements. The game world begins completely empty and is created entirely by the player, so each player creates their own experience. This makes the game audience universal. Plus, it's very addictive.
    3. The interface and mechanics of this game could be very well suited to the learning objectives of our game. The falling sands consists almost exclusively of an artificial physics and an interface to interact with it. The player quickly gains an intuition for in-game physics. If the game physics were built to mimic true physics, the same could be acheived for true physics. In particular, a similar interface designed for waves or heat could help visualize and intuit the behavior of those physical phenomena.
    4. Genre/Mechanics? : The falling sands consists almost exclusively of an artificial physics and an interface to interact with it.
    5. Difficulty : Without any definition of winning or losing, game difficulty is largely irrelevant.
    6. Appeal : There are no obvious biases. The interface is simple, and the game does not have the complexity for cultural references. Even the minimal use of words within the game (to label buttons) could easily be removed to eliminate language bias.
    7. Potential : The game is a web app, so technical requirements are minimal (computer with internet access and a mouse... doesn't even require two mouse buttons). I have personally played the game during a class, so I can vouch for its appropriateness for a classroom.