For my Digital Media Design Capstone Project, my group and I were given the opportunity to participate in the Science Island and Kasese Humanist Primary School (KHPS) project. We were tasked to develop several outcomes in response to one of the questions asked by the Kasese Humanist Primary School students. The question we received was "What is bacteria and what are the different types?". The outcomes we had to develop was a science-based children's book, animation, quiz, experiment, game and song. These outcomes will be accessible within the "Science Island" game where users can find science-based questions and view the outcomes that answer the topic.
My primary roles were project manager and game designer/coder. I worked on developing the games assets, sound, code and design. While also assisting in the animations script and character designs.
The Game's Requirements
The primary objective of the project was to teach young students about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). However since all of the other outcomes have such a strong focus on teaching STEM, the game's primary goal was to bring enjoyment to the students. The only requirements of the game were that it had to make sense within the context of the project's overall narrative told across the several outcomes. It also needed to be playable for at least 3 minutes and accessible to all different skill types. And it needed to be developed within Unity3D exported as Web GL.
Dr.Bacterium's Battle Of Bacteria is a side-scroller about saving a boy named Timmy from the bad bacteria inside his stomach. You play as Dr.Bacterium and travel down into Timmy's body to battle against the different kinds of bad bacteria. You use Dr.Bacterium's trusty anti-biotic blaster, to eliminate all of the threats. While gaining helpful tips from the surrounding good bacteria. You engage with several types of enemies that each requires a different way to approach. Be warned though, there seems to be something large waiting at the end of the tunnel for Dr.Bacterium, and it doesn't look friendly.
The level design was the most difficult task to work on for the game. The target audience's age of 10-12 is usually where a lot of people start to get heavily invested in games. So I had to design the game to be fun both for students who play games regularly and for students who may have never touched a game before in their life.
To resolve this issue I split the game into two halves. The first half taught the core mechanics of the game in a mostly stress-free environment where users were allowed to make mistakes while learning the game's controls. Each mechanic was introduced once at a time. They would then later be tested where their understanding of the mechanic was required to pass onto the next area. Once they reach the end of this tutorial section the player is rewarded tokens that they can use to spend on "Science Island". So if the player wanted to they could leave the game there and move on and view the rest of the outcomes. However, if the player is willing and skilled enough they can choose to continue playing to earn more rewards.
The second half consisted of harder sections that used the game's mechanics in unique ways forcing the playing to use everything at their disposal in order to complete the stage. Checkpoints were littered across the stage to ensure if anything potentially unfair were to occur that the player that they can just continue nearby from where they died. Once they reach the end of the level they fight a boss in order to end the game, upon completion you a rewarded with an end game screen and are given more tokens to spend on science island.