Introduction: Atlantic Adventures: the Frozen Sight
(Physics Concept Behind)
The main concept behind the virtual game “Atlantic Adventures: The Frozen Sight”, turned into a game for children with the use of Microsoft PowerPoint, is about vector which is one of the fundamental concepts of Physics. A vector is graphically represented as a section with an arrow on its end. It constitutes a set of ordered points and consists of direction and magnitude. In the virtual game, the direction of the vector indicates the direction of the boat as it tries to avoid hitting icebergs and the magnitude of the vector represents the magnitude of the boat and ocean in velocity. The game focuses on helping the player master some of the lessons in vector, which are namely finding the resultant velocity and component vector, blended with the game design to have its appeal to children as the audience. When it comes to the gameplay, the ship is designed to deliver petroleum from the United States of America (USA) to its destination which is United Kingdom (UK), and it has to get past icebergs as it passes through the icy part of the Atlantic Ocean. The player has to solve problems concerning resultant velocity, direction, horizontal, and vertical component vector to help steer the ship to the correct path and to avoid getting hit by enormous icebergs. The player has to solve the questions accurately because one mistake would already guarantee that the ship will hit an iceberg. This virtual game is immersive to children due to the design, easy-to-play with clear instructions, and very fun while enhancing the knowledge of children with regards to the concept of vector. Learning about a complex Physics concept has never been this fun!
• Calculator (used in formulating vector problems)
• Microsoft PowerPoint
• GIFs (sea waves, bird, sailboat) – These can all be found in this link: http://giphy.com
• Pictures (cargo ship, icebergs, captain, sailor, compass, map, dock) – These can all be found in the following links: http://ph.pinterest.com and http://flaticon.com
• Pinterest (used in finding the appropriate theme for the game)
• Music (can be found on YouTube)
- “Pallet Town (Pokemon Theme Song)”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOWRNLaCMJg
- “Kero-Kero Bonito – Flamingo (8-bit Cover) (No Vocals)”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-AjviI61RQ
• dafont.com (used in searching for fonts): http://dafont.com
Step 1: Formulating Questions for the Game.
The main idea of our game is all about a boat traveling through the icy part of the Atlantic Ocean to arrive at its destination. This would concern solving vector problems to get past massive icebergs. The first step in creating the game is formulating questions about finding the resultant velocity, direction, horizontal component, and vertical component which are all related to the concept of vector. We carefully crafted all of our questions and checked if their corresponding answers are correct. The purpose of this game is to enhance the knowledge and problem-solving skills of children with regard to vectors. We do not want to spread any wrong information considering the fact that this game would be posted. It is our responsibility to make sure that every information embedded in our game is correct in order for its purpose to be fulfilled.
Step 2: Finding the Right Theme.
A theme is fundamental for this is where the game would revolve, and so we searched for video game inspirations on the website called Pinterest. The main theme we have chosen for the game concerns a pirate type of exploration that revolves around the player as the sailor that helps in navigating through the Atlantic Ocean. We also chose the design to be “pixels” or “8 bit” just like when it comes to the old video games, namely Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., and Bomberman.
Step 3: Finding the Music Suitable for the Game Through YouTube.
With a retro style as our chosen theme, the music choice now depends on the 90's style theme with it being exciting, stimulating, interesting, and enjoyable at the same time. Since the design theme of the game is “pixel” or “8 bit”, we did a little research and looked for 8-bit music on YouTube that is suitable for a pirate type of exploration. Once we decided which song to use, we converted the YouTube video to an MP3, and then we put it on the PowerPoint. When it comes to the sound effects that can be used for the game, we basically just did the same thing wherein we searched for it on YouTube, and then convert it to MP3.
Step 4: Choosing Pictures to Be Used for the Game.
By being accentuated to the retro-styled game, some pictures used were pixelated which highlights the true essence of the game. We used the following words to search for photos: png and transparent. With these words, Google will provide pictures with transparent backgrounds. However, it was a bit difficult to look for pictures with this type of background. As a solution to this, we used Photoshop’s magic wand tool to remove the background whenever we see a non-transparent photo. Although, you can also create your own graphics to use if you feel like it!
Step 5: Getting the Right Fonts With DaFont.
The fonts by the same token must give 90s game vibes given the theme of the music and also the style of the characters used. We searched for the fonts at dafont.com, a website where you can download thousands of fonts for free. There are not that many pixelated fonts, but the ones available are nice, nevertheless.
Step 6: Searching for GIFs.
As the game is made through PowerPoint, it would look like nothing is happening or the game itself is comparable to the word "dead" if there are no movements of objects. Using gifs would be fun and simultaneously interesting. This was also a difficult task because some GIFs are low-quality and there are not enough GIFs that fit our 8-bit ocean theme. *Tip: if you want to use videos, you can convert it into a GIF using this website - ezgif.com.
Step 7: Formulating the Instructions on How to Play the Actual Game.
It is now time to finalize the instructions for the game so that players would know how to play it. We were very careful in constructing this part because we do not want to cause any confusion that might frustrate the player and compromise the content of our game. We made sure that the instructions are very clear to be able to effectively enhance the knowledge and analytical skills of the player with regards to the concept of vector.
INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO PLAY THE ACTUAL GAME
1. A cargo ship will sail through the North Atlantic Ocean from USA to UK to deliver petroleum. The player needs to answer Physics-based questions about resultant velocity and component vectors in order to get past its icy part and arrive at the destination.
2. The role of the player is the sailor who would help the captain navigate the correct route to help the ship arrive at the destination.
3. Since the game is designed for children, the number of tries and the time limit in answering the questions are disregarded for easier gameplay.
4. The game would not be over until all the questions are answered correctly by the player to promote learning and analysis of vector problems.
5. The particular question where the player made a mistake will repeat until he/she gets the correct answer. The player can try all he/she wants to arrive at the correct answer for each question.
6. After coming up with wrong answers for some questions, there are some tips to appear such as "Be careful next time, we don't know how much this ship can last longer when we hit an iceberg" and "The ship is almost not stable. Focus. We can still manage to get out of this icy part of the ocean" which are to be disregarded since it has been established that the player can try all he/she wants to get the correct answer. These tips are just to encourage the player to analyze more the problems given.
7. The player will progress through the questions one-by-one to learn and know the answers for each question while simultaneously having fun in the process with the design of the game.
8. When the ship has arrived at its destination, the player will receive an exclusive badge as a reward to commend the way he/she helped solve problems to get past the icebergs and arrive at the destination.
Step 8: Creating the Game With Microsoft PowerPoint.
By gathering all the resources needed in making the game, it is now time to put them in their respective and appropriate slides in the PowerPoint. The instructions on how to play the game, the storyline, the questions, and the like are inserted. The next thing is utilizing hyperlinks wherein we made a What if factor. Linking all the choices to another slide given the situation that the player chooses is carefully executed. When you click a certain object on a slide, it will bring you to a different slide. You can do this by inserting a hyperlink with the following steps: 1) Select an object, 2) Click the Insert tab, 3) Click Action (the one with a star inside a box), 4) Click “Hyperlink to”, and then 5) Choose on which slide do you want that button to bring you. Be careful when putting hyperlinks, you might make the button bring you to a different and inappropriate slide!
Step 9: Adding Loading Screens.
By adding this type of feature, it accents the style of some games we know today. The loading screens are filled with tips like the one presented above to encourage the player to analyze more the vector problems. Adding loading screens complements the smoothness of the flow or transition of the game. In addition, it might even bring motivation to the player. You can come up with your own strategy on what to put in the loading screens. You are not limited to only adding tips for the game. Let your creative mind take over your own game!
Step 10: Making the Credits Scene.
In creating your own game, it is highly recommended to give yourself and other people the credit that you all deserved. By doing this, you are able to express the fruits of your hard work and dedication turned into a success in creating a virtual game. After all your efforts, it feels great to see your name at the end credits, right?