Blowfish Studios (uncredited) for Marshall Cavendish Education
Brainy Arkies (2016)
Producer, Game and Narrative Designer, Writer
Worked with representatives from Marshall Cavendish Education to define gameplay/project goals; improved the core loop; wrote dialogue in line with initial approved character voice; created new characters, character descriptions, and storylines; designed new gameplay (“invasion” and minigames); game balancing, level, and content design.
Visit the Brainy Arkies Website to learn more!
Brainy Arkies is a city builder game with a focus on helping kids practice their mathematics skills, as well as allowing parents to monitor their child’s progress. It is based on the Singaporean 2018 MOE Maths Syllabus, and was led and commissioned by educational textbook publisher Marshall Cavendish Education.
Aside from my role as a Producer to deliver the project on time and to the expected quality, the key aspects of design I brought to this project were:
- Core Loop Design
After consulting with the client, it was agreed that the moment-to-moment gameplay of doing Maths Quizzes was to be a free activity to be available at all times. As a result, I pitched and then designed and balanced the game around the use of Maths Quizzes to level up your characters, which would allow players to unlock “Tomes,” which then allow building to be built. Buildings cost but produce gold, which is also used to clear obstacles on the island, which allow for more building space as well as sometimes dropping Tomes.
- Level/Progression Design
With the basic core loop in place, I was responsible for determining and balancing the cost of obstacles as well as the location where Tomes would drop, along with the creation of “quests” to help guide the player along and reward them to help with progression, as well as “Daily Challenges” to add variety. I also planned for future updates and expansions, and the system of unlocking new worlds and returning to visit older islands to gain additional currency.
- “Island Defense” Design and Balancing
The “Island Defense” is a tower-defense style game intended to increase Social interaction as well as add gameplay variation. I designed both the towers and enemies, including their abilities, and worked alongside Art to define their design.
- Character Design and Dialogue
The high-level storyline premise was defined by the Client and Director of Business Development, but I took over the character design and worked with the Art team to develop their look and unique personalities. This was then reflected in their dialogue, as well as the long-term storyline of the Arkies, including their character development.
A specific case I’d like to mention was that of the main character, Kylie: as I researched the culture and experiences of Signaporean school children, I learned that many of them develop anxiety and depression very young, due to the stress placed on them to perform in school; as a result, I created a story arc where Kylie was suffering under the pressure to lead the other Arkies and create a beautiful world, but her friends began to worry about her and agreed to show her their support. I hope that this could inspire the students who are feeling under pressure to not feel so alone or strange, as well as encourage all students to reach out and support their friends.
Other videos illustrating the currencies in the game: