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The Book of Math
The Book of Math presents a fun way for children to learn math by using a unique/custom battle system, in which the player must solve addition and subtraction problems of varying difficulty in order to defeat their foes and save their school. The game is played in the traditional top down RPG style where the player can run into enemies, and enter a turn/time based battle system.
During battle, the player enters two phases, the attack and defense phase. During the attack phase, the faster the player answers, the more damage they deal. During the defense phase, they take less damage the faster they answer. Upon hitting an enemy or being hit, a burst of numbers explodes out of the object being hit, indicating the amount of damage taken or dealt.
As players progresses through the game, they are introduced to more challenging problems, by increasing the range of the numbers in the problem, or the number of digits in the problem. When a player clears a room, they are rewarded with more health and damage, to help with the increasing difficulty in problems.
Theme and Technical Features
The theme of the game was to introduced a fun way for children to learn math. To enhance the theme and make it more engaging for the player, the game uses an adaptive dialogue AI agent which monitors the players battle performance. During battles, the game tracks data on how the player is doing in terms of problem solving. Using utility methods, the AI agent pursues an action to take to satisfy it's goal of giving the player feedback, advice or encouragement on how they are doing with their problem solving. Actions are represented as dialogue the player reads after battles, which may for example comment on how well they are doing, or try to give advice for areas of math they are struggling with. It can also notice cool things the player does like answering problems fast, answering problems correct on the first attempt, or if they seem to do well with particular numbers.
The AI also tries to create challenges for the player, depending on certain conditions the player has met. The player can seek these out by finding books scattered throughout the level. If the player seems to be struggling in certain areas, it will build a challenge to help them overcome what they are struggling with. If they are doing well in an area, it will ramp up the difficulty to challenge them further.
This feature helped to push the theme of making the game a great learning experience for young children, as it makes the player feel like someone is paying attention to them and noticing their actions. When you engage actively with what a child is doing, and actively give them feedback, it makes for a great learning experience, and this game gives the player that experience.
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