Letters from a Maladroit

Math RPG - Part 1: Introduction

My current project is an RPG with a math-based combat system. I plan to post weekly updates about my progress. My hope is that this will motivate me to complete one of my project ideas for once.

I recently saw CodeCombat and I thought why not try something similar for teaching math. At least initially I’m imagining a simple system where players must answer a math problem to attack or cast spells. There are definitely drawbacks, but for now I’m trying to block out my doubts.

Currently I’m building the game without an HTML5 game engine. My secondary goal is to inspire players to hack and extend the game, so I would like the engine to be as simple as possible. I once took a Flash game programming course where the professor gave us freedom to be creative and needless to say I spent hours and hours learning from online resources and adding additional features to each project. I would like other students to feel that same drive to make the coolest game they can think of for no reason other than it’s fun and challenging.

On the flip-side, I can also see how a well-crafted HTML5 game engine from experienced game developers could make hacking and exploration easier. I just think students would have less freedom due to the complexity.

Another argument in favor of using an open source game engine is that it would make development faster and I wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel, especially since my implementations would not be as a polished.

Development has been slow, but I expect it to pick up once I get over the hump and gain more confidence. It’s tough starting from nothing and not being able to see tangible results yet. I’ve also been side-tracked trying to learn rudimentary pixel art. It’s actually kind of fun, but it’s taking time from my programming.