Glyph – Level Design Guidelines – Exploration


This article presents the level design guidelines for the Exploration game mode for Glyph. The Exploration game mode is the primary game mode of Glyph.

This article outlines the rules of the game mode and delves into the level design guidelines for the mode. This article is made publicly available for those who may have interest in the design and development process of Glyph.


In order to fully grasp the level design guidelines written in this article, it is important to understand the rules that apply to this game mode, and to be familiar with Glyph in general.

The following is a short walk-through of the rules that defines the Exploration game mode of Glyph. If you are familiar with Glyph, you can probably skip this section.


The main goal in the Exploration game mode is to obtain all collectables. These collectables are scattered across the level and it is up to the player to overcome the challenges presented in the level and collect them.

The types of collectables found in this mode are coins, gems, keys, artifacts, and a hidden avatar capsule. The player is free to go for any amount of the collectables in a level without collecting all of them. The player must however collect all keys in order to unlock the level’s exit portal which must be entered in order to complete the level.


The Glyph (the player character) will explode if it collides with the terrain (sand, snow, or clouds) or any other hostile surface. In that scenario, the player will respawn at the level’s start location. The collectable types; keys and avatar capsules, are lost when the Glyph explodes, and will reset to their original positions.

Movement Abilities

There are no movement restrictions in the Exploration game mode. All movement abilities (roll, jump, double jump, smash, and glide) are available to the player.


The Exploration game mode is the only mode that contains all collectable types except for the cosmetic trail item.


Coins are one of the three currencies in the game. Coins are used for unlocking new exploration levels in the temple (the game’s level hub). There are usually between 15 and 30 coins in a level. The coins are the easiest of all of the collectables to obtain, although the difficulty varies depending on the level. They are usually placed in positions that nudge the player down a certain path, or in positions that represent a minor challenge.


Gems are another currency in the game. Gems are used for unlocking new level areas of the temple. They are essentially what the player needs in order to progress through the areas in the game. There are between 1 and 3 gems in an exploration level, and these are usually placed in positions that represent a significant challenge, or in a position of significance to the flow or aesthetics of the level.


Keys are only present within levels, and are used for opening the level’s exit portal, allowing the player to complete the level and return to the temple. There are between 1 and 3 keys in a level, and as with gems, these are usually put in positions that represent a significant challenge, or in positions that are significant to the flow or aesthetics of the level.


Artifacts are the last of the three currencies in the game. There is one artifact in each exploration level. These can only be collected after all coins in the level have been collected. Artifacts are used for unlocking levels of the special game mode called Time Trial.

Avatar Capsules

Every exploration level contains a hidden avatar capsule. In order to reveal the avatar capsule, the player must find a hidden button and press it. After the button is pressed, a new challenge is revealed within the level, where the avatar capsule is placed so that the player must complete the challenge in order to collect it. The avatar capsule will grant the player a new cosmetic skin for their character which is unique to that specific exploration level.

Level Design Guidelines

This is not a walk-through of how to design a Glyph Exploration level. There are many technical steps that goes into producing a level. This article is not about those.

The guidelines presented here are meant for you to have in the back of your mind throughout the level design process. They should give you guidance, clarity, and direction in your work as a level designer, and help you make good decisions along the way.

An Exploration Experience

Fundamentally, the Exploration game mode is supposed to give the player an exploration experience. As such, the goal when designing a level for this game mode, is to give the player feelings of curiosity, wonder, mystery, and in essence, a feeling of exploring.

Reward Curiosity

Invoking a feeling of exploring may sound like a vague target, but it is important to keep in mind when designing and testing your level. The player should be encouraged to be curious, and be motivated to want to explore.

Is the player being rewarded for being curious? Rewards for being curious can be anything from revealing a secret or collecting some coins, to reaching a vantage point that has an awesome view. Simply seeing an attractive collectable in the distance can invoke curiosity. “What is over there?”. “How do I get over there?”.

If there are many opportunities for the player to feel rewarded for exploration and being curious, there are good chances that you are on a path to having designed a good Glyph Exploration level.

Freedom & Hand Holding

With exploration levels in particular, it is important to strike a good balance between giving the player enough freedom to explore and pick their own paths, while also making the level navigable. By making a level navigable, I mean making sure that the level does not come off as a confusing mess where the player loses track of what is going on, but more importantly, keeping a display of established paths, so that when the players do divert from these, they will be more likely to be aware of it. Making the player aware of the possibility to divert from established paths is important in order to give the player a sense of being the captain of their exploration experience. They should not feel like they are locked in for a ride.

We learned early on that levels that only had a few long linear paths made for a poor exploration experience, while levels that were more open and had several paths in various directions, perhaps even with interconnected challenges, made for much stronger exploration experiences. Primarily because the player had more choices, and therefore curiosity became a larger factor in the players’ decision making. It is however a balancing act. If there are too many choices for the player to pick between, there’s a risk that the player may feel like the choice doesn’t matter, and that it becomes too cumbersome to asses the choices and weighing them against one another.

Build a Challenge Identity

A level’s challenge identity is a way of describing the nature of a level’s challenges. Keeping a sharp challenge identity can help strengthen a level’s focus, make it more memorable for the player, and make it easier to make informed decisions along the level design process. Consider how you will design your level to deliver a focused experience based on a range of challenges.

Ask yourself: How can these types of challenges compliment each other? How would you present these challenges with varying degrees of difficulty? How can these challenges be designed within the level to strengthen the experience of exploration? Defining a level’s challenge identity early on in the process can be a useful way to keep yourself on track to creating a great level.

A way to start designing a new level, can be to start with an idea for a type of challenge, or set of challenges. The idea can be based on an experience or type of gameplay you want to bring out. Block out these key challenges, test them, and iterate on them until they work well, and then build the rest of the level around them. That is of course just one apporach, but it is one we’ve come to learn works really well.

Precarious Peak. This level has a strong challenge identity with its snakelike path where molten boulders roll down while deadly sand is falling from the walls and momentarily covers the path towards the peak.

Frigid Lake. Although simple, the challenge identity of this level is clear and to the point. Slim poles protrude the ice of the frozen water and the player must balance carefully from one pole to another while the threat of the deadly ice lurks just below the fog, leaving little room for missteps.

Celestial Steps. Guardian bots are protecting the collectables in this mazelike stairway in the clouds. The challenge identity of this level is strong despite its simplicity and limited range of level element types used. Climb the stairs, trick or exploit the guardians, and see if you can avoid getting lost in the escheresque maze of stairs.

Collectable Placement

Placing collectables is central to designing a good Exploration level. Use the collectables as rewards for overcoming challenges, as a tool to nudge players, and as attractive carrots for players to set goals towards. The collectables form a web across your level that players will do their best to navigate. Collectables can be used to establish points of interest in the level, to form paths for the players, and to make the challenges meaningful to the players.

Players will immediately set goals towards collecting, and as such, it is important that the placement of the collectables creates the opportunity for the player to take on an entertaining journey in your level. Where do you want the player to go? What areas do you want the player to see? What routes should be viable and to what degree is the player rewarded for following these, and also diverting from these? Minor adjustments to the placements of collectables can result in drastic changes to how the players navigate your level. From moment to moment, players will often go for what collectable is closest by regardless of its value, but when picking a general direction, they can often be steered towards something of higher value such as a key or a gem. Keep these things in mind and use them to strengthen your level.

Think The Presentation Through

Your level’s presentation is important not only in order to make your players curious to explore it, but also in order to communicate the level’s identity to the player. Its layout, its points of interest, and its atmosphere (even as vague as that sounds), are all things that the player will register and attempt to make sense of. Glyph Exploration levels with a good presentation stand out, they are memorable, and the challenges that the level presents are brought into the spotlight by the level’s aesthetics, architectures, and layouts. There should be harmony in the level’s presentation, and as the level’s designer, you are also the storyteller, the artist, the architect, and the person ultimately responsible for what gameplay experiences the level can provide.

A Glyph level with good presentation represents a place in ruin that seemingly once had a purpose, even if that purpose is shrouded in mystery and is totally unclear to the player. It must look like a place, even if you don’t even fully understand the place yourself. When I say place, I mean that it should not come off as just a video game level, but a place where things once happened. A place where whatever beings went there once, did things. An illusion must be built. This illusion will help convince the player that they are exploring places, not simply a level designer’s canvas.

As much as box art material with beautiful vistas in your level can be great, keep in mind that the gameplay comes first. Reaching a point where your level achieves that extra level of polish that makes it stand out visually can often be achieved after the gameplay is nailed. As long as you are working to figure out and nail down your level’s gameplay, avoid getting strung up in visual polish.

Settle On Difficulty

Settle on where on the difficulty scale you intend to place your level. You don’t need to know right from the start, unless you walk in with a plan to design a level for a specific difficulty right from the bat. Making a decision on the level’s difficulty can help you tremendously when testing and working to improve your level along the way.

It is too easy to think “That player is really having a hard time on my level. I guess my level is going to be one of the hard difficulty levels then.”. That does not mean that your level is a good hard difficulty level, and I’ll go as far as saying that it would be poor design process to dance around the problems that way. We have been guilty of this approach, and we have also seen how it undermined the potential of some of our levels.

Jagged Valley. One of the absolute hardest Exploration levels in Glyph.

Test Often

It should go without saying that testing your level is important, but this point must not be understated. Test often yourself. Test often with others. Test often with all kinds of people if possible. Observe what the players do and take notes. If there is one of these guidelines that will truly improve your level, this is the one.

Giving someone the controller and saying “Try my level” and hear if they like it, is not enough. Think about, and perhaps write down, what you want to happen, what you expect to happen, what you don’t want to happen, and what questions you are looking for answers to. You should listen to your players, but more importantly, you need to observe!

When you observe what the player does, look for positive and negative patterns. Sometimes you’ll find that players struggle with the same things over and over, and perhaps that the design of your challenges is flawed, or that the general arcitecture of your your level should be thought over and adjusted. Other times you may find that players are having a great deal of fun in your level with things you didn’t intend for them to. If possible, look for ways to use that to the level’s advantage and build upon it.

Play Glyph A Lot

When designing levels for Glyph, you will benefit greatly from being good at the game. If you’re not outright good at it, then at least make yourself familiar with the game’s mechanics. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the game can save you a ton of time when you design, test, and iterate on your level. Knowing the levels that are already in the game will also help you make your new level stand out. You will have an easier time knowing when you are reaching something that is new and has potential.

This is not to say that you can’t come in as a fresh brain completely new to the game and take stabs at creating levels after having played only for a few hours. We’ve had that happen before and it can result in interesting levels and sometimes awesome gameplay. It can be an uphill battle though. Getting the gameplay of Glyph under your skin and studying the existing levels can help make the process of designing levels for the game feel natural and give you confidence in your work.

When you become experienced with Glyph, you need to be aware of the fact that you may become blind to certain things such as the difficulty of the level you are designing. This is important to remember. Test your level with others.

Guidelines Aren’t Laws

These are guidelines. Not laws. Sometimes going nuts with an idea and working on something that is out of the usual can bring with it opportunities for fantastic gameplay. That should not be barred off or discouraged. It is however important to understand the guidelines, not only as advice tailored to help ensure the game is keeping on track with the vision set for it, but also in order to better understand where, when, and how to make something crazy become brilliant when jamming “outside the box”.

Thank you for reading!

Harpoon FRVR – A mobile fishing game

Harpoon FRVR is a simple mobile game where you play as a fisherman equipped with a variety of harpoon weapons and is tasked with catching as many fish as possible before the time runs out.

Play it in your browser here:

Or find it on Google Play Store:

I was the game designer on this project for Bolverk Games and FRVR.

Although the basic design of the game is simple on the surface and one that is seen in countless clones of the classic Gold Miner flash game, there are a couple of nuances to this game that I think makes this a decent game, and one that I had fun developing and playing.

  • Fast paced action and short sessions makes this what I think is a true “toilet game” where you can have some quick non-committing fun.
  • A progression system where golden jellyfish can be caught to unlock a wide variety of harpoons that caters to slightly different play styles.
  • Skill based gameplay where great shots matter a lot if you want to get a good score, and where bad shots can cost you a lot of time and points.

Thinking back on this project, I think it would have been a better decision to switch the gameplay up so that trash was what gave points and fish was what was “bad” to catch. Although it looks dramatic when the fish are jittering once on your hook, and satisfying to see them being reeled in, I think the game overall risks sending a poor message. Cleaning the ocean from trash instead of fish would have been better for this game in my opinion.

Trigon FRVR – A fast paced color matching game

Trigon is a fast paced reaction based game where you spin a triangle in order to hit incoming lines with the correct color.
The speed of the lines increases as you go and the goal is to get as high a score as possible before failing by matching colors incorrectly.

Trigon is available on Facebook, Newgrounds and the FRVR site as well as the Google Play Store for Android devices and on the App Store for IOS devices.

Star Suckers – A local multiplayer game developed in 48 hours

Star Suckers is a local multiplayer game where up to four players compete at being the last one standing in a rapidly collapsing solar system.

In this fast paced physics simulation a procedurally generated solar system containing one star and several orbiting planets quickly collapses as a result of gravity.
You and the other players can jump from one planet surface to another and attempt to absorb energy from the star to perform longer jumps and use explosive attacks against each other.

This game prototype is among my favorites of prototypes I’ve worked on. We reached our goal of creating a simple yet competitive game. The game attracted a lot of attention and people came to our table to battle each other and spent a lot of time with smiles on their faces.

This is a game that I am really proud of. Particularly when I consider that we were three individuals with two days to get from start to finish, and experiencing how many smiles and laughs we got out of everyone who tried it.

Star Suckers was created by Mark Olsen, Joachim Gerber, and I during the 2017 Global Game Jam hosted at ITU in Copenhagen.

Visit the page if you want to download and try out the game:

Naughty King – A simple party card game

2-6 players (3 recommended).


The goal of the game is to have no Kings, Queens, or Jacks in your hand and then reveal The Bedroom while one of the following combinations are present within it:

1 King and 1 Queen.
1 King and 1 Jack.
1 King, 1 Queen, and 1 Jack.


Shuffle the cards and place 4 cards face down in the middle of the table.
These cards are The Bedroom.

Deal cards clockwise until all players have 4 cards. A player’s cards are private and must not be shown to other players.

Put the remaining cards face down in a pile on the table next to the 4 cards making up The Bedroom. This pile is called The Stairs.

Take the top card of The Stairs and place it face down next to The Stairs pile. This new pile is called The Gutter.


A player’s turn starts by the player revealing 1 card from their hand face up on the table. The player must perform one of the following actions based on what the card is:

1 (ACE) – Reveal
The player must reveal all of the cards in The Bedroom.

2, Choose 2 cards from your hand and place them in The Gutter. Draw 2 cards from The Stairs.

3, Choose 3 cards from your hand and place them in The Gutter. Draw 3 cards from The Stairs.

4, end your turn.

5, end your turn.

6, end your turn.

7 – Join
The player must add 1 card of choice from their hand to The Bedroom without revealing that card to anyone else.

9 – Peek
Choose 1 card in The Bedroom and place it face up. Once everyone has seen it, place it face down again.

Choose a player to perform a Rotation

10 – Insider
Choose one card in The Bedroom and look at it without revealing it to anyone else. Place it face down in the same spot.

KING, QUEEN or JACK – Rotation
Choose one card in The Bedroom and place it in The Gutter without looking at it.
Choose a card from your hand and place it face down in its place in The Bedroom.

Designed by

Jesper Brun Halfter

Picoban – A fast paced and colorful puzzle game

Picoban is a maze puzzle game with very simple controls. As you take the role of the imprisoned Picoban you must find a way to escape from the cursed and illusive castle.

The trick is that you cannot stop moving once you have started in a direction before you hit a wall or something else that stops you.
This makes for a puzzle game where the player is encouraged to analyze the different paths in order to find the right one.

Picoban was nominated in the category Best Showcase at Spilprisen 2017

Spilprisen is The Danish Producer’s Association’s annual tribute to the best Danish digital games in a number of categories.

You can check out Picoban here:


On the 12th of September 2016 I released Picoban on with two different versions. One which is a free demo containing the first seven levels of the game. The other which is a full development version with all the content. The development version will receive updates continuously and new updates for that version continues to be free for supporters.





HELLSTAR – Fast-paced shoot ’em up with adapting enemy

Hellstar Banner Itch3

HELLSTAR is a fast-paced shoot ’em up set in outer space that puts the player up against an adapting enemy.

The game is a prototype for PC designed as a part of a project where the goal was to experiment with character progression in a shoot ’em up game.

hellstargif1   hellstargif2

Shoot your way through the drone armies as you salvage upgrade modules to customize your fighter vessel.

Avoid scanners that will gather information about your preferences and the way you fight.

Defeat bosses adapting to counter your strengths.

Manage your weapon resources carefully as you push deeper into enemy territory.

Transform your fighter while in combat and master the two different flight modes and six different weapons.

hellstargif3   hellstargif4

You can download and play the prototype at

Keep in mind that this is a prototype and that there will be bugs.
The prototype is developed for Windows PC at 1080p resolution with mouse and keyboard.


The prototype was developed for my thesis project where I sought out to experiment with character progression in a shoot ’em up game, while taking inspiration from the genres action RPG and roguelike.

I developed the prototype with the goal of giving the player the experience that the A.I. is learning and adapting to their play-style, forcing them to change up their behavior to avoid the enemy countering their preferred way of playing effectively.

A significant part of the work went into creating such a system in a way that the player could understand and utilize to their own advantage. The system started out being a complicated hidden system gathering a lot of information about the player in order to create a player profile, which could then be used by the A.I. to send the most effective units against them.

The system ended up being simplified significantly in order to be visually communicated to the player in a more simple and approachable way.


Development Tools copy

Primary Inspirations copy

AI Learning System copy

Weapons system copy
Enemy Sprite Sheet copy Module Upgrades copy Player Character Iterations copy Player flight modes copy Prototype screenshot Screenshots

SPACE BUTTS – A two player cooperative spaceship maintenance game

SPACE BUTTS is the product of Mark Olsen and I having a blast at Nordic Game Jam 2016.

We created a cooperative game featuring two space engineers struggling to save their spaceship which is under heavy fire from alien aggressors. The trick is to apply hammer to everything that breaks on the ship. However, each of the two engineers have different sets of expertise and it is up to the two players to distribute the work load as effectively as possible. Coffee may be brewed and consumed for a short burst of increased efficiency.

You can download and play the game for PC here:






Purge The Land – Submission for Global Game Jam 2016

Purge The Land is my submission for Global Game Jam 2016. It was created in under 48 hours at ITU Copenhagen using Game Maker Studio, Photoshop CS5 and FL Studio 11.
The theme of the game jam was Ritual. I decided to design a game where the player has to control a group of disciples as they purge the land by stomping on cysts of evil. The disciples will get corrupted and needs to perform in a ritual to be cleansed.

Download the game for PC at:


Darkness is coming and the disciples must purge evil from the land!

Purge the cysts of evil.
Cleanse thy soul.
Accept thy blessings.
Divide thy flesh and conquer corruption.

Use your disciples to trample the cysts. But be careful; You will need cleansing after each cyst you purge. When cleansed, you may become blessed and receive the power to be divided!








Wan Yama – Lightweight turn-based strategy game prototype

Wan Yama is a prototype I developed in order to test a concept for a lightweight turn-based strategy game.


The prototype was created as a part of a business course where I had to develop a game concept, game prototype and a business plan to follow.
I was heavily inspired by an old browser game BBC – Walking With Dinosaurs – Big Al Game. A game where you control a young Allosaurus trying to survive.

As a newly hired operator for Geno Corp, your job is to operate creatures in an artificial environment to gather important research data.
You must hunt, fight, eat and drink in order to grow strong enough to reach the top of the food chain.

Wan Yama is only a very raw prototype for a university project intended to display a few core mechanics. There is no finite win condition and only one creature type to play as.

You can download the prototype for PC here:





PROTEGA – four player cooperative spaceship navigation

Protega is my entry for the 48 hour KADK Fall Jam 2015 at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Design School.

The theme of the game jam was Out of balance.
Downloadable at for PC and Mac

Protega is a cooperative spaceship game where each player controls a different part of the spaceship.
The four players must work together to navigate the ship around in a maze full of asteroids, in order to collect all stars.
The players has sixty seconds to get from star to star, requiring teamwork in order to win.

Each player controls one specific part of the ship. Blue player controls the large thruster, green player controls the rotation of the ship, yellow player controls the small thruster and the pink player controls the laser gun.








Developing 6 games in 6 days – A personal challenge

As a part of an open pledge challenge every participant had to do something every day and upload the result in our group.
I took on the challenge of creating and uploading a game every day after work.


Trevor versus Pigeons
The first game is called Trevor versus Pigeons. The challenge is to hit as many pigeons as possible in the fall from a skyscraper.






Little Invadeur
The second game is a personal take on a the classic game Space Invaders. In my version it is you that must invade.






Macro Meat
The third game is about processing lamb chops into steaks in a factory. Press the buttons on the machines as the meat enter and earn as much cash as possible.





Fisherman of the Dawn
The fourth game is about a fisherman that catches his fish with his bow and arrows during the dawn. See how many fish you can catch before the end of dawn.





The Detour
In the fifth game you are on a detour in the forest and must avoid hitting the wildlife.




The sixth and final game is called BLITZY. It as an abstract game where you have to avoid laser shots and collect power dots while the game becomes increasingly chaotic.






Pølsefest – Local multiplayer brawler with vikings and sausages

Polsefest was the result of Joachim Gerber, Frederik Bager and I, working together at the KADK Local Jam in the spring of 2015.
In the game, each of four players controls a viking and must battle in a free-for-all by throwing sausages at one another until the last viking stands.

While the game is somewhat ridiculous, it was a success and won the title for best game. We have since had fun showing and playing it at parties where it has proven itself as an entertaining warm-up game with a high skill ceiling. We have since taken some time to create a few updates for the game. We are still seeking an opportunity to take it further.

You can download and play the game from here:

You can watch a short trailer of an early version which was displayed at a talk about hotdogs at A MAZE Independant Videogames Festival Berlin 2015:







Tortharious – A platform race game about a rabbit and a turtle swapping dimensions

Tortharious is a two player platform racing game where the goal is to survive longer than the other player. The players will play the exact same obstacle course, only mirrored. Occasionally, a dimension sphere will appear, which when reached, will invert all platforms, turning safe platforms into spike platforms and vice versa.

The game was made in under 48 hours at Nordic Game Jam 2015. I created the soundtrack for the game as well as the pixel art for the backgrounds and the platforms.

You can download and play the game on PC at

You can give the soundtrack a listen here:




SCOUTS – An endless runner for Android tablets

SCOUTS! is a mobile game about three scouts on an adventurous quest in the wild. As your group runs through the forest they encounter different obstacles that a specific one of the scouts is able to handle. It is up to the player to stay prepared and arrange the order of the scouts before each obstacle.

This project represents the conclusion of my time at the DADIU course in Copenhagen Denmark.
My role on this team was Art Director. I took on this role while studying Game & Interaction Design at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ Design School.

The reason that my role was Art Director and not Game Director or Game Designer, was that a part of the learning goals of the course was for leading roles to take positions outside of their comfort zone.

Our team consisted of 18 students from a variety of universities in Denmark. Programmers, artists and designers were put together to work on games with the goal of experiencing working in a professional environment and having to develop and release a finished game in a short period of time.

My job on the team was to direct the team of artists which consisted of a visual artist, two 3D artists, and an animator. One of my responsibilities was to work closely with the Game Director and Lead Game Designer to ensure that the visual representation of the game was in line with the vision of the game. The job also involved working closely with the Lead Technical Artist and Lead Programmer to ensure that the artistic vision was feasible to implement in an extremely short amount of time.

Tasks that I undertook on this project involved:

  • Participating in morning meetings with the other leads. During these we would give a status on our progress and resolve various issues before the rest of the team checked in.
  • Conducting morning meetings with the art team where we took turns to quickly summarize our current progress and planned tasks. During these meetings we would raise awareness if we were stuck or had other problems.
  • Working closely with the other leads on the team to ensure that the artistic vision of the game and the visuals of the game assets had the best prerequisites for success and fell in line with the vision set by the Game Director.
  • Developing the art direction. This involved working on the art bible and communicating our vision clearly to the artists.
  • Helping plan and prioritize tasks on the fly with the art team.
  • Working closely with the artists and adjust the scope of our ambitions according to circumstances.
  • Brainstorm ideas and solutions with individuals on the team.
  • Taking responsibility for shortcomings and helping resolve conflicts.
  • Testing art elements with the Game Designer to ensure that the art fulfilled its purposes through the lenses of Game Design.
  • Attempting to maintain a positive vibe and healthy work ethic in a sometimes stressful environment.

You can play the game on Android devices here:

The following is a handful of the concept art and various artwork pieces I developed on the team as art director.

ISOMATH – A learning game for kids

This is a learning game project I worked on for a 5 week course where I developed a concept for a game called ISOMATH.

The goal of ISOMATH is to help 3rd. graders learn and practice math by completing small puzzles on a tablet.
In ISOMATH, the player is presented with a room in which the goal is to move blocks with values around and combine them in the right order until they have the number needed to complete the level.
The game is based on moving blocks around in an isometric world. Blocks can have different values, attributes and abilities. The basic one is the Metal block as shown above.
Only three of the six sides on the block are visible to the player. The top side displays the value, the western side shows the face of the particular type of block, and the third side shows the blocks attribute. The Metal block does not have attributes, only values.
The player can move the blocks around by pushing, pulling and dragging by swiping the finger on the screen. One of the ways to complete levels, is to insert metal blocks with the correct value into the right holes in the walls.
The image above shows what a basic puzzle could look like. The player has four blocks to move; two metal and two jelly. Once a jelly block makes contact with a metal block, it merges it’s value into the metal block while applying the attribute. The two merge leaving only the metal block.

The game has three kinds of special blocks. The jelly block, the glass block and the smoke block. The jelly block merges upon contact with solid blocks as metal and glass.

The glass block is fragile, meaning it can break if certain physical forces are applied to it. If a glass block is broken, it leaves it’s value and attribute on the ground for metal blocks to obtain.

The smoke block is different in the way that the player cannot control it. The smoke block moves towards other blocks if they get too close and applies its value with its attribute.
This means that the player has to be careful not to get the wrong blocks too close to it.

In order to complete a level, the player must fit the correct sum of values in metal blocks into either a marked area or holes in the walls.
The image above shows what a harder level looks like.
The players will encounter various mechanical structures and machines in the levels as they progress. These structures and machines adds diversity to the puzzles during mid and late game adding variety and fun to the more difficult levels.

Sheep Tag – A print and play board game prototype

Sheep Tag – Print and play
A print and play board game project from a 5 week board game course during my second year of my bachelor’s course.

Sheep tag is a print and play game that you could play simply by printing out the board and use bottlecaps as pawns. As the player, you must use your dogs to bring home two out of three sheep before your opponent. The players take turns moving one of their dog pawns, making the game focused around move prediction.


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