We took inspiration from our experience of how education can be hard. Studies conducted by EdX show that classes that teach quantitative subjects like Mathematics and Physics tend to receive lower ratings from students in terms of engagement and educational capacity than their qualitative counterparts. Of all advanced placement tests, AP Physics 1 receives on average the lowest scores year after year, according to College Board statistics. The fact is, across the board, many qualitative subjects are just more difficult to teach, a fact that is compounded by the isolation that came with remote working, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, we would like to find a way to promote learning in a fun way. In keeping with the theme of Ctrl + Alt + Create, we took inspiration from another educational game from the history of computing. In 1991, Microsoft released a programming language and environment called QBASIC to teach first time programmers how to code. One of the demo programs they released with this development environment was a game called Gorillas, an artillery game where two players can guess the velocity and angle in order to try to hit their opponents. We decided to re-imagine this iconic little program from the 90s into a modern networked webgame, designed to teach students kinematics and projectile motion.

What it does

The goal of our project was to create an educational entertainment game that allows students to better engage in qualitative subjects. We wanted to provide a tool for instructors for both in-classroom and remote education and provide a way to make education more accessible for students attending remotely. Specifically, we focused on introductory high school physics, one of the most challenging subjects to tackle. Similar to Kahoot, teachers can setup a classroom or lobby for students to join in from their devices. Students can join in either as individuals, or as a team. Once a competition begins, students use virtual tape measures to find distances in their surroundings, determining how far their opponent is and the size of obstacles that they need to overcome. Based on these parameters, they can then try out an appropriate angle and calculate an initial velocity to fire their projectiles. Although there is no timer, students are incentivized to work quickly in order to fire off their projectiles before their opponents. Students have a limited number of shots as well, incentivizing them to double-check their work wisely.

How we built it

We built this web app using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Our team split up into a Graphics Team and Logics Team. The Logics Team implemented the Kinematics and the game components of this modern recreation of QBASIC Gorillas. The Graphics Team created designs and programmed animations to represent the game logic as well as rendering the final imagery. The two teams came together to make sure everything worked well together.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into many challenges which include time constraints and our lack of knowledge about certain concepts. We later realized we should have spent more time on planning and designing the game before splitting into teams because it caused problems in miscommunication between the teams about certain elements of the game. Due to time constraints, we did not have time to implement a multiplayer version of the game.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The game logically works in single player game. We are proud that we were able to logically implement the entire game, as well as having all the necessary graphics to show its functionality.

What we learned

We learned the intricacies of game design and game development. Most of us have usually worked with more information-based websites and software technologies. We learned how to make a webapp game from scratch. We also improved our HTML/CSS/Javascript knowledge and our concepts of MVC.

What's next for Gorillamatics

First we would like to add networking to this game to better meet the goals of increasing connectivity in the classroom as well as sparking a love for Physics in a fun way. We would also like to have better graphics. For the long term, we are planning on adding different obstacles to make different kinematics problems.

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