Now that classes are completely online, the most difficult task for young students is to stay engaged. It's especially hard for students that may not have parents to be constantly making sure that they are doing their homework. We thought it would be a great idea if there could be a way to help keep track of homework while making it into a game that's engaging and fun to play.
What it does
The goal of Study Buddies is to help students keep track of their homework in a fun way with a theme of "Staying Alive". The first page is a classroom page that shows an agenda. This agenda is created by the student's teacher. Each time they finish their homework, they receive coins. These coins are used to buy food for their pet. In each room, students can see a bar that represents the happiness of their pet. To increase their pet's happiness, they must feed it in the pet room. As students leave the classroom, they are able to either bring their pet to the park or go into the pet's room. In the pet's room students can see if their pet is sad or happy. The mood changes as the pet's happiness increases or decreases. Pets are also able to follow the students around the classroom, but only if their pet has enough in their happiness bar.
How we built it
Our game was built using the Ubisoft API and build through C++. We used a lot of the SFML library which was the main basis for the Ubisoft API. The sprites, collision system, and pictures were built using the provided classes given to us in the API. We tracked time to decrease happiness. To track mouse movements and events we used the SFML library. To emphasize our "cute" factor we drew many of our graphics and created animations to make them more engaging for kids!
Challenges we ran into and what we learned
Learning the Ubisoft API was the biggest challenge! Some of us had no experience building games or using C++ before and needed to grasp the underlying game dev concepts. Working with 2D sprites and animations was difficult with the limited resources we were given. Looking for sprite sheets online while trying to add our own frames to smooth out the transition between animations was a great challenge, especially without using a game engine like Unity or Unreal. Many niche functionalities were also not supported by the API and needed to be creatively implemented! We're proud that our game is well polished and has real potential to help school children stay on task.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're super proud to make a game that we believe can make an impact. It has not been an easy year and looking for ways to make online lives are much better is super beneficial. We're all very proud of being given the opportunity to learn something new.
What's next for Study Buddies
We can see study buddies really improving with more implementations. One is through creating a connection to the google classroom API which would allow us to directly transfer information from google classroom to our checklist and transferring coins when kids submit their work. Another implementation we would've liked is to incorporate a database with our game to store user information.An in-game improvement would be a system that allows students to purchase clothing, different types of food, and even different pets with the points that they receive from doing their homework. Another big step is adding a multiplayer ability so students can see other students' pets at a park. This is an area that can further promote a virtual school, where there's "reccess", that allows students to interact with their peers. Further developments may include a question area for students to ask teachers questions and video to explain homework or link lessons to the assigned homework. We think that there are still miles to go with Study Buddies and unlimited features we could add.