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Status: Active
development in progress (restarted)
Group Members: Michael Kitson, Abbi Honeycutt
Fourth grade level math game based on the classic arcade game PacMan

Last updated February 25, 2010


PacMath is an educational math game based off the well-known 80's arcade game PacMan. In addition to the original game mechanics, PacMath will add fourth grade level math to this fun and exciting arcade game in order to make learning fun. PacMath will provide the student with different type math problems and in order to solve the problem correctly the student will have to eat the ghost with the correct answer.

Sketch Up

Version 1
Version 2
Version 2
Version 3



The objective of PacMath is to use the basic mechanics of the 80's arcade game PacMan to teach fourth grade math skills. Currently, PacMath randomly generates questions using the four basic arithmetic functions (add, subtract, multiply, divide), up through the 12 times tables. In the future, we hope to build in functionality that will allow teachers to generate their own custom questions which will allow them to tailor PacMath to their curriculum.


Media: PacMath_Lesson_Plan.doc

Current Standards to be addressed with in this project:
(As per standards of the Massachusetts Department of Education)

  • 4.N.2 - Represent, order, and compare large numbers (to at least 100,000) using various forms, including expanded notation, e.g., 853 = 8 x 100 + 5 x 10 + 3.
  • 4.N.8 - Select, use, and explain various meanings and models of multiplication and division of whole numbers. Understand and use the inverse relationship between the two operations.
  • 4.N.11 - Know multiplication facts through 12 x 12 and related division facts. Use these facts to solve related multiplication problems and compute related problems, e.g., 3 x 5 is related to 30 x 50, 300 x 5, and 30 x 500.
  • 4.N.12 - Add and subtract (up to five-digit numbers) and multiply (up to three digits by two digits) accurately and efficiently.
  • 4.N.13 - Divide up to a three-digit whole number with a single-digit divisor (with or without remainders) accurately and efficiently. Interpret any remainders

Link to Mass. Department of Education

Game Elements

Activity Icon
Version 1
Version 2

How It Works

Media: PacMath_User_Manual.doc

  • One Player
  • Board Setup like the Original Arcade Game
  • Question Appears (3 per level)
    • If the player eats a Power Pellet (4 per level) the ghosts freeze for a few seconds
    • Player has to eat the Enemy with the correct answer
    • If the player eats the wrong answer they lose a life, and continue playing, the ghost is warped back to its spawn point
    • If the player eats 100 regular pellets they gain a life
      • A life is an answer attempt, if you run out of lives the game ends
    • After the three ghosts have been eaten and answered correctly, a new 'level' (so to speak) begins
      • At the start of each level, three questions are generated of random operation type (+, -, /, x)
  • Questions
    • Random question generation
    • The answer has a programmable limit (12 by default)
    • Current Types
      • Multiplication tables
      • Division tables
      • Addition tables
      • Subtraction tables
    • Future Types
      • Order of operations
      • Inequalities (given a number, find which ghost's answer is greater than or less than the number)
      • Basic Algebra problems (solve for x)
      • Fractions


  • PacMath
    • User will control a yellow sprite
    • User will attempt to "eat" numbered sprites based on mathematical questions
  • Question sets
    • Question type randomly generated at game start
  • Future Features
    • Instructor will be able to see the rankings of a particular student
    • Student or teacher will be able to choose question type
    • Top 10 scores will be recorded and displayed while game is paused
    • Adjustable speed (faster for more of a challenge)


User will be able to interact with the game through the keyboard

  • Keyboard
    • UP-ARROW will move sprite up
    • DOWN-ARROW will move sprite down
    • RIGHT-ARROW will move sprite right
    • LEFT-ARROW will move sprite left
    • P will pause and resume the game
  • Future Controls - GameBoy mode
    • UP-ANGLE will move sprite up
    • DOWN-ANGLE will move sprite down
    • RIGHT-ANGLE will move sprite right
    • LEFT-ANGLE will move sprite left
    • SQUARE will pause and resume the game

Developer Information

Code Structure

Update: 11/16/2010, Current documentation is located at

Update: 2/25/2010, as of this date we have our latest up to date code structure with comments and modules on the following website


  • Question generation
  • Mazes
  • Player
  • Enemies
  • Game (control)
  • Activity (main)
  • Setup (for loading on the XO)


The code for this project is located at the repositories.

The current development group includes:

The former group of project members included:


To help contribute to PacMath, check out the code and contact


  • Game size is not the proper size for the XO (too small)
    • Potential Fix: Increase block size from 25px to 33px
      • Grid stays 25x25, each point on the grid is 33x33
      • Right hand answer frame increases to 375px in width (from 275px)
      • Bottom question frame stays 75px in height
  • Support input via alternate controls while in ebook mode
    • Directional angles and square button to pause
  • Permanent Documentation solution is required
    • non-personal site
    • run epydoc nightly for up-to-date documentation

Milestones - Fall 2010

  • Week 7
    • Gain git access (.5 hrs)
    • Evaluate game direction and idea (2 hrs)
    • Determine whether to reuse or refuse the current PacMath code (.5 hrs) - Reuse

  • Week 8
    • Document game idea and play (2 hrs) - see wiki
    • Implement pause screen (2 hrs)
    • Decide on feedback mechanism (Score, Lives, …) (1 hr) - Lives, as documented earlier
    • Random question generation (2 hrs)

  • Week 9
    • Sugarize the activity (5 hrs) - VTE widget, temporary solution?
    • Implement multiple level capability (5 hrs)
    • Refactor collision detection system (5 hrs)

  • Week 10
    • Improve game speed (5 hrs) - runs great on the XO!
    • Beautify game, intuitively redesign the UI (5 hrs)
    • Refine ghost movement (5 hrs) - deemed out of scope for current time frame

  • Week 11
    • Finishing touches (2 hrs)
    • Usability testing (2 hrs) - delayed until sized to XO
    • Release evaluation (1 hr) - delayed until sized to XO
    • Potential release (1 hr) - delayed until sized to XO

Division of Labor:

  • Mike:
    • Ghost movement
    • Implementation of feedback mechanism
    • Implement pause screen

  • Abbi:
    • Sugarization
    • New Images
    • Map/Maze representation

  • Both:
    • Game design and idea
    • Collision Detection
    • Game Speed
    • UI redesign

Milestones - Winter 2009

Weeks correspond to RIT Quarter Schedule

  • Week 6 ( January 15th 2010 - January 22nd 2010 )
    • Get git working on
    • Finish adding details to the PacMath Wiki
    • Make a Sketch-Up for the game
    • E-mail Math4 Mailing List informing everyone about our project and ask for ideas and volunteers

  • Week 7 ( January 22nd 2010 - January 29th 2010 )
    • Get all the code sections defined well
    • Split up code sections
    • Start initial basic coding
    • Test an initial simple blank screen

  • Week 8 ( January 29th 2010 - February 5th 2010 )
    • Test segments of PacMath
      • Just Maze
      • Just PacMath
      • Just Enemies

  • Week 9 ( February 5th 2010 - February 12th 2010 )
    • Test the basic activity
    • Put the pieces together
    • User Group Test
    • Pick a License for the project

  • Week 10 ( February 12th 2010 - February 19th 2010 )
    • Wrap Up

  • Week 11 ( February 19th 2010 - February 26th 2010 )
    • Final Push!
    • Final presentation


Feedback from the community

Gary (January 21, 2010)

The PacMath sketches look great, can't wait to give it a play through :-)
Regarding questions/game settings, make sure you have a play of Walter's VisualMatch activity and see how the toolbar provides lots of flexibility to the game challenge type. It would seem like a good approach to let the user choose the starting case (perhaps via a teachers verbal guidance in class) and then have the general math difficulty level increase as they complete level to level. It would be very desirable if you would perform the gettext internationalization (i18n) that is needed to get this set up in Pootle for localization into other languages (i.e. generate POT file, set po directory in git repo, make user:pootle a committer, file Trac bug with component = localization requesting Pootle hosting, etc.). Cjl 07:01, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Walter Bender (February 11, 2010)

I would recommend you look at how other pygame-based activities are
packaged. For example, Maze.

Tomeu Vizoso (February 12, 2010)

Also, Jim's book could help clarifying several concepts, though I
don't see anything specific to pygame/sugargame.

Jim Simmons (February 12, 2010)

There is a project in Gitorious that sounds like it might be of use to you:
I haven't tried it myself, but the description sounds promising.


All of PacMath is licensed 88x31.png