User talk:EricMallon

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Math Blaster for the XO/Sugar

Project Description

A Math blaster inspired game aimed at the 4th grade level (although preferably with varying difficulty levels), for the XO laptop. Math blaster is a game that combined conventional gameplay of several disciplines (platformer, shoot 'em up, etc) in very basic settings with math, to make an educational game that was actually fun to play, not just educational. I found, when playing Math Blaster when I was younger, that even if it only delivers 50%-75% of the educational value of a full 'educational game', the increased playability leads to greatly increased playtime which negates that drawback, as well as instilling a general liking for math that lasted me several years.

Math Blaster review/description

Math Blaster Screenshots:


  • At least 5 different levels, with varying difficulty. Each level will utilize a different gameplay genre, such as platformer, puzzle, etc.
  • Picture-based storyline to tie levels together without relying on large amounts of text
  • Ability to save and load progress
  • Balance gameplay based on testing with 8-11 year olds
  • Integrate at least 10 different Mass 4th grade standards into the gameplay.


The game includes a variety of levels of different sizes, each covering different math standards.

Bridge Building Level
  • 4.N.18 - Use concrete objects and visual models to add and subtract common fractions.

The player is tasked with building a bridge. Presented with pieces of wood of various sizes, the user must use the exact amount to complete the bridge.

Map Level

A map of the area is shown and the player must identify the coordinates where the tower is located.

Tower Gate Level
  • 4.N.1 - Exhibit an understanding of the base ten number system by reading, modeling, writing, and interpreting whole numbers to at least 100,000; demonstrating an understanding of the values of the digits; and comparing and ordering the numbers.
  • 4.N.14 - Demonstrate in the classroom an understanding of and the ability to use the conventional algorithms for addition and subtraction (up to five-digit numbers), and multiplication (up to three digits by two digits).
  • 4.P.1 - Create, describe, extend, and explain symbolic (geometric) and numeric patterns, including multiplication patterns like 3, 30, 300, 3000, ….
Tower Level
  • 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.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.13 - Divide up to a three-digit whole number with a single-digit divisor (with or without remainders) accurately and efficiently. Interpret any remainders.
Watch Level
  • 4.M.3 - Identify time to the minute on analog and digital clocks using a.m. and p.m. Compute elapsed time using a clock (e.g., hours and minutes since…) and using a calendar (e.g., days since…).

The player is presented with two different watches (one being broken and one representing the current time), and they must calculate the amount of time that has elapsed since the watch broke.

Tentative Milestones

Week 1:

  1. Learn capabilities of XO laptop, Pygame
  2. Storyboard basic game design/story
  3. Begin planning architecture of game

Week 2:

  1. Prototype and start implementing game architecture
  2. Continue design of game
  3. Begin selecting 4th grade math standards to fit into levels

Week 3:

  1. Finish general game architecture
  2. Finalize first pass on game story/design
  3. Begin prototyping first level code
  4. Start general UI graphics

Week 4:

  1. Tie in basic UI graphics
  2. Implement first level code
  3. Begin prototyping second level

Week 5:

  1. Finalize first level code
  2. Code second level
  3. Prototype 3rd level
  4. Implement graphics for first level

Week 6

  1. Implement graphics for second level
  2. Code 3rd level
  3. Prototype 4th and 5th levels

Week 7

  1. Implement graphics for 3rd and 4th levels
  2. Code 4th level
  3. Balance/testing with 8-11 year olds for initial levels

Week 8

  1. Code and graphics for 5th level
  2. Second pass on UI design/graphics
  3. Bug fixes on first four levels

Week 9

  1. Second pass on all level graphics
  2. Bug fixes on all levels and UI
  3. Balance/testing with 8-11 year olds

Week 10

  1. General polish pass on all elements of the game
  2. Final bug fixes
  3. Final balance/gameplay changes
  4. Teacher documentation
  5. Gameplay FAQ


Eric Mallon (Team Lead):

Tyler Bragdon: