This report details the developmental process of Chinmoku (“silence”), an educational game developed to fulfil the Major Qualifying Project requirement for Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Interactive Media and Game Development (IMGD) and Computer Science majors. This project was developed over the three month period at Ritsumeikan University’s Biwako-Kusatsu Campus in Shiga Prefecture, Japan. The game seeks to teach Hiragana, one of the Japanese writing systems, to a target audience of young adults familiar with gaming. This report covers all aspects of the team’s development process, research, playtesting, and the possibilities of future work on this project.
Chinmoku is a horror puzzle game which utilizes educational elements as its core gameplay. Players progress through a mystery narrative while using Japanese language skills as tools to solve puzzles and engage in combat with monsters. The project was developed using the Unreal Engine and Android Studio by a team of four students as our senior year project. The game is for PC and was created over the course of 3 months at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. The game seeks to teach players hiragana, one of the basic phonetic Japanese writing systems. The story follows Rita, an American girl who is going to Japan to visit her childhood friend. When she arrives, her friend is missing and a monster has stolen her ability to communicate. Rita must recover the language which is being stolen in order to decipher the clues to save her friend.
The game is designed to be run on a computer, while players can connect their smartphones via bluetooth to use as a touchscreen controller to practice writing, as well as character recognition and auditory skills. The smartphone was incorporated to be an easily accessible way to allow players to interact with the game via touchscreen, even without owning a tablet or other device. The game can also be played solely on the computer, if the user so chooses.
Chinmoku is a 3D game will a fully explorable environment. The game focuses on writing and recognition skills, where the player will face language based puzzles where they can practice the content at their own pace. Because of the versatile interface of the touch screen phone controller, we were able to easy create a series of puzzle mini games which include sliding, matching, and combination puzzles. After the player has practiced recognition, they face monsters who must be fought by writing the appropriate hiragana character on your smartphone. These combat segments are fast paced and more challenging than the previously encountered puzzles.