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When Kids Want to Learn

May 20, 2014

Last December, I was bestowed¬†with the opportunity to get feedback about a children’s game I helped make, Fractionauts, from the game’s ideal demographic: 4th grade students! Last week, I was again graced with an opportunity to return and gather more feedback. Within that lapse of time, a new team of students forked (Git jargon for “made a copy of”) Fractionauts and improved it in pretty much every way possible.

Their fork’s improvements include, among other things

  • Totally overhauled graphics (with a theme evocative of NES/Super NES games).
  • Expansive rendering optimizations that make smooth animations possible, even on the XO-PC.
  • Sounds including ambient music and feedback/effects.
  • Infinite auto-level generation, while maintaing support for pre-defined levels.
  • Removed dependency on GTK.
  • Improved scoring.

The kids enjoyed the game in its prior state, but they loved it in its current form. Through the magic of open-source and RIT’s IGM courses, we have created a game that helps kids learn an important skill, that they don’t despise playing.¬†It even helps me learn! I’m bad at fractions.

The following screenshot comparison alone should sum it up nicely.

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Check out Fractionauts on GitHub!

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