Game Design, Art Direction, Illustration, UI
Growing up, I was never able to learn the same way other kids could (reading textbooks for hours). Unable to figure out why I couldn't learn the way others could, I struggled with a lot of internal conflict which resulted in a loss of motivation for learning. It was only until university that I learnt of different methods of learning - flash cards and short video clips seemed to work best. As I grew older, I started to question whether or not I'd be in a different field had I been motivated to learn.
Proposed solution: Create a product that could introduce education in a less intimidating manner, and actually have kids of a young age become interested in learning.
Note: This was a 2 week project. All illustrations were completed by me in that timeframe.
Omela maps out a detailed system of interconnected elements that players are encouraged to interact with. There is a high level of interdependence between the various in-game elements, creating complexity and excitement – resulting in enough stimulation to keep up with the game's long lifetime.
Level & EXP Bar
Your level allows you to buy more items from the shop.It's increased by raising your EXP – which is earned from Quests, Explore & interacting with your world.
Every animal has a unit cost, which is capped at a certain amount. To raise the max units allowed, you need to build environment.
The primary currency in Omela which allows you to make most purchases in the game.
Special currency that is difficult to earn within the game, but can be purchased with real money.
The universe in which you control and interact with all your units. It can be expanded and customized to an unlimited amount of variations.
Purchase animals, environment, buildings, vehicles, decorations and treasure to expand your world.
Interactive learning journey which players can dive into subjects that interest them, unlocking new items at the shop upon completion.
Random assortment of tasks that grant the player coins, gems and exp when completed.
Omela utilizes the VARK (Visual, Auditory, Reading and Kinesthetic) model of learning styles. Players must go through some form of learning before being tested, in order to advance in Explore. Learning methods differ based on the topic at hand. In the chapter "Multiplying by multiples of 10", a video is presented to help the player visualize the numbers and be guided through the process. Whereas if you were learning about philosophy, Omela would prepare readings rather than video. By catering to each subject individually, Omela offers the best suited way to educate. Having options of video as well as reading could also be offered for rare cases. Kinesthetic learning can also be applied in cases where players must drag & drop elements to the correct position (as an example).
Everything in Omela is associated to one another. The intrinsic reward is to be able to customize your world and create a variety of items from the shop. Animals give you EXP, environment allows for more animals and buildings produce coins (extrinsic reward) which allow you to purchase animals. When you want to unlock an item from the shop, you react accordingly by completing chapters in Explore. Players quickly grasp the concept of money and ROI (return on investment) as they need to carefully use their resources and make sure they don't run out.
People often connect the term "subliminal messaging" with negative connotation, but it's simply a powerful tool which can be used in a positive manner. In Omela, random events can be triggered with a set class of actions. These events can be used to bring about important issues to the unsuspecting eye. For example, if a player fills their world with too many cows, the herd will start to "speak" about real-world issues. Crowding, methane levels, water intake - these issues can be made aware through the most subtle means, and there's a lot of power in being able to shape a young child's mind. Even for topics that aren't necessarily issues, subliminal messaging can help educate players at a subconcious level.
Omela is a F2P (free to play) game that relies on in-game purchases and advertisements as it's source of revenue. Treasure offers players an abundance of coins and gems for a set price, which is primarily targeted at whales (players to spend a lot of money on f2p games). In terms of advertising, Omela can partner with other organizations to promote important messages. For example, the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) can partner with Omela to create a unique animal (let's say, a crystalline panda) which can only be purchased with real money. Omela receives a cut from the proceeds, while the rest go towards the WWF. Partners can also purchase special quests which reward the player for in-game activity. If a player plants 20 trees within the week, WWF will plant one in a rainforest.
Omela is a game that is designed to help shape young minds, and promote awareness on real-world issues. With such a positive goal & image, partnered advertising and referrals would be how Omela first gets it's name out into the world. By creating campaigns where you're awarded real-world items for in-game progress, parents would likely download the game for their kids to play through. "Get $20 in credit at Starbucks when you reach level 5 in Omela" - something along the lines of that. People want free stuff, and Starbucks' brand feels more socially responsible (ethical advertising). Omela would also receive government funding towards promoting the growth of interest in education. The game could be referred to by parents and teachers. A goal for Omela would be to be featured in the App Store in either Top Free, Featured, New or Education.
AT LONG LAST
Grants EXP and costs units. Animals need to be fed every so often which rewards EXP. Animals will often have interesting things to talk about and occassionally give out random quests.
Increases maximum amount of units you can have in your world. You can also purchase new forms of terrain, such as water, which allows certain animals to thrive.
Generates resources periodically. Some buildings offer upgrades for animals, increasing the amount of resources generated.
Grants a large amount of EXP upon purcahse, but costs a fortune.
Pretty objects with no real function that cost a fortune.
Purchase coins, gems and unique items with real money.
As the key, compelling form of interaction in the game, animals bring your world to life. Players will want to collect their favourite animals and interact with them on a daily basis.
i. As you progress in the game, there will be more animals to unlock. To view their requirements, you can tap the info icon. If already unlocked, just the animal details will be shown.
ii. Animals provide visual indicators when they have resources to be collected.
Omela touches upon the idea of investment and wealth with it's buildings. They are necessary to further expand your world, but cost a great deal of coins, which forces the player to plan their purchases with foresight.
i. Buildings are crucial in Omela as they generate coins and gems. Players are introduced to the concept of investing, and as long as they collect the resources when available, they learn how to create a profit from initial investments.
ii. Buildings are built on the grid, which means they can only be placed in areas that are empty. Once you choose a place to put your building, you have the option to finish construction instantly or to wait the full duration.
iii. You can view the details of an item by tapping it. For buildings, you can see more details, increase production rate with gems or upgrade the building with coins.
The term "study" or "learn" can sometimes have an intimidating ring to it. Omela tries to wrap the importance of education with a lighter tone by creating mini "worlds" that the player can explore. Inside these worlds, there are chapters, organized by subject, that the player engages with. The lessons are catered to the best learning methods suitable for it's content.
i. Explore is where the majority of learning takes place. The player is presented with 8 subjects which they can educate themselves on.
ii. Every subject has small islands to explore, each representing a category within the subject.
iii. Once a player has selected a category to explore, they are presented with a list of subcategories.
iv. Subcategories hold multiple chapters for the player to progress through. A player must progress through every chapter chronologically in order to complete the course. Guided videos are used to help the player learn, while instant-feedback questions test them afterwards.