If you struggle with math, we know someone who can to help. Don’t expect to book a lesson, though: Leovi Nutakor is still at school himself. He’s a fifteen-year-old amateur game-maker from Dzorwulu, our neighbourhood in Accra.
When he was asked to come up with a ‘Personal Project’ at school, he devised and built Mmofra Math, a simple, addictive game that helps players practise their mental arithmetic.
It is quick-fire stuff. Sums appear in bubbles, and your job is to shoot them down before they reach you. To destroy them you select the correct number from your keyboard, then aim and fire it with your mouse or trackpad.
Players can choose any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and three difficulty levels determine how tough the sums are and how quickly they come.
Click on the images below for a closer look.
Leovi was introduced to Flash by his father, and went on to teach himself more advanced skills with help from the internet. But he isn’t just a whizz with the software. He also recognised the importance of feedback from players.
“I tested the game on some of the children attending Mmofra Foundation,” Leovi told us by email.
“It provided me with some useful feedback, such as graphics improvement suggestions and glitch finding. It was also useful for me to adjust the difficulty settings.”
Professional developers call this playtesting, and consider it a crucial part of the design process.
Leovi is currently at work on a third version of the game. He likes the idea of studying software and games in later life, but it is early days. “I’ve only recently been putting more thought into my future career options,” he says.
Mmofra Math isn’t ready for the public yet, but we’ll be helping Leovi perfect it and looking at ways to make it available. It’s a great example of what happens when young people are given the opportunity to experiment with new tools, techniques and ideas. Watch this space.