LingoPets

Overview

Duration: ~6 months

Roles: Visual Designer, Illustrator

LingoPets is a computer game designed to teach kids how to speak multiple new languages. The game features several cat characters that guide players through specific lessons and subject matters to unlock more cats and customizable items. I worked with three other students and took the initiative to be the artist for the game, creating the music, logo, and all of the art assets. We eventually worked with F.L.Y. (Foreign Language for Youth) through an internship where we further developed our game using their lesson plans and conducted user testing with their students. Our goals were to make language learning enjoyable for a young audience, allow children an alternative way of learning effectively, and aid teachers with their lessons.

Process

For the early research phase of the game, our team began by researching other applications taking inspiration from different designs and art styles. As the artist and visual designer for the game, my first task was to create a mood board to get a concept of the project's look and feel, which would be helpful later on for producing my artwork as well as communicating my ideas to the team. The mood board consisted of screenshots of art assets from other games and a color palette that appealed to our target audience. 

After my team decided on a more retro, 8-bit art style, I utilized Adobe Photoshop and Pixilart, an online tool designed to make pixel art, to create the game's art assets. I also worked and communicated with another team member, who designed the low-fidelity mockups of the game screens. 

Backgrounds

The game features three rooms that act as the player's home screens: the backyard, the living room, and the kitchen. Players can click on the cat characters throughout these three screens. When the player wants to test their knowledge, they'll enter the classroom, and when they want to practice with the cats they've collected so far, they'll enter the playroom.

Sprites

The current game also contains five cat characters with unique skins. Each cat teaches a different subject in the respective language. Since we wanted the cats to feel alive and give feedback whenever the users answered questions, I designed each cat with a happy, angry, and sad reaction.

Customizable Items

To make the game rewarding for students, I also designed items that players could unlock as they complete lessons and gain experience. Users could then use these items to dress up their cats.

Reflection

Our employers at F.L.Y. were overall very pleased about the work that we completed for them during our remote internship. They noted that their students found the art style exciting after sharing our project with their classes. Overall, it was great to see a project reach actual users. As we weren't able to complete the development of our game, our next steps would have been to finish usability testing and utilize the feedback to refine the art assets and the game's mechanics. If I were to redo this project, I would have wanted our team to conduct more user research early on, as it would have been helpful with informing our decisions and my tasks as a visual designer. Overall, I learned more about the collaborative process of design and how to work with clients to accomplish a project.