Spellbook is an educational game where the player must swipe letters flying across the screen to complete words and spells in a magic book. It is intended for K-5. The gameplay is very similar to that of Fruit Ninja's.
My Role and Experience:
This was my first project big project as a game designer on the Cellec team. I was given an unfinished GDD, and told to redesign it and complete the documentation so that it could enter into production. Needless to say the game was identical to Fruit Ninja when I first received it. The main difference was that the player got a word prompt and was made to swipe all the letters that fit in the blank space but still completed a word.
In my redesign, I decided to keep the scoring system, but instead of keeping the game as a score chaser I decided to use the games theme more appropriately. The game was called spellbook, yet the only things related to magic where the flying letter orbs, the power ups, and the book itself (Menu system).
My redesign involved levels in the form of spells. Each spell was composed of 3 or more sentences that rhymed and were labled for their intended magic. There were love spells, storm spells, and even spells to get rid of stinky feet (I wrote a majority of these rhymes). Players were given each word for 15 seconds with a letter missing from the word. They would get points for swiping every letter that fit and bonus points for swiping the letter that helped complete the spell as it was intended. This experience was pivotal to building my confidence as a game designer. I was able to turn a design that had been stored and left behind into a an achievable and entertaining title.
My biggest challenge on this project was keeping the fun aspects that were in the original design and augmenting them and changing them enough to pull away from Fruit Ninja. At first I really disliked the project due to the fact that one of my key aspirations as a game designer is originality. Fortunately I managed to give the game my own flavor and helped make it something of its own.