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Tompig

Maths Doom?

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Hi guys, first some context to the upcoming question.

My father is a primary school teacher and has been asked to find a way to let kids practice their times-tables in an entertaining manner.

Now I was playing doom when I was two and sat on his knee, and he got me 'The Typing of the Dead' when I was twelve, so when he told me about his task this is where our minds jumped to.

Does anyone know of any kind of shooter using math problems... non of this 10/10 stuff, In my experience if you give school kids something that's built for kids they hate it.

So ideally we need something with a bit of gore, any ideas would be great... surely there are some obscure DoS games out there that fit the bill... right guys?

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I can easily make a math problem Map which counts number of kills for each Monster tag . And a Hud message which shows Number of Monsters killed or left . (Gonna need an Advanced map format though).

* Example : How many dead bodies do we need to Fill this bucket with Blood ?
(Kill a few monsters, automatically gets Door opened, recieves a Message saying "Correct")

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Sounds good, but we were looking for something more... arcadey.


Picture this

a 2D plane of a doom level

Doomguy is on the left side of the screen, demons run at doomguy from the right with math problems above their heads (2+2) for example.

If you answer the question right before it attacks you, you blow its head off.

If you get the question wrong, or take to long it attacks you and you lose some life.

We are looking for really simple, the 'meat' of the game should be numbers, its really the asthetic and theme that needs to be dark and gritty.

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Tompig said:

Sounds good, but we were looking for something more... arcadey.


Picture this

a 2D plane of a doom level

Doomguy is on the left side of the screen, demons run at doomguy from the right with math problems above their heads (2+2) for example.

If you answer the question right before it attacks you, you blow its head off.

If you get the question wrong, or take to long it attacks you and you lose some life.

We are looking for really simple, the 'meat' of the game should be numbers, its really the asthetic and theme that needs to be dark and gritty.


I haven't heard of any Doom games like Typing of the Dead but something like this would be very simple to make in Flash with ActionScript 2, even an old version of Macromedia flash would be able to do this

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I can see something like that being done with ZDoom and some ACS scripting. You could make it so only one enemy targets you at any given time. When he enters his attack state, you are locked into place and a math problem could flash on screen, and you had to type in the answer before he finished his attack animation. If you did, you would kill it with your shotgun, but if you failed you'd get attacked. You'd have to find someone who knows ACS well, though. I assume something like that would require quite a lot of scripting.

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Im sure you could achieve something similar in actual Doom as well, with a little scripting and sprite work. First person is all the rage these days, kids would prefer that to anything else. I don't have the skill to do it, but it's a cool idea, hope you find something suitable.

EDIT: rofl HorrorMovieGuy beat me by like 20 seconds

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HorrorMovieGuy said:

You'd have to find someone who knows ACS well, though. I assume something like that would require quite a lot of scripting.


This is the problem, I'm sort of out on a limb here. I'm terrible at coding, was really hoping Math-a-mageddon 3D would exist from the early 90's :)

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There are some maps with pretty clever puzzles. A very trite example would be TNT MAP30, which is basically memorization, but it could be elevated to a proper math problem with some tweaks. Ports with voodoo doll logic or scripting offer even more possibilities.

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This gives me an idea for a set of maps based around non-Euclidean geometries.
One could be set in hyperbolic space. The effects of travelling towards infinity could be modeled by changing gravity, I guess.
Another idea involves some kind of Riemannian manifold like you would encounter in General Relativity. This would involve a lot of changing gravity, and also warping effects due to the effects of the curvature of spacetime on light. This would practically necessitates using GZDoom however.
You could also have a level based on a Klein bottle. This would actually be easier to implement in a 2.5D-based Engine with some extensions like ZDoom, than a full 3D engine.

For the original question, you could have a firing system like VATS in Fallout 3 where the player can temporarily stop time, choose a target, and then solve some multiplication problems. Their correctness and speed in answering the questions would affect the accuracy and power of their shots. You could also have a dodging system, where if the player solves a multiplication problem fast enough they can reduce damage from a projectile or nullify it completely.

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HorrorMovieGuy said:

I assume something like that would require quite a lot of scripting.

Not really, Changing camera angle using an ACS Script is easy, Monsters would also get teleported closer to the enemy whenever an Answer is incorrect, Other stuff are easy to deal with .

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Tosi said:

This gives me an idea for a set of maps based around non-Euclidean geometries.
One could be set in hyperbolic space. The effects of travelling towards infinity could be modeled by changing gravity, I guess.
Another idea involves some kind of Riemannian manifold like you would encounter in General Relativity. This would involve a lot of changing gravity, and also warping effects due to the effects of the curvature of spacetime on light. This would practically necessitates using GZDoom however.
You could also have a level based on a Klein bottle. This would actually be easier to implement in a 2.5D-based Engine with some extensions like ZDoom, than a full 3D engine.

Better yet, put all that as a challenge in a wad that's not specifically meant for education. We need more thinking puzzles in Doom!

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You find yourself in a large-to-medium-sized room full of monsters (more or less strategically placed), you have a rocket launcher and limited number of rocket ammo, and you want to fire the rockets to such places to kill maximum possible number of monsters, or to inflict maximum total amount of damage to all of the monsters. Can this be considered a math problem?

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I can think of plenty of problems like e.g. pressing the correct switch or choosing the correct path out of many possible, based on hints found around the map which translate to a math problem, or impose ammo conservation scenarios. That'd work well with the overall "Doom" feeling as well. I'd not try something as radical as having e.g. to solve a pop-up math quiz everything you wanted to attack a monster, that'd be lame.

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Maes said:

I'd not try something as radical as having e.g. to solve a pop-up math quiz everything you wanted to attack a monster, that'd be lame.


I totally agree when given to the context of Doomers at home, but as a program for schools I think that radical approach would be required.

The doom or doom-like setting is merely to hook he attention of the pupils, the actual implementation would be to just hammer basic maths skills over and over and over at repetition since that's what they need to improve on.

I agree whole heartedly though that we need more logic based puzzles in doom mapping in general.

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What first popped to mind was something like Cyberdreams but including some numerical problem solving elements as well, as in the Cube movies. E.g. crossing a room with a deadly floor except for prime-numbered tiles/teleporters, picking up a precise number/type of ammo depending on a problem offered as a hint (otherwise deadly traps would activate) etc.

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In the past I've considered making a doom engine hack which made it play "on rails" a bit like the typing of the dead (which I love).

The main concern I would have with your suggestion, though, is whether Doom is appropriate for kids in primary School.

Something like TIS-100 might be more appropriate but I imagine TIS-100 is too advanced for primary schoolers, too.

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With ACS script it could be doable a calculator thing, learning the basis of java / android programming language i've seen that some of the calculation stuff works with int and print messages, yes it could be done easily... Just need to know how to put numbers into a new text box...

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Jon said:

In the past I've considered making a doom engine hack which made it play "on rails" a bit like the typing of the dead (which I love).

The main concern I would have with your suggestion, though, is whether Doom is appropriate for kids in primary School.

Something like TIS-100 might be more appropriate but I imagine TIS-100 is too advanced for primary schoolers, too.


It could always get the chex quest treatment, the problem with older primary school children is the second you show them something clearly made for children they hate it on principle, if you give them something that looks like it was designed with adults in mind they lap it up (without a second thought if its actually helping them learn... heck worked a treat with Typing of the Dead on myself back in the day.)

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Maes gave me a great idea... You could have the players spawn in a room. On the door, there's a math question. You walk into the next room, and there are 4 or 5 platforms, only one has the correct answer. The others teleport you back to the start (or kill or whatever). You could have this go on as long as necessary and replace the problems easily enough with Slade or XWE to prevent it from getting boring.

Make sure there are monsters and guns around would give the kids some fun killing to do while also learning basic maths. It could be used for multiple choice questions of any variety, really. This would be pretty damn fun for kids in a class.

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Jon said:

The main concern I would have with your suggestion, though, is whether Doom is appropriate for kids in primary School.


I think that if you removed the satanic imagery, the blood and the gore it would be okay. It would look edgy enough to keep kids hooked, but at the same time you wouldn't expose them to the extremely violent deaths and diabolic undertones. Maybe turn the zombie guns into laser blasters too.

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There's Chex Quest, which is safe for all ages, but might seem too childish for your audience; the nopent patch (which IIRC is a dos utility that outright patches doom.wad (and doom2.wad if renamed) to remove pentagrams; and my (abandoned and out-of-date) Clean Freedoom mod (found here.

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Adventures of Square. You could make maps based on that where the player needs to select the select answer to proceed.

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HorrorMovieGuy said:

I think that if you removed the satanic imagery, the blood and the gore it would be okay. It would look edgy enough to keep kids hooked, but at the same time you wouldn't expose them to the extremely violent deaths and diabolic undertones. Maybe turn the zombie guns into laser blasters too.


Well, you could do that, I guess, but I suppose what I meant was that the final decision as to whether it would be suitable for a given child rests with their parents. If you spend time developing something cool that some proportion of the children will not experience due to their parents opting out, have you wasted your time?

Doomkid said:

Maes gave me a great idea... You could have the players spawn in a room. On the door, there's a math question. You walk into the next room, and there are 4 or 5 platforms, only one has the correct answer. The others teleport you back to the start (or kill or whatever). You could have this go on as long as necessary


The problem is this sounds extremely dull. If it isn't engaging it won't work.

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What about this: Make a normal Doom map, with gameplay and stuff, but no items that count up to Item % statistics (possibly with normal items modified via DEHACKED to not count as Items). Somewhere in the middle of the map, put a billboard with a question, and several teleport pedestals, each of them labeled with a possible answer. Proceeding through these teleporters is mandatory for the map's progression. If the player entered the teleporter with a correct answer, it would teleport him to a dummy room with a sign "Correct!" and a forcedly picked-up something that counts as an Item (for example a single Health potion), and then he would teleport further to continue the map. On the other hand, if the player entered a teleporter with an incorrect answer, it would teleport him to another dummy room with a sign "Incorrect! The correct answer was: <THE CORRECT ANSWER>" and a forcedly triggered linedef that closes off the correct answer teleporter so that the "Correct!" room can no longer be visited, and then the player would teleport further to continue the map, into the very same place where he would teleport out of the "Correct!" dummy room. There can be several such quizes around the map, which would otherwise play normally - all of them should be mandatory to step through in order to finish the map, though. When the map will be finished, the Item % statistics will tell the player's success in the quizes he was taking alongside playing the map. :)

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scifista42 said:

Item (for example a single Health potion)

This would only be for super items such as soulspheres and megaspheres, but otherwise this is a fantastic idea!

It would be awesome because you'd be rewarded with health for getting answers right. You could even go a step further and have the "items" graphic text replaced with "grade" or "score". Excellent idea overall.

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What comes to my mind is Sonic's Schoolhouse, honestly:



There was a multiplication/division section where there were blackboards bore multiplication questions, and you had to grab each digit of the answer and shoot it at blackboards to fill it in. I suppose you could do something similar with Doom, particularly ZDoom. Hell, you could probably reuse the graphics from Sonic's Schoolhouse verbatim.

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Jon said:

The problem is this sounds extremely dull. If it isn't engaging it won't work.


Then, by that definition, most "educational" games are doomed (pardon the pun) to be considered extremely dull after a short while, especially if they consist of "normal" gameplay for a particular genre intertwined with math problems (e.g. I recall many "educational" games which were variations of "shoot the correct word", "shoot the correct result", "walk to the correct result" etc.).

TBQH, I was never "educated" with similar games, but since I had been exposed to "real" or "proper" video games from an early age, I'm pretty certain I would find such games dull or rather, "non-games". And that would be 30 years ago.

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Maes said:

Then, by that definition, most "educational" games are doomed (pardon the pun) to be considered extremely dull after a short while, especially if they consist of "normal" gameplay for a particular genre intertwined with math problems (e.g. I recall many "educational" games which were variations of "shoot the correct word", "shoot the correct result", "walk to the correct result" etc.).


Well, yes. Most traditional educational games *are* dull.

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