TranStar (Web/Flash) // August 2009 – December 2009

Beyond its prominence in the maths curriculum, transformations always seemed like a highly-promising candidate for a game due to its visual nature.

Not that that means it was easy; I generated several concepts, including an adventure game where you used magic mirrors and the like to warp around mazes, but none of them quite worked.

Eventually I had the idea of a space-based puzzle game, where you employed cosmic phenomena to reflect, rotate, translate and scale a spaceship through hyperspace to its home planet. Okay, so the plot was a little contrived, but it worked as a maths game.

With the talented Jan Rigerl once again at the helm, a basic wireframe of the game came together quickly. As is his wont, Jan played around and threw in some cool little neon effects, and it rapidly became clear that a vector graphics retro vibe could work quite well for the game (plus save on asset creation costs!).

The spaceships were dropped to be replaced by a strange morphing space entity, with your goal to guide it home to the galactic core. Throw in some superb other-worldly ambient music by Paul Weir (who performed sound duties on many Mangahigh games) and the result was a unique, atmospheric and very popular success.

I think what makes TranStar work so well in the classroom is that students can explore with impunity how transformations behave (a lower score aside), which makes it a valuable learning tool.

Gameplay Video  Play Game

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Guide the sentient shape TranStar to its home in the galactic core.
TranStar featured ten Sectors each containing eight Zones (or levels).
Click on rifts, vortices and warps to translate TranStar through space.
Ambient music and neon visuals gave TranStar an other-worldly vibe.