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Transforming Ghana’s Popular Indigenous Game With 3D Design

Transforming Ghana’s Popular Indigenous Game With 3D Design

When our popular Spar card game meets digitalization, it is worth announcing. The spar is most commonly played by two players, though a four-player version does exist. In Adwafo, a town in Ghana it is the only card game known. It is mostly played by boys as early as their early
teens and by men into their early twenties — afrafo

The deck of cards used is a standard French playing deck with the jokers and all face cards below six discarded. These lower cards may be appropriated by younger boys to play a somewhat amputated version
of the game. 

Aces are high. The dealer shuffles the deck, stopping when his opponent says ‘Bra’ (‘Come’). He then deals three cards to his opponent, three to himself, two to his opponent, and then two to himself, so that each player has five cards. 

The opponent plays first, setting out any card he likes. The dealer is then required to lay down a card of the same suit, or any other card if he does not have a card of the requisite suit. Whichever player lays down the card with the higher value in the initially chosen suit wins the right to lay down the next card, which may be of any suit. 

This continues until the last pair of cards is thrown down, at which point whoever wins the final pair is considered the winner of the hand. 

Taking inspiration from this indigenous game, final-year student Ebenezer Miracle Gydeu Apau has created and launched Spar3d, a 3d digital adaptation of the Spar game.

“I have always dreamt of creating my own “world,” and letting others enjoy my creation,” says 21-year-old indie game developer to Leti Arts.

Having grown up playing it, the indie game developer thought it would be fun to play it anywhere, anytime, without the need to buy physical cards. 

“I also noticed that there were little to no 3D card games on the internet, so I decided to challenge myself and create my own.”

Just like the normal spar game, individuals play amongst various AI opponents in various environments; they have unlocked with stones earned in every round. The stones also help players buy more cards and skins. 

Currently in his final year and offering Bsc. Computer Science at KNUST, Ebenezer is a game developer and 3D artist. He has three years of experience as a 3D artist using Blender, Zbrush, Substance Painter, and Marvelous Designer, while he has two years of experience as a game developer using Unity.

Ebenezer’s love for games and fascination with how people created nice, catchy games, and his usage of C# set him off on this journey.

“Since I had no superpowers or magic, creating games was the closest thing I could do to let that dream become a reality.”

Just like the normal spar game, individuals play amongst various AI opponents in various environments; they have unlocked with stones earned in every round. The stones also help players buy more cards and skins. 

Can’t play spar? No need to worry; the game comes with a tutorial to help you get started. Currently, Spar3d is suited for Android, Windows, and Mac.

“Creating Spar3d was my proudest moment. It was no easy feat creating a 3D card game, especially for someone who had no prior knowledge of 3D, animations, and game development.”

“It was really difficult because I had to learn 3D in Blender before getting started with Unity 3D. So, I spent 2-3 years on the creation of the game. I found myself moving slowly and wanting to give up most of the time. But, looking back, I’m glad I didn’t.”

“I feel Spar3d can be made better, but I am proud I have gotten it to this point,” Ebenezer tells Leti Arts.

Spar3d currently has 200 downloads on both Google Play and Itch. “It doesn’t seem so big, but considering it is my first game, having over 200 people enjoy my creation brings joy to my heart,” the game developer mentioned enthusiastically.

Presently, the indie game developer is working on two games; Finding X and an Algorithm-based puzzle game. Finding X is a game to help the players get familiar with algebra questions. In “Finding X,” players are given an algebraic expression that needs X to satisfy the equation. Players are chased by balls that have numbers, and one of those balls is X. The goal is to eliminate X whilst dodging the balls coming at you.

In the algorithm-based puzzle game, players are given specific tasks and are expected to solve them using blocks of codes that control a robot. It is designed to help people who are interested in learning to program but are unsure of how to do so due to the overwhelming nature of the subject. You control the Robot using basic programming concepts like strings and loops, which are translated in the game as blocks of commands. 

Although this journey seems like a breeze, Ebenezer shares that getting a good PC for game development was one of the challenges he encountered. “Thankfully, it did not last long as my parents got me a good one to work.”

Another hurdle he faced was getting good mentorship and game development tutorials. In terms of marketing his game, he had no clue how to go about it.

Spar3d developer shares game development, but despite these hurdles, he has met many amazing people.

“I am currently interning at Nubian VR Ghana, and I would not have been able to get this great opportunity if not for game development.”

For his last words to any upcoming game developer, this is what the Creative has to say:

“Choose a suitable game engine and join gaming communities. There are many options, like Unity, Unreal, and Godot. I’m a member of “Video Games Developers GH,” LinkedIn, Discord, and Twitter.”

“Although one can only focus on the coding part and outsource the other disciplines, it would be better if you could use 3D software and 2D graphic software.”

“You can get started with Blender for the 3D software and Photoshop or GIMP. Take some time to master the game engine you chose. You can start by getting familiar with the engine, the 3d software, and the 2d graphics software.”

“Do not spend too much time on tutorials; come up with a game idea and start creating it. I think we learn best by working on projects,” Ebenezer concluded.