Recipe for Disaster


Pie chart

Bar graph
Earlier today, I went to visit an old friend of mine from back home. During my visit, he brought out a huge homemade chocolate cake to celebrate the occasion. I never knew he was interested in baking, but he told me that he had recently started making all sorts of baked goods. As we started talking about this new interest in baking, he mentioned that one of the most important parts of the process is being able to understand the ratio of ingredients. If the ratio is off, it could literally be a recipe for disaster.

On my way home, I couldn’t get the idea of ratios out of my head. As soon as I had the chance, I decided to experiment with some games in Game Alley. I tried to understand and measure the ratio of one kind of sprite to another in the games I was playing. I took some notes and created several diagrams in my notebook as a way to remember what I found out. I then decided to challenge myself to create a series of games that used ratios as a way to make decisions about the game’s design. It was a way of creating a set of rules for how many sprites of a particular kind would be in my game, for example. In the first game I created, I used twelve enemies for every one avatar (12:1), one blaster for every four enemies (1:4) and one health pack for every eight enemies (1:8). I used ratio to compare the quantity of one sprite to another. It was cool, and the game was fun and challenging.

I then decided to experiment with ratios of enemy types. I used five Juror enemies, three Chronox, and one Karukuri—a total of nine enemies. If I were to calculate the ratio of one type of enemy to the overall number of enemies it would look something like 5:9 for Juror, 3:9 for Chronox and 1:9 for Karakuri.

Next, I realized that, if I wanted to, I could convert the ratios into percentages. Doing this would allow me to create a pie chart or bar graph, for example, of the different quantities of sprites used from each district. To calculate percentages, I first picked a ratio and turned it into a fraction. For example, the ratio of five Jurors to nine total sprites gave me a fraction of 5/9. I then turned the fraction into a decimal number by dividing the numerator (5) by the denominator (9). The result was 5.5555555. To keep things easy I rounded 0.555555 up to 0.56. Then, to turn the decimal into a percentage I multiplied 0.56 by 100, giving me 56%. In my game, 56% of all enemy sprites are Jurors. Whew! I may just become the first Gamestar statistician.