Last weekend, I woke up with an idea and embarked on a weekend project. Nah I didn’t build a shed or anything, as most of my ideas are geeky – it was YAAA (Yet Another Android App). This one is a bit offball, I decided to make an app where you could learn Chinese. It’s basically a glorified (well actually “scaled down” may be a better word) flash card app, and it’s entirely focused on food items.

The actual “flash card” capability of the app, and underlying database was easy to do – I finished it in a couple of hours. But I’ve spent a lot more time on figuring out what Chinese characters to add (mostly thanks to Google Translate, Wikipedia, and an Asian Legend menu). I spent an even longer time drawing.

Flash cards by themselves are pretty boring – you need a strong motivation to WANT to learn to use it. I also didn’t want to add a silly score mechanism to make it a “game”. I ended up adding badges to unlock on various occasions or combination of actions. Hopefully the mystery around the badges will cause people to use the flash cards more.

Of course, I’m not a graphic artist, so the badges themselves are difficult to create. To do this, I started experimenting with Isometric Pixel Art, which is pretty easy if you don’t have any artistic talent. Here are the first badges I created:

Now I just need to decide and draw an icon for my app before I can release it.