Gaming App to Learn Abacus

Interactive digital courseware in the form of an online game. Gamifying mathematics using mental arithmetic and abacus-based concepts.


About Client

Our client is a company specializing in training techniques for arithmetic using abacus-based concepts. They have especially-designed courseware and trainers who work under either them or their franchises in other parts of the world.

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The Challenge

The challenge our customer faced was that the children attending their classes lost focus, got bored, and didn’t practise mathematics at all once they reached home.

The Solution

GoodCore helped them design interactive digital courseware in the form of an online game where students could register using their location/franchise and play the game based on the same concepts taught during the class. The game targeted learning using the same level of break up that the actual course had. We had to understand the complete course material, the methodologies, and how to map them in creating a game which could serve the same purpose. The resulting game was titled Beat the Beads.

Gamifying Mathematics Through Role-Playing Game

Our client’s training content had 37 well-structured moves which the kids had to learn. The core concept was to initially use the beads on an abacus to emulate the beads' movements and gradually learn the movements in their head to be able to perform large mental arithmetic operations. The training sessions were usually long and required a lot of practice. But once the kids left the training centres, they wouldn't practice it at home. To make the learning process more interesting, our client wanted GoodCore to come up with a game concept which could achieve the following objectives for them:

  • Create interest in mental arithmetic.
  • Develop the game using the basic concepts of beads and their movements.
  • Excite children to compete with each other to learn faster in a productive way.
  • Replicate what they learn in the class and play the game using the same concepts at home.

App Design Considerations

The Beat the Beads application was designed to run on both mobile devices and desktop-based browsers. While native applications would have utilized the GPU and CPU of the mobile devices better, providing much smoother frame rates, our challenge was to design one application which could run on all. We chose Cocos2d-JS to develop this game which integrated with the back end using Node.js for extremely fast data transfers and rapid CRUD operations. The main server-side application used PHP Yii framework to design and develop a portal to display students' scores, tournaments, and challenges.

Challenging Tournaments

One of the main objectives of Beat the Beads was to engage children to compete against each other and learn during the process. The game had a well-defined level system where a child scoring fast would gain enough virtual powers to move to the next level with better armour. This would lead to more complex questions at higher levels, resulting in even higher scores. The tournaments were arranged by the admin in various countries and franchises for similar-level students to go head to head in the server ring.


The HTML5 server application works in conjunction with the server-side PHP. The student profiles and tournaments are all managed by the PHP-based application using MySQL at the back end. The points system and integration with the server is done using Node.js which updates the MySQL server with the student scores. The scores are updated on the next refresh of the web-based profile. The students can view their profiles and their standings in the tournaments and leaderboards.

Technologies Used


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