Hanzi Dungeon

There are several studies on the benefits of language learning on the brain, from fighting aging, to boosting cognitive functions. The fact is, it remains really hard, especially with a full time job, and limited opportunities to travel.

To motivate myself to study I decided to sign up for the HSK exam about a year ago, and that’s how I started reviewing decks of flashcards. Answering to flashcard prompts correctly brought me great satisfaction, but I started asking myself… is there a way to make the process more fun?

Gamified language learning

I started researching gamified apps, like Duolingo, but in terms of retention, flashcard decks on Pleco seemed to produce the best. In his book Fluent Forever Gabriel Wyner covers the history and theory of spaced repetition, and why I found it so effective.
That’s when I started thinking about creating a game to learning Chinese based on spaced repetition

Game requirements and Spaced Repetition

When I started writing down the requirements and ideas for a possible game, I stumbled upon the Super Memo 2#Algorithm_SM-2) algorithm to maximize the effectiveness of flashcard reviews. I modified the original algorithm to allow for continuous play, instead of only presenting the same flashcards after a given number of days, to avoid running out of cards.

Pixel art and roguelikes

While Hanzi Dungeon is far from a complete study solution, I hope it still proves a fun way to review the HSK flashcards, and practice Chinese vocabulary.

I tried to combine my love for pixel art (thanks to the wonderful assets created by Pita), and roguelike games, going for the SNES esthetics.

If you’re studying a new language I wish you the best of luck and success in your endeavors. If you happen to be practicing for your HSK exam, feel free to check out Hanzi Dungeon for iOS