Word Tree by mitmedialab - 2


A Unity app designed to help children learn English letter-sound correspondence, sound blending, and sight word recognition.

Unknown VersionMIT LicenseUpdated 4 years agoCreated on June 17th, 2015
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Word Tree

A Unity app designed to help children learn English letter-sound correspondence, sound blending, and sight word recognition.

Build and Run

This tablet app was built and tested with Unity 4.6.2, Unity 5.3.5 and MonoDevelop 4.0.1.

Image and Sound Credits

Images were found at:

  • [Iconfinder] (http://www.iconfinder.com “Iconfinder”) for level icons and buttons, licensed for noncommercial and commercial use with no link back required;
  • [Pixabay] (http://www.pixabay.com “Pixabay”) for word images, girl and boy avatars, letters, backgrounds, any other miscellaneous things (tree, jar, sound blank, locks, red X), also licensed for noncommercial and commercial use with no attribution required.

The speech used in this app from:

  • Speech was recorded by Jacqueline Kory Westlund
  • [PlayOnLoop] (http://www.playonloop.com “PlayOnLoop”) for background music, licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution license
  • [SoundBible] (http://www.soundbible.com “SoundBible”) for background music, licensed under a Public Domain license


You don’t need to pull in these submodules for the main project to run (the necessary scripts or dlls have been copied into the Assets/Plugins folder), but if you want their source, extra examples, prefabs, etc, then you can.


[TouchScript] (https://github.com/TouchScript/TouchScript “TouchScript”) makes it easy to detect and respond to touch events, such as taps and drags. You can build it from source following the instructions [here] (https://github.com/TouchScript/TouchScript/wiki/Building-TouchScript “Building TouchScript”).

We built a unitypackage from the TouchScript 8.1 source, which has been imported into the game in the Assets folder.

Instructions on building TouchScript’s unitypackage from source are online (https://github.com/TouchScript/TouchScript/wiki/How-to-Contribute). For 8.1, the steps are:

-init and update TouchScript’s git submodules -init and update any submodules of those submodules -run Build/build_external.sh -run Build/package.sh -import the generated TouchScript.unitypackage file in the Unity editor

Note that the MainCamera in the Unity scene needs a CameraLayer2D component attached. The camera layer is used to “see” which objects in the scene can be touched - see Layers. If you don’t have a camera layer of some kind attached to the MainCamera, TouchScript will automatically add one, but the default is a CameraLayer that handles 3D objects and 3D colliders. Since Opal is a 2D game, we need to use the CameraLayer2D, which is for 2D objects and 2D colliders. (Emphasizing this extra because it can cause needless headache.)

The TouchScript game object should have a Touch Manager component attached, which will list the different camera layers in the scene.


[LeanTween] (https://github.com/dentedpixel/LeanTween/ “LeanTween git”) is a library for animating sprites ([docs here] (http://dentedpixel.com/LeanTweenDocumentation/classes/LeanTween.html “LeanTween docs”)).

If you pull in the submodule, you can get the examples, prefabs, etc. The necessary .cs file is in the word-tree Assets/Plugins folder already.


  • Auto-save the game after each level; keep track of which levels have been unlocked
  • Remove the big red X and the ‘slap’ sound that occur when you get words wrong; make it more friendly! In general: Want positive feedback for correct responses, and neutral feedback for incorrect responses + a chance to correct/internalize/react to the feedback. Maybe it should not be possible to put letters in the right/wrong place so children can experiment with the sounds (right now, if you drag a letter in place it “sticks”, but maybe it shouldn’t stick), and when they get all the letters in order then it gives the ‘correct’ feedback?
  • Double-check the licensing on “My Cute Graphics” content; may need to find other graphics to use
  • Sound equalization, speech should be louder than background sounds in all scenes
  • “Back” button doesn’t exit app but it should
  • Letters always explode to the same places (positions are hard-coded in), make it variable
  • Some game logic may be in collision manager but perhaps should not be; check how functionality is divided into classes and ensure it’s sensible
  • Separate large if statements in collision manager into separate functions?
  • Use audio manager to play all audio files (pass name of file to load to a “play audio” function) instead of having the same code repeated to play audio in different places
  • Screen needs boundaries: currently dragged objects can be dragged off the screen, that shouldn’t happen
  • Migrate to Unity 5
  • The letter ‘A’ is weird in relation to the other letters, fix this
  • Make rhyme patterns vs. onset sounds consistent colors. E.g., for CAT and HAT, make “AT” the same color and the “C” and the “H” a different color
  • Record another voice for the boy character
  • Some words will need to change: kiwi is an odd word, maybe swap for ‘pot’ or ‘plum’. Same with ‘tux’. Words like ‘taco’ may not be good depending on where the app is deployed in the world (we want the words to be relevant to the kids)
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