University of Jos 1st Class Computer Science graduate Amula, co-authored paper ‘Implementing A Crossword Puzzle Game in Hausa Language’ gets published in international journal

Mr Apake Amula

Published on International Journal of Informatics, Technology & Computers
ISSN: 2317-3793, Volume 1, Issue 2, page 7 – 14
Publication Date: 20 February 2019

Amula Apake & Godwin Thomas
Department of Computer Science, University of Jos
Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria

Below is part of the publication:

The current rise in demand for automation in every aspect of life has created the need to develop an educative game in a native language that has never been done, not only to entertain but also to educate users and to improve interrelationship among communities, thereby encouraging social proficiency. This study is gear towards developing a Crossword puzzle game in Hausa language. The researchers presented an account of their attempt at building a prototype of the Hausa crossword puzzle game by describing a software structure that realizes the specifications and translate this structure into an executable program implemented using C#. Evaluation of the prototype based on a usability test has shown that a good percentage of the users can use the system effectively and they welcomed the idea of the new game. This work will inspire developers to do more great works on local and traditional games using indigenous languages.

Keywords: Educative game, Native language, Hausa language puzzle game, Local and traditional games & Indigenous languages.

1. Introduction
Hausa language is a widely spoken African language. The main Hausa-speaking area is northern Nigeria and Southern Republic of Niger. Hausa is classified as a member of the Chadic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. Before now, the Hausa language has been used in so many academic works such as educational books, pamphlets, journals and so on, and it is also a language of study in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions of learning. This study is centered towards taking advantage of the Hausa language being one of the three major languages in Nigeria and the large number of Hausa speakers across the world to develop the first Hausa crossword puzzle game.
The study aims at developing a crossword puzzle game that will not only be interesting or entertaining but will also educate people on the use of the Hausa language as it would help improve social interactions among communities in public places like markets, malls, offices and so on.
The objectives of this research work are to identify the characteristics associated with crossword puzzle game, to gather all necessary requirements for the Hausa crossword puzzle game and to design and implement a prototype as a proof of concept.
A feasibility study was carried out to gather requirements of the users concerning the proposed solution. This was achieved by means of questionnaires. The survey gathered peoples’ opinion regarding certain behaviors the proposed Hausa crossword puzzle game prototype should exhibit. These findings serve as a footing for designing the model and subsequently implementing the solution using C# programming language to confront the problems of this body of work.
The Hausa crossword puzzle game achieves the solution by providing the following services:
• Prompting the users to enter their name before commencing game play.
• Allowing users view the game instructions.
• Allowing users to choose the game level.
• Accepting word-input using the cell (white boxes) in the data grid.
• Processing the word-input to see if the inputs are correct or not.
• Showing the player’s score after the completion of every game level.
• Allowing the players to re-play or exit after a failed attempt.
• Providing a clue window containing clues to help in getting the solution to the Hausa crosswords.
• Providing specific time range for the player to complete each level.
• Ending the game if the player does not complete the words before the given them.
• If the word consistency is not met and the finish button is clicked, the game shall indicate the number of incorrect input and blank cells remaining.

2. Literature Review
Hausa is spoken as a first language by some 25-30 million people mainly in northern areas of Nigeria, southern Niger, northern Ghana, and in communities of traders in urban centers from Senegal to the red Sea and from Libyan towns in the north to Abidjan and Zairean towns to the south. As many as a further 20 million may speak Hausa as a second or third language in Nigeria and the Republic of Niger (Furniss & Jaggar, 2015).
Over some hundreds of years the language has borrowed vocabulary from Arabic, Kanuri, Tuareg, Mande, and Yoruba. Arabic has been the major influence on vocabulary particularly in relation to the spheres of religion, law and commerce (Greenberg, 1947). In this century there has been extensive borrowing from English (Nigeria) and French (Niger) while at the same time new concepts are often expressed through Hausa coining and new metaphorical usages.
In Nigeria, the standard Hausa has been based upon the dialect spoken in Kano, the largest Hausa-speaking city. The degree of variation within the dialects of Hausa is not great by African language standards, mutual intercomprehension is the norm.
Hausa has been the subject of serious linguistic study since the middle of the 19th century (Hair, 1967) and has two of the best dictionaries of any African language. The first grammar appeared in 1862 and 1876 dictionary, both by J.F Schon.
The last twenty years has seen a continuation in the linguistic study of Hausa accompanied by an increase in the quantity of writing on aspects of Hausa oral and written literature.
There are many claims about the usefulness of computer games for learning. Computer games can stimulate users and encourage the development of social and cognitive skills, but frequent use can exacerbate negative psycho-social tendencies, be addictive and have health implications (Mitchell & Savill-Smith, 2004).
According to Gee (2013), if a game cannot be learned and even mastered at a certain level, it won’t get played by enough people, and the company that makes it will go broke.
Eleanor Robinson (2013) a professional game analyst and computer game developer based on his long experience in the industry says that a good puzzle game should have the following:
• Game must have re-playability.
• It must be engaging enough that you lose track of time and what else is happening around you for at least a brief period of time when you are playing it.
• It must include some capability to do strategic planning, to plan ahead and modify the outcome. Pure chance games lose their luster rapidly, no matter how pretty they are.
• There must be time factor, either as a countdown clock or as a reward for fast play. That being said, the time must be adjustable for different skill, play mode, or ability levels.
• Increase in skills through repetition should result in achieving higher scores, reaching higher levels and solving more difficult puzzles, which means it should not be solvable all the way through on the first try, but improving skill, not chance, should result in increased success.
• You must have some success on the first try. This means it must be easy enough at first for everyone to achieve at least the first several screens at the easiest setting.
• If it has levels it should have variability between levels to add interest.
• There should be a large variety of different piece arrangement that occur at random when you start the game. The same setup should not always appear. One or the factors that make a game of cards so appealing is that basically no two layouts or hand are the same.

3. Data Analysis/ Findings
3.1 Methodology
The purpose of this section is to provide an outline of the methodology and design technique used in the analysis and design of the Hausa crossword puzzle prototype. A Use Case Model was used to model interactions between a system and external actors (users or other systems). Use cases focus on the behaviour of the system from an external point of view.
A use case describes the functions provided by the system that yields a visible result for an actor. An actor describes any entity that interacts with the system (e.g., a user, another system). The actors are outside the boundary of the system, whereas the use cases are inside the boundary of the system. Below are the use cases for the game player.

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