Jeff Johannigman is founder of People Type Consulting, an Austin-based firm that works with companies who want to improve their teamwork and leadership, and with individuals who want to find more fulfilling careers.
Jeff’s career began in the computer game industry in Silicon Valley. As a programmer, designer, and eventually producer, he has worked on over 25 published games, including several award-winning hits, for such companies as Electronic Arts, Origin, MicroProse, and Atari.
In the mid-nineties, he left the game industry to pursue a career in human resources, training, and career management. He has designed and delivered both classroom and online training for a wide variety of clients, including the University of Texas, IBM, Dell, Whole Foods, Motion Computing, and Drake Beam Morin.
Jeff considers himself educationally schizophrenic, holding a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Cornell University and a Master of Arts in Human Services from St. Edward's University.
“ Fun arises out of mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that makes games fun. In other words, with games, learning is the drug. … That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning.”
“ For our corporate university, games have been perceived as ‘unprofessional’ and we have not considered adding them. Games don’t fit with our corporate identity as a highly technical, safety and reliability-driven engineering firm. Corporate leadership would be extremely skeptical of anything less than the traditional ‘serious’ learning model.”
“ The key in our organization is getting executives to understand that ‘Learning’ and ‘Playing’ are NOT mutually exclusive concepts. The word ‘Game’ implies ‘Play’ and as a matter of semantics it is an emotional enough issue that we intentionally avoid the use of such terms.”
“ I believe that we must remove the word ‘GAME’ from any corporate discussions about this topic. That particular word is already included in many corporate internet filters and would be an obstacle we don’t need to fight.”
“ It’s very difficult to ask executives to buy in when they perceive programs to be too much like Xbox or other game systems of the sort.”
“ Games and simulations (as games) are an underutilized resource to teach. I only wish they had another name.”
“ At work we cannot even search the internet using the word ‘game’”
“ a model to describe a situation, event, program, or phenomenon. An interactive simulation allows people to manipulate variables that change the state of the model.” (the eLearning Guild 360 Study)
“ an imitation of some real thing, state of affairs, or process. The act of simulating something generally entails representing certain key characteristics or behaviors of a selected physical or abstract system” (wikipedia)
“ the impression that someone has of being somewhere while, in reality, he is physically in another place.” (wikipedia)
“ the ability of a game to capture the player's attention and make him feel like he is actually in the game. Books and movies have immersive qualities as they can make their audience feel involved in the story by immersing them in the story's world and making them empathize with the characters.” (Rodney Gibbs, game designer)
… until your players can’t stop playing! Design Implement Playtest & Balance Analyze
Scope & Cost (roughly) FORMAT COMPLEXITY VISUALS PLAY TIME BUDGET Video Games Complex Relationships in Depth 3D Environments Days $2M-$10M PC Games Multiple Interacting Relationships Animated graphics Hours $250K-$2M Web Games Several Interacting Relationships Static images or limited animation Minutes $50K-$250K
So, how do you make a great learning game? “ Well, that’s a series of interesting choices.”