How to design a storyboard? You have to put a puzzle together: be flexible and creative Center for Studies in Communication Sciences It’s exactly what I’ve hoped
THREE important Serious Games components are:
the technological aspects
the formative aim
the ludic nature
These three components need to remain balanced.
if “serious” part > “game” part, the user can abandon the game or can feel bored stiff. if the game is too fun it doesn’t teach anything, so that it fails as an educative tool. RISKS Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
During the development of a Serious Game, there are a lot variables to consider, even if there are not strict rules to lead them: aim animations kind of game screenplay didactical model Technological decisions contents interactive aspects mathematical model audio Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
How can I create an effective simulation for the user, as a learning experience ? reconstructions of virtual environments and characters have to be able to activate the presence feeling : playing the game, the player has to feel emotionally involved and conscious to be in that particular situation . the presented situations and the story have to be realistic, challenging, congruent with real life and real experiences . 1 2 Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
The E-VITA project is looking for innovative ways to promote knowledge sharing between different generations : true life episodes are transposed into Serious Games. The stories are small episodes that can be used as window to learn more about the past as a way to better understand the present, since these narratives support players to understand, analyze and reflect situations and facts others have experienced. A good example to design a storyboard: the E-VITA project www.evitaproject.eu E xperiences gained by senjor citizens can be transferred to younger generations Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
In the CoPs, senior citizens shared their experiences and used their expertise to contribute to the project. COMMUNITIES of PRACTICE (CoP) : setting-up groups of persons that reflect upon a common argument. They are necessary to collect suitable stories and shared information for the development of the games. In each of the seven involved countries a CoP edited storyboards for each Serious Games that they envisage. The storyboards were then transformed into Serious Games that can be used either by individuals online or by formal educational organizations to teach history, geography, etc. 2 3 1 Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
Each partecipating country implemented a community of storytellers. Contacting seniors department of a university nearby Contacting day-centre Contacting internet cafes “ call for stories” via the web E-VITA blog LinkedIn group Communities met at least 4 times, 2-3 hours per session Contacting University of third age How to set up a community? How do you want to set up YOUR community? Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
4 main topics for the collection of the stories Recreation For young adults and teenagers a world without mobile phones, Internet, and PCs in unthinkable. Before the communication revolution other ways of recreation, meeting people and exchange with others were usual. Working The experience to work in another country can be a very exciting one. In fact, the person working somewhere else has a completely different perspective on the same situation compared to the people living there. Turism Travelling in Europe and hosting tourist: both perspectives. This could lead to a game on interculturality in Europe where roles can be swapped to experiment the same situation from the two opposite sides. East and West block The contacts between East and West (divided) Europe often were a complicated challenge, but often were surprisingly interesting and full of very positive occurrences. Preconceived views and stereotyps could be put aside. Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
Based on the narratives of seniors, game environments can be created that allow to experience the story, as well as to transform the story into a personal experience, to take an active part in it and emotionally share events. Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
To define a “ model ” for a storyboard the first step was to find how pieces of stories could be connected to start creating something more articulated. a little story of a French family travelling to Germany with a “duck car” (typical in the 60’s in France) full of fresh vegetables. They are stopped at the frontier with Germany and the customs officer does not believe that there is nothing hidden under the vegetables. So he opens the back of the car and there are potatoes rolling all over the floor at the frontier and… nothing else appears under the vegetables! The first stories collected at the beginning of the project included: a little story of a lady bringing bananas from Swiss to Italy and being stopped, as no fruit could be brought over the border. So she offers bananas to the customs officers (as it is not nice to throw them away) and… gets arrested for attempt of corruption! a lot of facts (also collected indipendently from the stories), e.g. that VW beetle was the typical car in Germany, as well as Fiat Cinquecento in Italy, same as the Duck in France. a couple of stories about taking money abroad Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
B) invent a game where the player has to transport goods between different countries in Europe and to cross many borders. According to the itinerary he or she chooses, different things may happen. For example, should he or she try to cross the Swiss-Italian border with bananas…. What could be done with these stories: A) start with pictures of old cars; the player has to chose one; according to the car he or she chooses he or she “lands” in a different story Aim of the game could be if one is very clever, or if he is the perfect smuggler!!! Obviously all these pieces are not by far enough to develop a complete game, but this may show how different information can be linked to for pieces of possible pathways for a more complex game. Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
Structure of the game
Starting and ending point: we have stories
Elements of the game
Story : different modules.
Two aspects have to be approached within the story: the story itself and the learning aims
Learning aims : are stated as basic learning aims, but of course further resources, levels of interest etc. should be provided to the learner.
Scores : come up with a scoring system in order to motivate the player to play the same story a second time and also to be able to provide a sort of “hit parade” of best players.
Help : Throughout the game the player shall be supported. Help can also be provided with the aid of a resource centre (a kind of a further info library) or by contacting other gamers or storytellers.
Elements for the story board
Subject of the Game
Game concept and structure
Aims of the game - overall aims
Personalisation and customisation elements
Evaluation and feedback
Characters and their descriptions
and now put your puzzle together Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
Four pedagogic approaches have been taken into consideration:
A narrative-centric game which emphasizes the use of storytelling to achieve immersion and flow; in this respect it can be seen to draw on oral history (King and Stahl 1990) pedagogy;
2. An experiential game , in which the learner is transplanted into the situations faced by the storyteller, and as such drawing heavily in situative pedagogy;
3. A puzzle-based game , wherein the emphasis is strongly on providing effective puzzles and challenges for the learner, with the story and narrative taking a less direct role;
4. An exploratory game focused on increasing the learners zone of proximal development, in accordance with Vygotskyan theory, by directing them to web and other external resources in the context of challenges or problems presented by the game.
and also you may choose some of these approaches for your game! Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
Storyboard development The chosen pedagogic approach of using the game type of an experiential game for a first prototype implied a narrative background consisting of a branching dialogue . In this game model different linear storylines can be composed by branching them at certain points in the overall narrative. Usually, the player follows the plot until he or she reaches situations which require a decision or where events occur which the player must react to in order to advance. This method allows for a smooth combination of different stories or parts of stories and therefore is suited well for composing a game plot out of a pool of narrative material. Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
Outlining the plot In order to construct such a branching structure the different scenes have to be determined and aligned so that an overarching context is maintained and a credible and immersive game plot can be achieved. The method chosen for this procedure is to outline the different scenes of the plot with the help of a mindmapping tool. When the individual scenes are laid out they can be assembled to the game plot according to the delineated storyline. By means of this flow chart visualization it is much easier to determine the crucial and relevant elements of the stories to be intertwined to an overarching context and a plausible game plot . Center for Studies in Communication Sciences Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
For the overarching context, in order to have a “wrapping” story in which several cities are inserted one of the ideas coming from a focus group with a sample of the target group was chosen: The player is a journalist in the present - her (the journalist is a young lady) boss wants to publish a special issue in the magazine for the 20 years from the fall of the Berlin wall, and she has to collect information, sort of “travelling in the past”. As mentioned above, the game will use the metaphor of travelling in time, i.e. the protagonist is able to visit places in a time where the Iron Curtain divided Europe. This mechanism will come in effect without having to be intentionally triggered by the player and the different time layers are visualized by changing graphical styles. While the player can experience situations from a past time, the results from these experiences are fed back into the present time as the learning aims achieved. Into the past layer of the game additional cities, i.e. destinations for the “time travel”, can be inserted in a modular way. Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
Creating the storyline Compiling the storyboards. After the initial pre-considerations about the game plot storyboards for the individual scenes (the different cities) could be created. Writing the dialogues. It is extremely important to keep the dialogues as interesting as the stories themselves are, in order to make the learner engaged and able to focus and get the picture on the situation experienced in the story. As soon as the branching of the narrative was identified and potential scenes were arranged the dialogues for the respective game situations were written starting from the collected stories. To write the dialogues, one has to try to find out the emotional state of the person, and to try to convey this again with the choice of words. For some stories this is easier, for others it is a bit more difficult and some creative imagination has to be brought in. Center for Studies in Communication Sciences
Preparing the feedbacks. As soon as the storyboard is set up with all the details, the feedback is prepared. Final feedbacks take into account the whole path the player followed, not only the last decision node. Therefore in each decision node some parameters have to be evaluated. The evaluation will be done empirically with a table underlying the game. The e-VITA games will generally give feedback about the historical, political, social knowledge of the player, evaluating also users’ ability to cope with the given situations as well as interpersonal communication. Which kind of feedbacks would you like to include in your game? Carefully think about it! Center for Studies in Communication Sciences