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Generation of Educational 3D Maze Games for Carpet Handicraft in Bulgaria


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Serious video games applied for learning purposes play a significant and important role for the modern technology enhanced education. The paper presents an educational 3D maze video game dedicated to the development of carpet fabrication in Bulgaria since 17th century until modern days. The game was automatically generated by means of declarative description of the maze pro-cessed by an open software tool named Maze Builder and built on top of Unity game platform and specially designed for automatic generation and easy modifi-cation of maze video games. There are explained the maze game design process, the educational tasks embedded into the maze, and a practical experiment con-ducted with the generated game. The initial results obtained from these experi-ments are very positive and encouraging with regard of playability of such edu-cational mazes and, as well, concerning their easy and straightforward generation by educators, who are not IT professionals.

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Generation of Educational 3D Maze Games for Carpet Handicraft in Bulgaria

  1. 1. Generation of Educational 3D Maze Games for Carpet Handicraft in Bulgaria (invited talk given at 9.IX.2017) Boyan Bontchev with Radina Panayotova Department of Software Engineering Fac. of Math. and Informatics, Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski, Bulgaria DIPP'2017September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria Audio record is available at 8u_HGFDTnpveEVMcXpYRWs
  2. 2. AGENDA  Introduction  Types of computer video games  Serious games for cultural heritage  Problems with serious games  Need of open/free platforms for game construction  The MAZE BUILDER platform for game generation  A generated video game for carpet handicraft in Bulgaria  Case study results  Conclusions September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 2DIPP'2017
  3. 3. PLAYING versus GAMING September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 3DIPP'2017
  4. 4. BUT WHAT IS A GAME? AND WHERE ARE THE GAMES?  I found the answer  when I was a little boy…  … together with my friends,  while playing in the street  … a war game! September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 4DIPP'2017
  5. 5. GAMES ARE “AT EVERY MILESTONE” (FOUND THANKS TO BALKANTON, 9.IX.1970) September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 5DIPP'2017 A game is a type of play activity, conducted in the context of a pretended reality, in which the participant(s) try to achieve at least one arbitrary, non-trivial goal by acting in accordance with rules. (Source: Adams, E. Fundamentals of Game Design, 2010)
  6. 6. COMPUTER GAMES AS A NEW MEDIA September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 6DIPP'2017 Credits: Hitbox Team
  7. 7. COMPUTER VIDEO GAMES Computer games Video games Text games Audio games COMPUTER VIDEO GAMES Tablet games TV/Console games Web games Handheld games September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 7DIPP'2017
  8. 8.  For 2017, see at at 2017:  the best Xbox One games  the best PS4 (Sony PlayStation 4) games  the best Nintendo 3DS games  the best PC games  the best indie games  a video game created without the financial support of a publisher;  rely on:  Innovation  digital distribution.  the best iPhone games  the best Android games ENTERTAINMENT GAMES 8 DIPP'2017 September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria
  9. 9. September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria9 SERIOUS GAMES (SG) Digital interactive applications that allow users to make specific experiences that promote active and experiential paths of learning in various domain of human existence,  through virtual/augmented simulations  through ludic and playing formats “A serious game or applied game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment” (Abt, 1970) “A serious game is a digital game in which education is the primary goal, rather than entertainment” (Micheal & Chen, 2006) SG enable self-controlled, active and playfully learning 9 DIPP'2017 September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 5DIPP'2017
  10. 10. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ENTERTAINMENT GAMES AND SG Criterion Games Serious games Entertainment games Task vs. rich experience Problem solving in focus Rich experiences preferred Focus Important elements of learning To have fun Simulations Assumptions necessary for workable simulations Simplified simulation processes Communication Should reflect natural (non-perfect) communication Communication is often perfect September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 10DIPP'2017 Source: Susi, Johannesson and Backlund, 2007.
  11. 11. VIDEO GAMES FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE  All video games do always reflect somehow human culture because they are "objects produced and played within culture at large", however, "not all games manifest transformative cultural play to actually transform culture“ (source: Salen and Zimmerman, 2007)  Unlike other traditional media, video games are capable to make deeper our understanding and feelings of cultural heritage (both tangible and intangible) in a very interactive and immersive way (source: Bontchev, 2015) September 9, Burgas, BulgariaDIPP'2017 11
  12. 12. TYPES OF VIDEO GAMES FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE 1. Entertainment documentary games 2. 3D role-playing adventure games 3. Interactive virtual museums 4. Prototypes and demonstrators 5. Social tagging and knowledge acquisition SG (Bontchev, DIPP’2015) September 9, Burgas, BulgariaDIPP'2017 12
  13. 13. TYPE 1. ENTERTAINMENT DOCUMENTARY GAMES  ‘History Line: 1914-1918’ (Blue Byte, 1992)  ‘Great Battles of Rome’ (Slitherine Strategies, 2007)  ‘Napoleon: Total War’ (Creative Assembly, 2010) September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 13DIPP'2017
  14. 14. TYPE 2. 3D ROLE-PLAYING ADVENTURE GAMES  ‘Red Dead Redemption’ (Rockstar San Diego, 2010)  ‘Assassin’s Creed II’ (Ubisoft Montreal, 2009) September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 14DIPP'2017
  15. 15. TYPE 3. INTERACTIVE VIRTUAL MUSEUMS  use gaming technology for both entertaining and educating visitors usually by incorporating some exploration and reassembling tasks and quizzes  examples - ‘Virtual Egyptian Temple’, ‘Olympic Pottery Puzzle’, ‘Walk through Ancient Olympia’ and ‘ThIATRO’ September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 15DIPP'2017 (Froschauer et al, Design and Evaluation of ThIATRO, 2012)
  16. 16. TYPE 4. PROTOTYPES AND DEMONSTRATORS  games based on 3D virtual reconstruction 3D and geo- referenced modeling of ancient historical sites  provide not only realistic archaeological exploration with historical accuracy but also political, religious and artistic walkthrough with crowd restauration of ancient characters with procedurally generated NPC  examples - ‘Pompei: The Legend of Vesuvius’ edutainment SG and ‘Roma Nova’ brain-controlled SG September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 16DIPP'2017
  17. 17. TYPE 5. SOCIAL TAGGING AND KNOWLEDGE ACQUISITION SG  SG for encouraging players to submit accurate information about cultural artifacts embedded into the games for further knowledge verification and mining  Examples - ‘One-Up’ is a multi-round mobile crowdsourcing metadata tagging game fostering players to propose high-quality metadata and rewarding them based on metadata (Flanagan et al, 2013) September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 17DIPP'2017
  18. 18. SERIOUS PROBLEMS OF SERIOUS GAMES  Higher development cost  Lower attractiveness compared to entertainment games  Transition between instructional design and actual game design implementation - how Game Mechanics impact and interact with the Learning Mechanics  Assessment - effectively tracking and analysing of the right parameters related to learners’ progress (knowledge gain, reflection and application)  How psychological theories should be used in the design of realistic and convincing NPCs?  How different pedagogical paradigms relate to SG and SG mechanics - reference framework needed! September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 18DIPP'2017 D1.6 GALA Roadmap 2, Nov. 2011
  19. 19. THE GREATER CHALLENGE:  Higher development cost … and, on the other side,  … lack of enough free and customizable platforms for automatic creation of serious games! September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 19DIPP'2017
  20. 20. EXISTING PLATFORMS FOR AUTOMATIC CREATION OF SERIOUS GAMES September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 20DIPP'2017 Criteria/ Solution Quandary Qedoc Quiz Maker ADAPTIMES Maze Builder Distribution Web Desktop Desktop Desktop/Web/ Mobile/Console Type 2D 2D 3D 3D Game platform None None None Unity 3D Programming language None None Python C# Learning resources slides, test questions slides, test questions, learning games slides, test questions, arranging images slides, test questions, arranging 3D objects, hidden 3D objects Customization images, music, video, font images, font, sound effects Textures, rooms Textures, images, music Open code No No Yes Yes Price Free Free Licensed Free
  21. 21. OUR GOAL: TO PROVIDE A FREE AND OPEN SOLUTION BASED ON A POPULAR GAME ENGINE Criterion Game Engine Unreal engine 4 CryEngine Ogre 3D Blender Godot Unity3d Distribution Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, HTML5, iOS and Android Windows, Linux, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS and Android Windows, Linux, Mac OS X Windows, Linux, Mac OS X Windows, OSX, Linux, HTML5, iOS, Android, BB10 Windows, OSX, Linux, Windows Phone, iOS, Android, BlackBerry 10, Tizen, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3/4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, WebGL Supported languages C++, Blueprints C++, C#, Lua C++ Python C++, GDscript C#, JavaScrtipt Community and documentation Big Big Little Big Little Very big Price Free $9.90/month Free Free Free Free Requirements for developer PC High High Low Medium Medium Medium Graphic quality Very high Very high Medium Medium Medium High Extensibility Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 21DIPP'2017
  22. 22. CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF THE MAZE BUILDER September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 22DIPP'2017 Unity 3D Game Platform Maze Builder Custom Package XML Maze Description Game Assets (text, images, audio) 3D Maze 3D Maze Game Read Import Generate Build Import Arrange 4min 2weeks 5min 4days 2s 20s 4h 12min Guess the timing for creating a six room maze game?
  23. 23. RESTRICTIONS TO THE MAZE CONSTRUCTION 1/2  Each node (i.e., room) can have maximum four doors  The maze connectivity graph must be planar  Cycles are possible within the maze graph  A par of incoming and outgoing doors is shown as a lack of door  Each door can be unlocked by correct answering a question  Each question may have text and raster graphic  Walls have maximum one door per wall  Walls have maximum two slides per wall  Each slide may have text and/or raster graphic in JPG, PNG, TIFF or BMP format September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 23DIPP'2017
  24. 24. RESTRICTIONS TO THE MAZE CONSTRUCTION 2/2  Each room can have a game with balls, circles and/or rings (explained further in the thesis)  Each room can have zero or N hidden objects.  Each room can have textures for the walls, ceiling and the floor  Each room can have no more than one map laid over the floor  Each room can have no more than one audio file for playing while the player is inside it (one or in repeating mode)  The maze should have one starting room September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 24DIPP'2017
  25. 25. MAZE BUIDER DATA MODEL September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 25DIPP'2017
  26. 26. BASIC ARCHITECTURE OF THE MAZE BUILDER September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 26DIPP'2017 Prefabs Labyrinth class MazeBuilder class Deserialize XML Return Labyrinth object Room HiddenObject BallBoard CircleBoard TorusBoard GameManager GlobalGameManagerOpen scene Instantiate prefabs Set properties, Position in 3D space
  27. 27. IMPORTING THE MAZE BUILDER PACKAGE IN UNITY September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 27DIPP'2017
  29. 29. A SAMPLE XML MAZE DESCRIPTION September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 29DIPP'2017
  30. 30. THE MAZE IS GENERATED JUST AFTER THE XML IMPORT September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 30DIPP'2017
  31. 31. PERFORMANCE The performance testing of the Maze Builder was performed on a developer laptop with Windows 10:  Importing of Maze Builder unity package – 4 minutes  Importing of 4 audio files with total volume 28MB - 176 seconds  Importing of 86 images with total volume of 212MB – 65 seconds  Importing of a XML document describing a 6 room maze and generation of the maze - 12 seconds  Building a desktop standalone (executable) – 3 minutes 20 sec  Building a WebGL game distribution - 12 minutes September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 31DIPP'2017
  32. 32. CASE STUDY: Educational 3D Maze Games for Carpet Handicraft in Bulgaria  Target: vocational training and education in Bulgarian ethnography.  Focus: the game is dedicated to the fabrication of carpets in Bulgaria since 17th century to the present times.  Maze connectivity graph: six rooms interconnected by doors September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 32DIPP'2017 RoomCenter Intro RoomNorthWest Tciprovtzi - 2 RoomWest Tciprovtzi - 1 RoomEast Kotel - 1 RoomNorth Sliven RoomNorthEast Kotel 2DoorE DoorE DoorW DoorW DoorS DoorNDoorN
  33. 33. RoomCenter Intro RoomNorthW est Tciprovtzi - 2 RoomWest Tciprovtzi - 1 RoomEast Kotel - 1 RoomNorth Sliven RoomNorthE ast Kotel 2 DoorE DoorE DoorW DoorW DoorS DoorNDoorN THE MAZE FROM TOP CAMERA VIEW IN UNITY September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 33DIPP'2017
  34. 34. A SCREENSHOT OF THE INITIAL VIEW OF THE GAME (THE CENTRAL ROOM) September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 34DIPP'2017
  36. 36. ROLLING A BALL TO THE LOCATION OF THE TOWN OF TSIPROVTCI September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 36DIPP'2017
  38. 38. PRACTICAL EXPERIMENT WITH TWO GROUPS OF USERS  Educators - passed though a demonstration of generation of a maze game and arrangements of didactic objects embedded into it and watched a video about the maze creational process. Next, they filled in a questionnaire about platform usability and game playability  Students – learners through the generated serious game available online at and who played the game  either online by a Firefox browser with Unity Web Player Plugin installed from,  or offline by downloading the desktop version of the game from this Web page. Next, they filled in a questionnaire about game playability September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 38DIPP'2017
  40. 40. VIDEOS  A video about the maze creational process available at wQg (2:39 min.)  A video containing a demonstration of a game session with the generated game is available at q9Gs (3:21 min.) September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 40DIPP'2017
  41. 41. RESULTS FOR THE QUESTION “DO YOU THINK THAT EDUCATIONAL VIDEO MAZE GAMES ARE AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FACILITATING EDUCATION?” September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 41DIPP'2017 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% definitely no more likely no I can't say more likely yes definitely yes
  42. 42. RESULTS FOR “THE IDEA TO USE TEXT IN XML FORMAT FOR DESCRIBING VIDEO MAZE GAMES IS VERY GOOD AND HAS FUTURE” September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 42DIPP'2017 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% definitely no more likely no I can't say more likely yes definitely yes
  43. 43. RESULTS FOR “THE UTILIZED LEARNING TASKS, ANSWERING TEST QUESTIONS FOR UNLOCKING DOORS AND FINDING HIDDEN OBJECTS, ARE VERY APPROPRIATE FOR EDUCATIONAL GAMES” September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 43DIPP'2017 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% definitely no more likely no I can't say more likely yes definitely yes
  44. 44. RESULTS FOR THE QUESTION “THE TIME SPENT ON GAME AND AMUSEMENT OBTAINED IS GREAT” September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 44DIPP'2017 0.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 25.00% 30.00% 35.00% 40.00% definitely no more likely no I can't say more likely yes definitely yes
  45. 45. CURRENT AND FUTURE WORKS  New extensions of the platform:  JavaScrips for controlling texts over pictures  Other embedded mini-games – e.g. a puzzle game for unlocking a door  More prefab objects – e.g torches instead lamps, stony doors instead wooden doors, etc.  More than one question for unlocking a door  Text decorations specified in the XML document  Collecting hidden objects and placing them on specific places  Sounds for events like unlock/open/close a door, find a hidden object, etc.  Interactive map showing the current player location in the maze  More …?  Other application of the ball games – e.g. a game ordering the balls in a line  Using the platform for other case studies, with greater number of participants September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 45DIPP'2017
  46. 46. CONCLUSIONS  The market space of both entertainment and applied video games entertainment games and applied will continue to grow in next years  The impact of serious video games will be higher thanks to their synergy of story, art and technological achievements including affective and adaptive gameplay.  Applied maze games for cultural heritage will be used more and more for immersive cultural presentation, teaching, assessment and training  Open and free gaming platforms will be a must September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 46DIPP'2017
  47. 47. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION!  Questions?  Proposals!  Remarks…  Doubts  Congrats  Donations$  Sth else®  Boyan Bontchev, September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 47DIPP'2017
  48. 48. GAMES CREATE ILLUSIONS BUT ARE REALITY September 9, Burgas, Bulgaria 48DIPP'2017