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10 Game Design Principles for the Next 10 Years

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Presented at The Children's Media Conference, July 4, 2013.

In an era of ever evolving technology, how are designers and media creators to keep up with the best practices for children’s interactive entertainment? Luckily for us, some things are universal, no matter what the platform or when the time they are applied. This session explores game design principles and the developmental psychology behind them, providing attendees with a foundation of kid-focused good design that will always ring true… even as far as 2023.

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10 Game Design Principles for the Next 10 Years

  1. 1. 10 Game Design Principles for the Next 10 Years Carla Fisher, Ed.D. No Crusts Interactive
  2. 2. But isn’t claiming to know the future as much a faux pas as comic sans on your business cards?
  3. 3. Luckily, some things are constant.
  4. 4. Kids are different from adults. Cognitively and physically. © Pragmagraphr
  5. 5. © epSos.de
  6. 6. 1. Look for inspiration in inappropriate places everywhere
  7. 7. 2. Foster dialogic play
  8. 8. vs
  9. 9. Hundreds
  10. 10. 3. Practice dual-premise game design
  11. 11. “Girlfriend modes”
  12. 12. Super Mario Galaxy
  13. 13. 4. Scaffold
  14. 14. 2
  15. 15. Zone of Proximal Development • Pair players together based on unequal abilities. – The more capable tugs the other along, encouraging reaching the next level © State Records NSW
  16. 16. What I can do What I can do with help What I can’t do Zone of Proximal Development Wash hands Pour milk into bowl Put cookies in ovenPour pre-measured ingredients Sift flour Measure ingredients Measure ingredients Eat cookies (and dough) Roll out cookie dough Decorate cookies Read recipe
  17. 17. Scaffolding • In a classroom, the teacher – grabs the student’s attention – creates and adjusts the task – provides encouragement and motivation – highlights task features that are most relevant to the learning goals and the student’s abilities – adjusts the task to moderate frustration – models and demonstrates the task where needed © nathanrussell
  18. 18. Typical Educational Game Scaffold • 1st wrong  Encourage the player to try again • 2nd wrong  Play short hint • 3rd wrong  Highlight correct answer
  19. 19. Alternative Scaffolding MotionMath
  20. 20. Sid’s Science Fair
  21. 21. Motion Math Zoom
  22. 22. 5. Embrace data.
  23. 23. U.S. Census Bureau
  24. 24. http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/
  25. 25. The Eyeballing Game The Eyeballing Game
  26. 26. Perfect Slice
  27. 27. 6. Provide real-time, contextualized feedback
  28. 28. Real-Time Feedback • Feedback loop between student & teacher, often with technology • Teacher strategy to review student work repeatedly and adjusting the instruction accordingly • Variations include – Just in Time Instruction – Computer-Assisted Instruction © nSeika
  29. 29. Parent dashboards and progress reporting
  30. 30. Plants vs Zombies
  31. 31. Accumulate 8,000 sun during a single level.
  32. 32. 7. Use achievements to motivate new ways of playing
  33. 33. 8. Be different.
  34. 34. Standing Out • Avoid crowded content areas unless you’re really, truly, completely, 100% different – or have a ton of money – or are Disney  • Do your homework to find gaps in the market
  35. 35. 9. Create distributed learning opportunities
  36. 36. 10. Test early. Test often. Adjust. Repeat.
  37. 37. 11. Foster discovery and curiosity.
  38. 38. MyRobotFriend
  39. 39. Scribblenauts
  40. 40. Minecraft
  41. 41. Minecraft.Print()
  42. 42. Makey Makey
  43. 43. Thanks! • carla@NoCrusts.com • @NoCrusts • Kids Got Game blog on Kidscreen.com

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