Serious Game Development Secrets - What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? - Designing Digitally, Inc.

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Serious games and gamification are all the buzz in our industry. But do they actually provide a return on investment? Read more to learn about Serious Game Development Best Practices.

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Serious Game Development Secrets - What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? - Designing Digitally, Inc.

  1. 1. SERIOUS GAME SECRETS What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc. Andrew Hughes President Designing Digitally, Inc.
  2. 2. SERIOUS GAMES – WHY? Why Serious Games? Serious games and gamification are all the buzz in our industry. But do they actually provide a return on investment? What do they do for our training needs: • They can engage an ever immersed workforce • They can make learning fun, rather than a requirement • They can Engage the socializers in your organization • They provide a sugary approach to the bad tasting cough medicine We must stop looking at ROI and look at ROE! Return on Engagement! Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  3. 3. SERIOUS GAMES – WHAT IS NOT? • A Serious Game is not: • Badges • Trophies • Leader Boards • Themes • Gamification Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  4. 4. SERIOUS GAMES – WHAT? • A serious game or applied game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. The "serious" adjective is generally prepended to refer to products used by industries like defense, education, scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, city planning, engineering, and politics. Other names used in the industry: • Game-Based Learning • Edutainment Games • Learning Games Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  5. 5. SERIOUS GAMES – WHAT? There are key items that make up a good serious game. While there are many other components we can discuss, this is an overview of must have list to make any game successful. COMPONTENTS TO A GOOD GAME: • Continuous Challenges • Interesting Storyline throughout • Flexibility of attaining goals with multiple outcomes • Immediate, consistent and useful rewards • Combining Fun and Learning together • Tracking Player Data and Trends - Analytics Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  6. 6. SERIOUS GAMES – WHAT? Continuous Challenge: Provide the players continuous challenges at each level of the game that then leads to another challenge, to keep them "hooked" on playing a game. • The setting is clear, short-term goals • Appropriate challenges to the level of the player • Learn your audience and their motivational factors • Level challenges aimed at achieving a learning objective Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  7. 7. SERIOUS GAMES – WHAT? Interesting Storyline throughout: This isn't essential to every kind of game (for example, not for a scavenger hunt), especially when players are competing against each other. However, a good storyline can liven up the experience and provide the player with a sense of wonder. • Used best when applying single player experiences • Leave the player with a sense of wonder and mystery • Use the storyline throughout the game to entice • Fantasy context makes players more motivated to succeed Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  8. 8. EFFECTIVE STORYLINE EXAMPLE
  9. 9. SERIOUS GAMES – WHAT? Gameplay Flexibility: Make sure that there are many different ways to accomplish each goal. Simply plotting out a step-by-step progression through the goals can be stifling and boring. • Encourage branching outcomes and multiplayer collaboration • Allow for players to work out their own pathway to the endpoint • Create level appropriate challenges and motivation • Provide multiple approaches to achieve learning objectives Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  10. 10. SERIOUS GAMES – WHAT? Immediate, useful rewards: Instead of just points towards victory, successful players (or the pieces or characters they're in charge of) can be rewarded with new capabilities, a new part of the board to explore or even a new task. • Provide immediate rewards to spark encouragement • Provide badges for status and achievement • Create level appropriate rewards without making it too easy • Unlock additional features, levels, and tools while playing • NOTE: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction - Newton’s 3rd law applies to games! Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  11. 11. Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  12. 12. SERIOUS GAMES – WHAT? Combining Fun and Realism: Excessive realism can lead to a boring game. Good games often incorporate incorrect assumptions or reward unrealistic behaviors, such as giving players too much time to make decisions. • Make the game fun! Fun must be a metric! • Don’t replicate exact realism, that’s a simulation! • A game doesn’t do everything for everyone, focus on the issue • Use exaggeration, and reaction to show impact not mimic real life • If it’s real and exactly like real life, it’s a simulation not a game! Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  13. 13. SERIOUS GAMES – WHERE? Where is branching used? Many times serious games are looked at as branching scenario experiences. There are many different types of scenario systems that can be created. • Linear Game Play: • Similar to your presentation e-learning modules. One entrance and exit point. • Linear stories have one major advantage over all other story structures: it is easy to apply traditional storytelling techniques, which have been developed over thousands of years. Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  14. 14. SERIOUS GAMES – WHERE? Where is branching used? Many times serious games are looked at as branching scenario experiences. There are many different types of scenario systems that can be created. • Branching Game Play: • This can be very expensive for making all outcomes • Branching stories have the advantage of being interactive. If you include a sufficiently large number of choices. Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  15. 15. SERIOUS GAMES – WHERE? Where is branching used? Many times serious games are looked at as branching scenario experiences. There are many different types of scenario systems that can be created. • Parallel Gameplay: • Branching that collapses in on itself, player can make choices but eventually land into several mandatory events. • Keeps the advantage of player decisions while still keeping the total amount of story manageable. • Since the player is forced into certain events, the entire plot arc turns essentially linear again. Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  16. 16. SERIOUS GAMES – WHERE? Where is branching used? Many times serious games are looked at as branching scenario experiences. There are many different types of scenario systems that can be created. • Threaded Gameplay: • Can provide a game experience is that it is extremely expressive. You can have multiple storylines happening concurrently that overlap • Multiple beginnings and middles and endings, but testing out all possible paths through the story can get costly Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  17. 17. SERIOUS GAMES – WHERE? Where is branching used? Many times serious games are looked at as branching scenario experiences. There are many different types of scenario systems that can be created. • Dynamic Object-Oriented Gameplay: • There are several mini-stories, each with potentially several entry points and exit points • There’s still the forced-replay problem: a player must play many times to see all of the story paths. This is also the most time consuming to create and test. Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  18. 18. SERIOUS GAMES – WHERE? Where do you implement a serious game? What content works?: Often times this question is asked, and there is no direct and correct answer. It’s a matter of making sure that game mechanics are built that will compliment the need for player training. Tips below will help understand that: • The game must be easy to get started! Make sure your game is easy to use. • Games, even serious ones, must be fun to play • Make the game directly beneficial to your employees • Competition and collaboration is key to engagement • Stay away from presenting information and focus on experiences • Always start with a PILOT project! Test out the audience Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  19. 19. SERIOUS GAMES – WHERE? Where does the time go?: serious games take much longer to plan, develop, and test than any e-learning experience or even gamification experience. What to do to help expedite the effort: • Scope – Even though you want to build a game, doesn’t mean you can! Hire an experienced SERIOUS GAME company! • Create prototypes to get an understanding of the audience • It will take 1.5x more time! if it’s not linear, it’s complicated • Choose a genre and mechanics that drive engagement • Plan your project without a hard deadline, • You must allocate time for focus groups and evolution/revisions! Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  20. 20. SERIOUS GAMES – WHERE? Where do I start?: Always start with the planning phase. Make sure you have a good sense of the goals, and what is interesting to the audience. Here are some first steps and things to think about: • Set clear ROE goals! • Remember that YOU ARE NOT THE TARGET AUDIENCE! • Build a detailed Design Document to outline the whole game • Choose a game genre that appeals to the audience • Align your learning objectives with the game level outcomes • Get a focus group together to talk about your design document • Refine, revise, discuss, refine, revise, discuss, approve… now start the build! Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  21. 21. SERIOUS GAMES – HOW? How do I choose a theme?: Many people get hooked on the theme of the game and do not focus on the mechanics of the game. Always focus on the mechanics and remember the theme is a lure for people, nothing more. • Focus more on Game Mechanics and less on theme • Choose a theme that appeals to the audience • Remember that the theme and the mechanics are always separate of each other • You can do a puzzle game with Candy or Jewels, it doesn’t matter! • It’s all about the theme at first and engagement depends on the mechanics! Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  22. 22. SERIOUS GAMES – HOW? How do I know which game engine to use?: When looking to create a serious game the engine is important, but what is most important is the delivery of the serious game. Focus on the following when looking at the game engines: • Do I have time to build this myself? • What does this need to be deployed on? • What are the costs associated with the game engine? • Does it really need to be 3D? Could we do it 2D? • How much support and following does the engine have? • Do we have the talent to make this at the quality desired? Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  23. 23. SERIOUS GAMES – HOW? How do I track my player progress?: Make sure in your design document you’ve outlined your metrics and what goals you want to attain to be able to know what you’re tracking. • Does player loyalty matter? YES! • How long does a player interact daily? • What are players doing within the game? Why? • Do they interact with other players? How? • Are players meeting learning objectives? • Is knowledge being retained using this medium? • What must be know about the players? • SCORM IS NOT THE ANSWER – xAPI/TinCan or custom tracking is best Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  24. 24. SERIOUS GAMES – HOW? How do I make my project a success?: Try to follow these best practices: • Use Agile & ADDIE methods when creating the serious game • Cross reference content with game mechanics • Determine objectives and measurements before development • Create reward systems using learning goals • Emphasize a behavior change in your players • Create multiple endings for outcomes • Implement mechanics, rewards, and encourage engagement • Develop in sprints and version control all sprints! • Play, test, revise, play, test revise… Repeat that step 100x! Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  25. 25. SERIOUS GAMES – HOW? How do I ensure it’s a long term success?: Try to follow these best practices: • What are your metrics? How are you showing ROE? • How will you internally market this serious game? • What constitutes as a success to you? • How will you nurture this serious game? • Don’t use money for rewards, use status! • Use external reward systems in line with internal rewards • If you build, you must play! – Be a leader and an adapter Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc.
  26. 26. ANY QUESTIONS? Serious Game Secrets: What, Why, Where, How, Who Cares? – Andrew Hughes – Copyright © 2015 – Designing Digitally, Inc. Andrew Hughes President Designing Digitally, Inc. Andrew.hughes@designingdigitally.com 1-866-316-9126 Andrew Hughes Professor University of Cincinnati Andrew.hughes@uc.edu 1-513-360-8042

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