Teaching Game
Design with Inform7
Douglas Kiang @dkiang
Today
Interactive Fiction (IF) and Inform7!
• What?!
• How to create & assess!
• Our experiences in the classroom!
• Other...
Once upon a time...
There was a teacher in a 4th grade classroom
who needed to engage his students in practicing
and learn...
What’s the appeal?
You get to be involved in the story and make choices
along the way. You can re-read the story, making
d...
Power of 3
Story Game
Technology
It's a story!It's a game!
It's both!
play A-221
http://
tinyurl.com/
n4k69tf
What is Inform7?
Inform 7 is a 'natural language' programming
language that makes it easy for even those brand new
to prog...
Inform 6 Inform 7
‘Natural’?
old
Inform 6 Inform 7
new
9-year olds

new to
programming
played IFs
first
started
creating their
own!
played IFs
first
Word Room Command
/ Description
Variant
accustom anywhere wear hat accustomed
assign Room 302 ask Professor Bacon
about so...
started
creating their
own!
• start with story!
• KISS: 1•2•3, one character, two
rooms, three objects!
• create a map of your world!
• Write the code...
It all starts with a story and a map...
You’re a robot in a space
station and you need to
find the supply room to
replace y...
user-friendly error messages
Please! Be kind to yourself!
• Learning Inform is like learning any
new language. It takes time.
• Everyone gets error mes...
Polish and Publish
• Dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s, grammar and
spelling, cover art!
• Can players figure out what they...
Students
• Ability to create stories that play like a
game using technology
• Social: read, play, share with others
• Thei...
Teachers
• Encourage your reluctant readers!
and writers!
• No plagiarism! Code sharing, yes!!
• Project-based & Student-c...
review of game design steps
1) Play IF’s!
2) Organize...!
• Your thoughts: What’s your story?!
• Your world: Map it!!
3) W...
Play Testing
• First 10 min.!
• Tester plays the game!
• Says thought process out loud.!
• Author takes notes!
• Author is...
“A book can show you a new world,
interactive fiction puts you in that world.”
History
research
You are a doctor of the future. You have been micronized and
injected into a cell of a human who is very sick. All around
...
“The coolest looking hat...” (from A Day for Spelling)
You see an old weatherbeaten door
with a tarnished brass knocker.!
!
>_
cross curricular
• core subjects!
• mapping = math, social studies/geography!
• story = spelling/language arts!
• simulati...
other educational
objectives met
• collaboration: working together!
• problem-solving!
• planning and project management!
...
Assessment?
• Code or content?
Assessment?
Complete
Compiles
Commented
Effective
Efficient
high school
• programming class!
• made games for the 4th graders to play!
• nice cross grade activity
One more time...why
interactive fiction?
• innately appealing: Story/Game/
Technology!
• blank slate, it is what you want i...
Inform7 website
Zoom
zblorb player (no code)
Inform
code editor (code visible)
Brendan Desilets’s site
Inform for Students wiki
http://ifdb.tads.org
So now you know...
Interactive Fiction (IF) and Inform7!
• What?!
• How to create & assess!
• Our experiences in the class...
resources
Images, Materials, and Websites referenced in this presentation
• Snood Slide http://snoodworld.com/	

• Mii cre...
other places to go to find out about interactive fiction in schools
The Haunted School on Horror Hill: A Case Study of Inter...
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7
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Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7

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Designing a good game involves sketching and storyboarding, storytelling and testing. Inform7 is a free tool that allows kids to create text-based adventure games using a programming language that is easy to learn and understand. Discover how we used Inform7 with fourth graders and high schoolers, implementing a game design framework modeled after the real world, to engage them in a rich design process that promoted deep learning and understanding.

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Interactive Fiction and Game Design Using Inform7

  1. 1. Teaching Game Design with Inform7 Douglas Kiang @dkiang
  2. 2. Today Interactive Fiction (IF) and Inform7! • What?! • How to create & assess! • Our experiences in the classroom! • Other examples! Game Design! • Basic game design steps to follow in creating IF’s using Inform7 !
  3. 3. Once upon a time... There was a teacher in a 4th grade classroom who needed to engage his students in practicing and learning their vocabulary/spelling words...! ! so he invited Interactive Fiction into the classroom! ! ...and started on a game design adventure. So what is interactive fiction?
  4. 4. What’s the appeal? You get to be involved in the story and make choices along the way. You can re-read the story, making different choices and see how those decisions change the story, what happens to you and where you end up. Student Teacher Students need to pay attention and think about what they have read, because they are going to have to make a decision based on that information...a decision that affects the rest of their experience with the story.
  5. 5. Power of 3 Story Game Technology It's a story!It's a game! It's both!
  6. 6. play A-221 http:// tinyurl.com/ n4k69tf
  7. 7. What is Inform7? Inform 7 is a 'natural language' programming language that makes it easy for even those brand new to programming to create their very own interactive fiction.! ! !
  8. 8. Inform 6 Inform 7 ‘Natural’?
  9. 9. old
  10. 10. Inform 6 Inform 7
  11. 11. new
  12. 12. 9-year olds
 new to programming played IFs first started creating their own!
  13. 13. played IFs first
  14. 14. Word Room Command / Description Variant accustom anywhere wear hat accustomed assign Room 302 ask Professor Bacon about something assign alert anywhere open spell book budge 1st Floor Foyer take cauldron burly 2nd Floor Hallway x student companion 1st Floor Hallway x cat compatible Outside Castle Hall x Ron concept Room 302 ask Hermione about something concepts distract Outside Castle Hall x Ron jostle 1st Floor Landing 1st Floor Foyer room description reach inside cauldron jostled jostles obedient Room 302 x Professor Bacon disobedient obstacle 3rd Floor Hallway x Room 301 patient Hallway by Foyer enter office patiently pedestrian 3rd Floor Landing 2nd Floor Landing x window x window pedestrians pedestrians retire Room 302 x Professor Bacon played IFs first
  15. 15. started creating their own!
  16. 16. • start with story! • KISS: 1•2•3, one character, two rooms, three objects! • create a map of your world! • Write the code (source text)
 • share (beta test) and revise cycle
 • polish and publish Game Design started creating their own!
  17. 17. It all starts with a story and a map... You’re a robot in a space station and you need to find the supply room to replace your batteries before they run out. You’re a player stuck in the desert. You must find your outpost and mine for diamonds. You’re a gummy bear from District 12. You are in the Candy Games and need to survive against all the other gummy bears to win. You’re a princess in a rundown castle. You are cursed and must break the curse before it possesses you! started creating their own!
  18. 18. user-friendly error messages
  19. 19. Please! Be kind to yourself! • Learning Inform is like learning any new language. It takes time. • Everyone gets error messages. • The more you practice, the better you’ll get at writing with Inform7.
  20. 20. Polish and Publish • Dot your ‘i’s and cross your ‘t’s, grammar and spelling, cover art! • Can players figure out what they need to do? Does your IF ‘make sense’?! • Descriptions and responses to possible actions ! • Is the IF ‘winnable’?! • Advice: So it’s not obvious you’re a n00b or How to polish up your Inform7 game and avoid the most common first timer mistakes.
  21. 21. Students • Ability to create stories that play like a game using technology • Social: read, play, share with others • Their IF can be anything they want it to be • Can and do continue outside of class
  22. 22. Teachers • Encourage your reluctant readers! and writers! • No plagiarism! Code sharing, yes!! • Project-based & Student-centered! ! • Beta testing is also a way to do collaborative peer review • Cross-curricular!
  23. 23. review of game design steps 1) Play IF’s! 2) Organize...! • Your thoughts: What’s your story?! • Your world: Map it!! 3) Write the code! 4) Beta test & revise cycle! 5) Polish & Publish! ! “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”! A.A. Milne, Winne the Pooh
  24. 24. Play Testing • First 10 min.! • Tester plays the game! • Says thought process out loud.! • Author takes notes! • Author is silent! No help or hints!! • Next 10 min.! • Author interviews Tester and asks questions e.g.,! • “What made you examine the wall..?”! • “Did you ever think about using the axe..?”
  25. 25. “A book can show you a new world, interactive fiction puts you in that world.”
  26. 26. History
  27. 27. research
  28. 28. You are a doctor of the future. You have been micronized and injected into a cell of a human who is very sick. All around you are the different parts that make a cell function properly. But something’s wrong here! Your mission is to find out what is wrong and fix it before time runs out... for you and your patient.! ! Inside Cell! >_ Science
  29. 29. “The coolest looking hat...” (from A Day for Spelling)
  30. 30. You see an old weatherbeaten door with a tarnished brass knocker.! ! >_
  31. 31. cross curricular • core subjects! • mapping = math, social studies/geography! • story = spelling/language arts! • simulations = history/science! • programming = thinking logically = math! • art = cover art, maps
  32. 32. other educational objectives met • collaboration: working together! • problem-solving! • planning and project management! • giving and receiving feedback! • individual expression and creativity! • revising work to achieve a polished product
  33. 33. Assessment? • Code or content?
  34. 34. Assessment? Complete Compiles Commented Effective Efficient
  35. 35. high school • programming class! • made games for the 4th graders to play! • nice cross grade activity
  36. 36. One more time...why interactive fiction? • innately appealing: Story/Game/ Technology! • blank slate, it is what you want it to be ! • cross-curricular! • FREE
  37. 37. Inform7 website
  38. 38. Zoom zblorb player (no code) Inform code editor (code visible)
  39. 39. Brendan Desilets’s site
  40. 40. Inform for Students wiki
  41. 41. http://ifdb.tads.org
  42. 42. So now you know... Interactive Fiction (IF) and Inform7! • What?! • How to create & assess! • Our experiences in the classroom! • Other examples! Game Design! • Basic game design steps to follow in creating IF’s using Inform7 !
  43. 43. resources Images, Materials, and Websites referenced in this presentation • Snood Slide http://snoodworld.com/ • Mii created using Nintendo Wii • ChooseYour Own Adventure:TheThrone of Zeus by Deborah Lerme Goodman and Million Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatten • Images from Kidspiration software by Inspiration Software, Inc. • Inform7 IF: A-221 by Brendan Desilets • Inform6 code sample, http://www.inform-fiction.org/examples/Museum/Museum_2_4.html • Smiley face icon, http://www.smiley-faces.org/ • Inform7 IF: A Riddle by Brendan Desilets • Cycle icon, http://whartonmagazine.com/issues/spring-2012-2/15458-2/ • Screen shots of code from A Mission in the Forum by Jeremiah McCall • Screen shot of Roman Clothing page, http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/clothing.html • Animal Cell image from Biology, ed. Miller and Levine, Prentice Hall, 2006 • Screen shots of 1893:AWorld’s Fair Mystery DemoVersion, http://www.illuminatedlantern.com/?page_id=106 • Screen shot from Google image search • Screen shot from http://gamingthepast.net/ by Jeremiah McCall • Screen shots from inform7.com/ and the documentation included in the Inform7 software • Screen shot Teaching and Learning with Interactive Fiction, http://if1.home.comcast.net/~if1/ by Brendan Desilets • Screen shot Inform for Students wiki, http://informforstudents.wikispaces.com/ by Mary R. Kiang • Thank you to the students of Mr. Schwengel’s 4th grade class and Mr. Kiang’s Intro to Computer Science class, 2011-2012 for their enthusiasm, creativity, and hard work creating Interactive Fiction using Inform7! • Thank you to Graham Nelson for creating Inform7 and thanks to the whole Inform online community for all their guidance and support.
  44. 44. other places to go to find out about interactive fiction in schools The Haunted School on Horror Hill: A Case Study of Interactive Fiction in an Elementary Classroom, Shawn Graham! ! http://carleton-ca.academia.edu/SMGraham/Papers/602644/ The_Haunted_School_on_Horror_Hill_A_Case_Study_of_Interactive_Fiction_in_ an_Elementary_Classroom They find that the process of creating the game helped improve literary and social skills amongst the students. The creation and playing of the game had enormous positive benefits for increased literacy skill. It also had the pleasant side effect of fostering class unity and improving the social skills of the students as they worked together to create the game. Benefits In terms of literacy benefits, the game/story/interactive fiction makes a virtue out of what is often a frustrating aspect of the computer: it responds to exactly what you have typed or commanded, and not what you intended. The story cannot progress if even one letter is mistyped (although it can be  programmed to respond with helpful hints when common mistakes are made). This requires that students take their time and repeatedly spell high frequency words perfectly. In addition, playing the game is fun so reading, which for many of these students is a very frustrating, unrewarding experience, became fun. Creating and playing the game placed the students in a leadership role. Students wanted to help each other  within the group setting, so that they could complete the story and play the game. The stronger students helped the weaker students to spot and understand errors of grammar. When presenting and playing the game, the older students helped the younger students to understand the story and move the narrative forward. They also helped the younger students to read each section and spell words correctly ! As one of the students said about regular computer games after the project was over, “y’know, sometimes, graphics get in the way.” Edutech wiki entry on interactive fiction http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/ en/Interactive_fiction Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling,Teaching IF, http:// emshort.wordpress.com/ how-to-play/teaching-if/ ! IF to Learn with... http://ifdb.tads.org/viewlist? id=pq5ep1nc1nnkfw • Playing, Studying and Writing Interactive Fiction (Text Adventure Games) , Dennis G. Jerz, http:// jerz.setonhill.edu/if/

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