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luminous:ecological_games

Educational/ecological games

Notes from a session held at the Luminous Green Retreat, 29th of April 2007

Angelo Vermeulen

Examples

Different types of educational games:

  • short (Flash) games: viral nature through internet distribution, disadvantage: oversimplification of the actual problems
  • more complex games: most NGOs prefer this, disadvantage: should not be overdidactical
  • virtual worlds (Second Life): games but also protests etc.
  • physical games, extra games
Question: not everyone plays games, isn’t that a problem?
Not really, games simply address a gamer audience which is a large 'target' group

Tools for creating educational games:

  • modding as an interesting option: advantage: known game environment, disadvantage: hard to twist into a completely different experience
  • Flash is not available for Linux
  • Processing (programming language) offers interesting possibilities

Good educational games only come out of teams with an adequate combination of different skills: apart from educators, people with a good understanding of gameplay and game culture are also needed; they need not necessarily to be aware of the specific issues addressed in the game.

Project Bart:

  • Darfour live role playing game with different types of characters, objects and possible interactions
  • even for 16 year olds, the game was rather complex
  • the youngest participants never wanted to pick up the role of victim
  • there was a lack of knowledge about the actual conflict
  • the included book and cd-rom were too elaborate
  • suggested solution: create two games, an intro game providing information, and a second game reflecting the actual complexity

Project Tapio:

  • India
  • video arcades with a lot of broken machines
  • use these to program new games with local content
  • collaborating with local programmers#

Promising prospects:

  • extra games: games incorporating activities in the real world (running, GPS locations etc.)
  • ecology in games: day/night cycles, animal behavior, etc. (STALKER)

Some factors that make an educational game successful:

  • compose a TEAM with different skills, include game enthousiasts, preferably also people without knowledge of the specific problem
  • decide from the onset what TYPE of game you want to make
  • AESTHETICS are very important, often most of the time is taken up by content creation and visuals are rather generic
  • easy LEARNING of the game mechanics, quick intro, can become more complex during the course of the game
  • good REWARDING system, gratifying, could be a score but also a visual
  • concise but adequate BACKGROUND information
  • BUZZ (people talking about it), viral (= not necessarily the same)
  • “Rules of Play”, Katie Salen & Eric Zimmerman, reader on all sorts of games and gameplay
luminous/ecological_games.txt · Last modified: 2008/01/22 05:46 (external edit)