2. Games in Education
• Games used as motivator (especially boys)
• extrinsic motivator
“ﬁnish your work and you can play”
• intrinsic motivator
• “since they like play, we’ll put learning
in their games!!”
13. Raph Koster
• Game Designer
• Ultima Online
• Star Wars Galaxies
• Theory of Fun for Game Design
16. Wil Wright
• Game Designer
• sim city
17. Will wright @ GDC2010
• Said that designing games is like building a
model of the universe. Playing a game is
like testing a world model and learning
from how it behaves.
• like a child playing with water or shapes.
19. • Neither Raph Koster or Wil Wright are
educational game developers - but they
have noticed the potential of games to
teach through modelling some aspect of
20. Kurt Squire
• Indeed, this kind of learning seems to be
something that games do particularly well
• Kurt Squire’s work with Civilization - just
by playing scenarios in this commercial
game, students gained a deep, meaningful
understanding of history
• not as a series of facts - but as patterns,
relationships - as a model of how history
22. David W Shaffer
• Similar idea - game models physics.
(Svarovski & Shaffer, 2006)
• By playing with it, students get a really deep
understanding of physics.
24. • Instead of separating the game from the
learning, it seems that one of the best ways
to teach through play is to have the game
model the learning outcomes.
• By playing with a simulation, students can
attain a deep learning experience.
25. GM Choccoli
• If games teach what games model, then we
can design game mechanics that model
• by doing that, we can create ‘genetically
• Broccolate? Choccoli?
26. • This puts an emphasis on the ‘game’ part of
educational game design.
• Educational game designers should
understand the game development process.
27. Designing Games
• Temping to jump straight to a scenario or
• but you can’t wholly trust your instincts
• what you ﬁnd enjoyable may not be
what your users ﬁnd enjoyable
28. Play styles
• There are different types of play
• Understanding your options can help you
ﬁnd ways to implement learning in game
mechanics AND ﬁnd ways to make your
game appeal to your audience
29. Huizina / Callois
• Games of competition & conﬂict
• Games of chance and fate
• Games of simulation and copying
• Games of vertigo & reckless abandon
30. User Centred Game Design
• You want your player to enjoy your game,
so you need to learn about your user
• what games do they like? (genre, play
• what music & movies do they like?
• what is important to them
• Work towards creating a persona
that represents your player.
31. • Proﬁle of your average player (Persona)
• Make it as real as you can.
• When yourself:designing your game, keep
• Would Nathan like this game?
• Would Nathan like this addition?
• 9 years old
32. Actual User Feedback
• Discussing game ideas with audience is crucial
• Having observations and interviews with
players during development is key to ensuring
that players will respond as you expect
33. Match LO’s to Mechanics
• Using user personae & understanding of
games and deep learning, model the
learning outcome using game mechanics
• Use narrative & story as framing devices
for game mechanics where possible
• European Commission project to improve
• One game - for young children was like Mario
• One game - for older children was a story-
• Used the above techniques to design
35. Detective Game
• Narrative / conceptual model based.
• Heavily inspired by the Phoenix Wright: Ace
• Players explore locations, looking for clues,
and speak to characters.
44. • Contact with bad microbes hurts the player
whereas good microbes can be stood on to
45. • When good and bad microbes come in
contact with each other, they kill each
other - showing the good microbe
protecting the body.
46. Older Children
• For the older children, we used the puzzle
structure of the detective game to create a
situation where a character had harmed his
body’s good microbes.
48. • Using dialogue, the player knows that the
Coach Beveridge character is sick.
• The player is talking to a girl called Allison
who tells the player that Coach Beveridge has
been taking her antibiotic pills.
• When the player confronts Coach Beveridge,
it emerges that he has killed his good bacteria
and that is why he is sick.
51. Some areas that worked
• Enjoyable - why?
• Platform game - good play-testing throughout
• levels tweaked to ﬁnd appropriate difﬁculty
• Didn’t ‘feel like’ an educational game
• Detective game - good stories / dialogue
• stories discussed with children before hand
52. • Teachers liked the games
• teacher involvement in conceptual stage
helped ensure their concerns were met
• rolled out to 10 EU countries, more coming
53. • High production values
• good team work / art / management in-house /
personal investment / communication
• Because of the internal art production, we
managed to get 2 man-years’ worth of
production from what would have been 3
months of outsourced work.
54. • Internationalisation
• technical solution that decentralised the
• allowed for cultural sensitivity
• allowed for variation in puzzle emphasis
• Google Spreadsheet used to coordinate.
• because the game was data driven, could
pretty much ‘save as’ the spreadsheet straight
into the game.
56. • Some positive knowledge change results
• in platform game, particular areas very
successful in short period of time (30
minutes of play covering multiple LOs)
• in detective game, some encouraging
results but not statistically signiﬁcant -
too many pupils already aware of correct
answer - need further study
57. Data Collection
• We used two methods of data collection
• The platform game had a built-in quiz show
that asked the players questions. Their
answers were automatically saved in a
• The detective game featured a pre and
• found many players post-game questionnaire did
not match their pre-game one
• name differences
• claimed to have played a different mission
• many players did not ﬁll out post-game
• having a questionnaire up front scares of players
• having mini-quizes at each stage of platform
game meant that even if a player left early,
we still got some data
• also we could validate and contextualise
data (identify player, level, what content
exposed to etc)
63. Some areas of difﬁculty
• Detective game did not get enough player
testing during development.
• before and after - but not during
implementation (3 month)
• didn’t paper-prototype
• a number of UI issues
• some conceptual issues causing difﬁculty
for some players
72. • Why would you need to use your phone to
speak to someone who is in the same
room as you?
• Why would you need to use your phone to
73. How could this happen?
• Phone metaphor was popular with children
pre-development, but we did not use UI
design best practice
74. How could we avoid?
• Paper prototype would have found that the
phone interface wasn’t meeting player
expectations before software development
• Use of cognitive walkthrough and other
established UI techniques could have
identiﬁed problems during early stages of
development - before any art or
75. Didn’t allow for player error
• If players accidentally clicked through a
dialogue without fully understanding it,
there was no way of getting that
• because the game is totally reliant on
players understanding this content, we
should have considered this.
• The Detective Game required some
actions from the player that were intended
to emulate the real-world investigation
practices of institutions like the UK’s
Health Protection Agency
• These were functionally unnecessary in
terms of game play and players found them