The experiment I ran on the last game prototype demonstrated that some type of substantial learning did take place through the experiences that students had while playing the game. Developing the game, however, also revealed some problems in the workflow. As I am currently a one-person show, getting a firm grasp on the modeling and game development tools proved a bit of a challenge. Especially since I am self-taught on all of them (Unity, Blender, GIMP, Audacity and MonoDevelop). I am currently working through the Unity Tutorials and the Unity Stealth Project in order to get more familiar with Unity. Other tutorials in Unity and Blender will follow.
I also felt that I could read more about the process of designing a game, which brought me to The Art of Game Design and the 100 Lenses through which the process can be viewed. Since this is a research blog and a way for me to sketch rough ideas and document progress, I thought maybe it would be useful to revision the DigiBahn Project through these lenses. Should make for an interesting way to see the project in a new light.
1: The Lens of Essential Experience
The experience I would like players of the next game prototype to have would replicate the type of confusion that one has when abroad for the first time in a foreign county and is forced to rely on an academic knowledge of the language and culture to solve real-world problems. Although stressful, this type of experience is critical as it requires the student to reflect on what he has learned and to experiment with it in order to apply it towards a solution of the current problem. Knowledge is therefore not just abstract and mental, but rather emerges from interaction with the environment, people in the environment, and site-specific language usage. It is more grounded in the real-world. I hope that allowing students to overcome these challenges in a game setting will equip them with the confidence and tools to handle them in a real-world setting. In sum, that they develop a mindset that allows them to play with complex systems and look for solutions to problems that arise from these systems.
Questions I should look at include:
1. What is most confusing for students when they are abroad for the first time?
2. What sociocultural differences could be confusing?
3. How could the physical experience be confusing?
4. How can level-specific language be layered onto the game experiences?
5. How can this confusion be scaffolded so as not to overwhelm the player?
6. How can this confusion be scaffolded so as not to disrupt game flow?
7. How can game tasks be developed based on these above points?