Thursday, December 06, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
"...of the few lucky games that make it to master and end up on shelves, far fewer still are given the time or money or attention to design that they need to succeed. I've heard that only 30% of games in development ever ship, and that 60-80% of those lose money."
Monday, October 01, 2007
...their favorite part of the game was the library! They mentioned how helpful
the librarian character was and how rich the information resources were. If this
kind of appreciation of a virtual space could translate to off-line behavior and
use of the library, this would be a wonderful unintended outcome of the game.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
I finally got around to providing brief overviews and some thoughts on the sessions at GLS held in Madison Wisconsin, July 12-13. You can find them stashed at Liblaureate.
If you're looking for notes from some of the sessions you can find them at The Shifted Librarian, July 12 and July 13. Also check out more comments at Tidbits of Interest.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I recently had a chance to meet with and listen to University of Calgary librarians, Chris Thomas and Jerremie Clyde, who presented their ongoing work and research into game-based learning at the University of Waterloo. For their game "Hard Play" they have selected the game engine from HalfLife 2 to keep it engaging and immersive. Chris and Thomas emphasized the importance of first looking at game-play when building a game. The next important aspect should be the narrative. Once these elements have been established, learning goals can be looked at. It has to be fun first if it is to work at all. The modding community surrounding HalfLife is quite substantial and this has been a big help for Chris & Jerremie. They have developed various rooms thus far that look eerily similar to their library in a not-so-distant dystopic future. When staff were shown the game screenshots they immediatley recognized various spaces in the library. Chris & Jerremie are tapping into the web 2.0 principle by sharing all that they learn as they continue to build "Hard Play". I'm looking forward to watching it progress. Follow along with them here: http://www.ucalgary.ca/hardplay/
Monday, May 14, 2007
FYI for those interested - Jerremie and I have created a website for HardPlay, which is our research into modifying a first person point of view, action adventure commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) game to evaluate the effectiveness of digital game based learning for transforming undergraduate students into information literate researchers. You can find it at http://www.ucalgary.ca/hardplay/
Monday, May 07, 2007
Tammy Allgood , Digital Delivery and Design Librarian at ASU at the West campus
Bee Gallegos, Librarian, Lower Division Coordinator at ASU at the West campus
Karen Grondin, Library Specialist at ASU at the West campus
Last week at the LOEX conference in San Diego, the librarians from Arizona State University presented on their game Quarantined. This spring was their first semester using the game in a classroom and they have feedback from student use during classes.
Unfortunately, they described the feedback as "kind of depressing" and found that the students are "not learning what they thought they would." Although the feedback from the students was not as positive as they hoped, I believe they close to having a game that meets some of their objectives.
Try the game out for yourself - Quarantined (username: loex; password: 2007). The trial will be up for about 3 weeks.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Matthew Weise spoke at GDC this past March about using commercial off the shelf (COTS) games for education. Weise created the game Revolution, while he was at MIT. I spoke in detail with Matt after GDC last month about his experience and insights for others looking to create educational games.
Revolution - Reflections from Matthew Weise
The first part of the interview focused on his design and creation of the game.
The main goal of the project was to create a believable simulation of colonial Williamsburg. Learning in the game did not come as a result of packaged content delivered in the game, it came through playing. Video games help teach history, not as a narrative, but as a process.The second part of the interview covers the hurdles and challenges they encountered using a COTS game engine. The final part of the interview includes Matt's philosophy on educational games:
Weise cautioned not to make video games the “medicine in the apple sauce.”Matt also gave some tips for others looking to get started, including let the game engine help dictate the learning objectives and give the project time.
Matt's comments tie in nicely to the previous discussions from January on this site. You can view Matthew Weise's powerpoint slides from GDC... here.
Here is the abstract of their presentation:
Hard Play: Digital Game Based Learning and Information Literacy
The ability of Digital Game Based Learning to motivate, to engage and to shape the learner's thinking makes games an attractive choice for eLearning. Using a compelling narrative and entertaining game play, libraries can immerse learners in situations that allow them to use research tools and resources in complex problem solving. The presenters will introduce the theory and potential of digital game based learning and its relevance to libraries. They will discuss their ongoing research into modifying a first person point of view, action adventure commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) game to evaluate the effectiveness of digital game based learning for transforming undergraduate students into information literate researchers.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Thanks Scott & Amy!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
In keeping with our ongoing discussion on using game engines (orignial or commerical), there is a nice piece over at Serious Games Source. They posted a comparison on a variety of game engine that can be used to make educational games. The first few are pretty are pricey as professional engines, but around page 3 the price starts to come down. Even Neverwinter Nights gets a mention.
If you've been interested in our discussions here about other creating games or have an idea but not sure how to put it into code. This article is worthwhile. The comparision gave me a few other game engine ideas and provide techinical specifics on each.
I think the key is the spin-off learning activities that the students are required to do - they are still required to record their responses. Can a library mod transfer accomplish the same thing without curriculum support? Would students be AS interested if the long-term value was not easily recognizable?
"Altered Learning does just what is says on the tin. It provides effective alternative learning and teaching tools with the characteristics of a game, yet with the content of the traditional curriculum.
It’s a difficult balance to achieve but by modifying a commercial adventure game it has been done with great success.
It all began as an attempt to engage some rather reluctant learners. When teaching key skills in communication and application of number, learners much prefer to be sitting in front of a computer than a workbook, so a game was ingeniously devised that required the learners to learn by having to get through traps and pitfalls. The engine in the award winning Neverwinter Nights computer game had intricate coding incorporated in its programming so that the game produced a lot of the evidence for recognised KEY SKILL qualifications."
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Here are some of the other highlights of the report, from both the literature review and the case studies:
- While games for education and learning are often advocated, the assessment is limited.
- Games do help students reach learning objectives, but they are not always the same objectives as initially desired.
- Games, by themselves can only do so much, but with discussion & supplemental materials games are very successful in reaching the learning objectives
- Like any educational technology, video games should have clearly defined learning objectives.
- There needs to be a development of a "best practices" application for those educators looking to integrate games into their classrooms
Overall this is a good report for both those already involved in educational gaming (the case studies and bibliography are both worthy of follow up study) and those just starting to get interested in video games in education (the introduction, summary, and definitions are a good place to start).
There is also some discussion about the need to standardized the terminology and vocabulary for educational games and games for learning. The report states there is a variety of definitions between commercial and educational games, and thus creates confusion for both educators and students. I would argue that creating a separate vocabulary for educational games may end up isolating our games from the immersion and motivation of traditional mass market games. Give it a read and let me know what you think...
Check out the full report here.
Friday, February 09, 2007
In England, they've used the Half-Life mod to create DoomEd, a single-player first person shooter learning game that combines science and history with FPS action, taking players through the horror of bio-terrorism and WWII chemical experimentation gone wrong. It's aimed at high school students.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Levine, J. (2006). Gaming & libraries: Intersection of services. Library Technology Reports, 42(5)
If you've been working on developing a great game or are interested in discussing the gaming topic, a call has gone out for presenters for the next Gaming in Librabries Symposium:
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Info Game: http://library.austincc.edu/help/infogame/start.htm