The thesis that I read, called Digital game-based learning: Towards an experiential gaming model, introduced a model to represent the way that we learn through educational games. Do not that this model and paper doesn’t explain the whole game design.
Using this model a game designer can pinpoint the parts of his game that still need more work. At the heart of the model we find the challenges (problems) without those we don’t have an educational game, we don’t even have a game.
The model suggests that we don’t learn a lot from answering multiple choice questions, but stresses the importance of a player being able to experiment with the objects in the world. For example, a game where a user needs to build a bridge with limited resources through AutoCAD to get to the other side of a canyon shouldn’t have one single solution. The player’s first three tries could fail, but the game would give feedback on where it went wrong. (where did the bridge collapse) The player would then use this information to create a bridge that is a bit stronger.
So where should an educational game designer put his attention on?
- Creating a real engaging challenging game. (without the educational part yet)
- Allow users to experiment with the objects in the world.
- Give enough feedback so that the player knows where he went wrong, or where he was right.
- Make the challenges balanced. (too challenging gives frustration, on the other hand not enough challenge leads to boredom)
- Provide clear goals.
The other part of the cycle (the upper part) is idea generation, which is something that happens mostly asynchronous from the game.
Writen byKristian Kiili, Tampere University of Technology, Pori, Pohjoisranta 11, P.O. Box 300, FIN-28101 Pori, Finland
Accepted on 1 December 2004
The paper I read is Fundamental Components of the Gameplay Experience: Analysing Immersion ,written by Laura Ermi and Frans Mäyrä from the University of Tampere (Finland) (2005). The paper can be found here.
In this paper the author starts by explaining why people enjoy playing games. To create a fun game there must be a equal balance between the level of challenge and the skill-level op the player. If the game is too hard it gets frustrated and if it’s too easy, it gets boring. The author creates a 3-level model to express why people enjoy playing computer-games.
- interactive input-output loop
- cyclic feelings of suspense and relief
- fascination of a temporary escape into another world
In the second part of the paper the author gives his view on ‘immersion‘. When a player immerses with a game he becomes physically or virtually a part of the experience itself. The author tries to link immersion while playing video-games with immersion while reading a books or watching a movie. He does this with an enquiry for gaming Finnish children and their parents. The results learn that immersion or gameplay-experience are multidimensional concepts.
- sensory immersion
- challenge-based immersion
- imaginative immersion
The first one is related to the audiovisual execution of games. The second one relates to the cyclic feelings of suspense and relief. The last one is related to the chanche that the game gives the player for using his imagination to identify with the game character/the plot.
I learned from the paper that game-balance is very important. The game can’t be too hard nor too easy. Some good visual graphics and soundtrack are a necessity if you want to maximize a player’s immersion. To stimulate his imaginative immersion you’ll need a strong storyline so the player has the feeling he’s temporary escaping into another world.
Starcraft 2 is not really a single player game but is focused on multiplayer.It is a real-time strategy game. There is a whole competition online and each player gets assigned to a level. (Bronze/silver/gold…/master)This system is developed for letting players compete with other opponents of the same skill-level. There are 3 ingame races which you can play and these are all very well balanced. What I like the most in the game? The online competition for sure. It’s a very competitive game and the level of play is very high. (even for starters) It’s also a game that is well known for its LAN-competition with cash-prices and some people even organize so called ‘barcrafts’. Barcrafts is just watching the online competition together with other people in a bar or pub.This shows the popularity of the game:D
The paper I chose to read is: Karl Bergström. 2010. The implicit rules of board games: on the particulars of the lusory agreement. In Proceedings of the 14th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments (MindTrek ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 86-93. It can be found here: click!
In this paper, the author explores the implicit rules that surround the playing of board games, in order to better understand gamers and gaming, as well as facilitate design. The paper describes the result of interviews with 11 experienced gamers. It describes a set of implicit rules commonly used, as well as possible points of discussion concerning these rules and how the players handle these.
Implicit rules are not part of the game itself, but of the social agreement between its players. They are often ambiguous, not shared by all players, often taken for granted and only verbalized when they are broken. The implicit rules in this paper are divided into three categories:
- Game-focused rules: closest to the game and directly related to the explicit rules. Don’t cause the most friction between gamers. Examples: taking back a move, always play to win/do your best, adhering to the spirit of the game, …
- Group-focused rules: these are more focused on the group of people playing and proper behavior while playing. These elicit more friction between players than the previous category. Examples: no early exit, no unacceptable whining on your position on the quality of the game during play, …
- Rules in between: these fall in between the group and the explicit rules and often concern the boundary of the magic circle (the social agreement between players when playing). These cause the most friction when they are broken. Examples: no taking revenge for outcome of previous game, no metagaming (e.g. threatening players with off-game consequences, favoritism, …), can rules be discussed during games or only afterwards, …
Depending on the category of the implicit rules, the consequences of breaking a rule can differ greatly. Game-focused rule breaches are generally solved by finding an agreement. Group-focused rules tend to more quickly lead to discussions, since some people tend to think that they are more “right” than others, which can lead to hard feelings. Finally, breaching the rules in between is seen as the worst transgressions, since this can lead to serious problems for the further enjoyment of the game. “Punishment” can vary from verbal remarks during/after the game, excluding players from future games or even outright termination of the current game.
I’ve learned from this paper that the implicit rules of a game should not be neglected compared to the explicit rules, when judging whether a game is fun to play. While explicit rules are generally not up for discussion, implicit rules often are. And the discussion that could ensue because of this, could have a great impact on the enjoyability of the game. Gaming is a social activity, so the human factor should also be taken into account during evaluation. It also follows that, knowing about these implicit rules, one should take them into account when designing a game and try to eliminate all ambiguities in the explicit rules that could lead to conflicts over implicit rules. Finally, the author made the interesting remark that digital games, especially now they are focussing more and more on multiplayer, also come with implicit rules, that if not followed, can spoil the experience. Examples of this are spawn camping in shooters or ganking and griefing in MMORPGs.