Archive for the ‘instructional design’ Category

Story-Based Self Tests as an Instructional Tool

Self Test ScreenshotRead a brand-new article composed by co-author Nick Iuppa exclusively for this site, on some of the work he’s been doing for clients the past couple of years.

For more “tales from the trenches” like this new article, check out our books End to End Game Development and Story and Simulations for Serious Games, both published by Focal Press and available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Learning Languages in Virtual Worlds

If you studied a foreign language in school, you might recall that the textbook would have you simulate real-world experiences:  shopping in a supermarket, schmoozing at a cocktail hour, and so on.  Ideally, your teacher would have the class role-play these situations. (Everybody would be very embarrassed, and you probably hoped you wouldn’t be called.)

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Microsoft’s Productivity Games

We’ve rounded up several posts about Microsoft’s productivity games, for an overview of what the software giant has been doing in this important subspecies of serious games.

Productivity games are applications designed to increase work efficiency while also increasing job satisfaction through the application of game aesthetics and mechanics.  Virtually all jobs have some degree of repetitiveness — some more than others — and nearly all of us hate that aspect of work.

Yet interestingly, games require repetition — and find ways to encourage us to embrace the repetition. If we can find ways to build some fun into job repetitiveness, both employer and employee should win.

The games described include Microsoft’s Windows 7 localization game, and their current game encouraging usage and feedback for Office Communicator.

Scroll down towards the bottom of this post (included in the overall roundup), look for “Helpful Material,” and you’ll get a great set of links for the further study on the topic of productivity games.

Robots Playing World of Warcraft?

It’s safe to say that Georgia Tech is on the cutting edge of serious game and simulation development, and this article provides an overview of some of what the school is up to.

A particularly interesting direction is in the use of game engines and virtual worlds to help train and teach robots:  if a robot can navigate and engage in a virtual world simulation, it will likely do better when it engages in the real world.  In addition, virtual worlds offer an environment where robots and humans may jointly collaborate on situations, preparing them for collaboration in the real world.

Robots aren’t actually playing World of Warcraft yet, but they may take a shine to it in the future…

Read the entire article:  you’ll also find out about AI applications in the field of intelligent narrative technologies, an area discussed in both End to End Game Development and Story and Simulations for Serious Games.

Listen to ‘Cinemascope’ book discussion

Even if you missed the live broadcast of the half-hour interview with co-author Terry Borst on KSFR-FM’s ‘Cinemascope‘, you can listen here to the audio recording. Just click on the embedded MP3 link to stream the interview.  Learn more about the book and its co-author.

Speaking at UNM ArtsLab April 2

Co-author Terry Borst will be speaking at the University of New Mexico’s ArtsLab Friday, April 2 at noon, as part of their ongoing Digital Lunch series.

The topic will be End to End endGame Development, published by Focal Press.  The talk will include a quick sampling of serious game output, and discuss some of the unique issues faced by developers of serious games, persuasive games and simulations.

If you find yourself in Albuquerque on that date, please come!

Theme Is Not Meaning

We were sorry to miss Soren Johnson’s keynote to the GDC Serious Games Summit.  Johnson’s topic, “Theme Is Not Meaning,” applies to all games — but may have its most valuable applicability in the realm of serious games. Continue reading

Webinar on YouTube and Facebook

We’re pleased to announce our 2-part webinar on the topic of game design versus instructional design (presented by co-author Nick Iuppa) is available on Focal Press’s YouTube Channel and also on Focal Press’s Facebook site.  Here are the direct links:



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