I just got home from LOEX and worked on these notes on the plane... there's more to come on this session, including my opinions, but this post is strictly informative.
For anyone not familiar with the project, the librarians initially developed a board game which they planned on being a testing ground for the video game. The many in the audience appeared to be more interested in the board game than the video game. The physical game has gone through four versions board game and the student feedback is positive. The students enjoy creating their own teams and get rather competitive about it.
Their powerpoint presentation was very similar to their presentation at the Internet Librarian conference last fall. The information was still very useful since it included their feedback from this spring semester. Spring 2007 was the semester they used the game within the class.
The video game project itself started with specific learning objectives that included:
- Library as physical and virtual space
- Services the library offers
- Online catalog
- Types of sources
- Evaluation skills
Tammy and Bee provided their timeline and game design process. Tammy stressed the importance of versioning a game and realizing that multiple builds are necessary to get the feedback needed to improve the design. While Tammy had some flash programming knowledge, they needed someone with flash game design experience. It was also important the flash programmer have educational game design experience. Both Tammy and Bee highly recommended Rollings & Adams “Game Design” text as a foundation and overview on how to begin planning, designing and developing a video game. Their High Concept document was their sales pitch to the Library Director and others. They commented multiple times that their director was not only supportive about the project but also highly energetic. After the approval of their high concept they developed their 15+ page game treatment, where every choice and decision tree consequence was outlined. The timeline for development was as follows:
- 7 months spent on plots and character story, a lot of time
- 2 months for design
- 1 month for character interaction
- 2 weeks for animation
- 2 weeks for information retrieval / game catalog and database
- 2 weeks for sound creation
- 1 month for bug tracking
The process took over a year and they are still working on correcting bugs and suggestions identified by the students. Students got confused about what was the next step… not as evident as thought and thus the beta testing and in class use provided critical feedback. Some of the specific bugs and improvements included:
- Inability to leave library after checking out books
- “Copy & paste” option for storing articles
- Need to include “mission” screen to help keep
- Hot spots for interactions, more event based encounters
- Better visual doorways to make navigation easier