Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Great ILS Challenge

(No Wendy - it is NOT ILT challenge, as you regularly freudian slip. Bad Wendy, Bad. And in front of Mark too.....)

Presentation: The Great ILS Challenge
Host: Mark Oehlert

ILS Challenge - the whole idea is that ideas regarding what you can do with design can be stretched.

We help people do their jobs better. Mark wants to stretch the design of what we do. Let's take our usual - what can we do to make it better?

This challenge - Design a game to get to the ethical truth of a person. Predict ethical behavior.

And the very cool thing after one of his speakers left, when he asked for help and submissions on his network - he got dozens of responses from people he didn't expect would even be interested. And got a very high level game designer to do the challenge courtesy of Clark Quinn (1 degree of separation).

A great example of how web 2.0 works!
Deb and Bob Holm (get name from Mark)

One example of background - training CAD Engineers using a first person shooter. (Wow!) Result - a 4th grader got a hold of it and started designing CAD.

They do a lot of the Discovery Channel and PBS Kids games too.

The creative process - bring the designers in EARLY.
- Look at the property from the early early stages.

Bob - one area of interest, how to make games more adaptive.
- What makes commercial games so addictive, the game changes as the user plays it. More challenging.

They are a big fan of rapid prototyping (me too).

The way design is really done, people work together.
- Decided to tackle it collaboratively.

SO what is ethics?
- Took the usual assessment questions. (Mult choice, click Next)

Hey - look at the Ferengies

So the approach
- Gotta be fun. remember - people learn more if they have fun.

What is your message?
+ Let people discover a performance-based strategy based on the message.
+ Any virtual world that is a game has a set of rules implicit in that world. Those rules are the basis of the gameplay.
+ in this case - Karma. What you do has ramifications. Can build a game around that.

- You can twist the message - would you screw someone if you could get away with it?
- Maybe try the middle - what goes around comes around.

Next conversation - what are the game mechanics?
- Casual game - easy to learn, hard to master. Low initial investment, short duration, repeatable. "You can play it while you are watching TV"

- Twitch game - something where someone is doing something quickly (First person shooters, lots of clicking really fast, lots of rapid decision-making).

- Role playing game

What came up with based on Ultimatum
- 2 player game, split $100
- Player 1 offers a split (50/50, 80/20)?\
- Player 2 accepts or rejects
- No negotiation possible
- Reject - everyone loses

So to adapt the game
- Multiplayer? With history? What if played as part of a team? This will manipulate how people will react.
- What really happens if you know who are playing against? Would the response change if you see them? Would the response change based on the history?
- Would they respond differently as an avatar? Realistic or graphical?

Games as research tools. We can use the game to see how people behave based on how they interact with the game.
- We can learn how people are learning through the information we obtain through the game. (This is a whole different level of data gathering when programming).

Remember - online is not just to disseminate information, can also gather information.
- PBS Kids - get LOTS of information as the kids play the game.

The Twitch Game part - assembly line.
- You want so that as someone gets "too good" - the system declines.
- You want to build in an optimum. Force someone who overdoes it to back off a bit.

2 impt. questions
- Who IS your audience?
- What is the message?
- Get the above 2 things nailed, can build around those 2 elements.

Can see how people behave around character / story / environment.
- Where can you get people access to a lot of money that we can develop shady things around?
- Skimming without ramifications that will throw you into jail?

Ethical dilemas - you want conflict between 2 impt. principals. The shades of gray.
- Honesty / Loyalty
- Personal Gain / Integrity

To tune the game
- Find the main ethical principals of the character
- Steer them towards places where those principals will be challenged.

Visual style - they decided Film Noir. Nugget of the story idea.
- looked for other examples for inspiration.
- Exposition pulls you in. Challenge is clear (don't have to be straight-on).

Goal: To get you to think outside of box. Use different approaches to do something fun, interesting and engaging.

When doing brainstorming - have a 20something in the room. The ideas are nice, but you are also looking for thought-process.
- "Why not make it fictional" That opens up more options.

You don't know where the good idea is going to come from.

Thinks to think about (pick any two)
- Time
- Budget
- Quality

So what would you build?

There is transfer effects for any instructional material.
- Build in a pre / post. Based on those measures, did they get it. (Hmm...can't you do it within the game? Scoring?)

So how DO you measure the interaction?
- I'm going to give them x information, did they get it?
+ (So, for example, you are looking for how much time / attempts to figure out how to deal with the new variable. I.e. how long will it take the kid to figure out to flush the microbe)

More is happening on the simulation side than branching.
- Not a big fan of branching because it explodes
- (so how do you go about building simulation vs. branching)
- Advantage of simulation - try out things in a safe environment.

Ultimately, in the end, did they learn what they needed to learn?

What are you trying to convey?
- Knowledge - drill and kill fast
- Skills and concepts - other methodologies work better.
+ Winning strategy demonstrates concept mastery.
+ The rules and heuristics that an expert in a field uses to make decisions faster.

Video - Did you know
- 8x more words in the English language than Shakespeare.

Video games is a LITERACY (Mark O.).
- To gain that literacy - play
- Example - immersive language simulations

2 usable game concepts
- Grow your cube
- Escape the room

Kongregate - lots and lots of user flash games
- A game where you can argue
- Facade

Looking at a concept and how it moves forward.
- Example - look at the science concepts in school by grade. Your level in science maps to the concepts you learn in the grade.

(Mark O) - great games are immersive and engrossing even without the visual elements.
- Story is more important than theme.
- Don't mistake the visual for the dominant. It's easier to create visuals than to write and design the story and game play and learning.

(Bob) Be wary of - uncanny valley
- As you increase the fidelity of the representation of the human, you hit a point where people are looking for the problems in the representation.
- "We are faithful enough to be creepy."

What Mark found with the submissions

Lots of themes of Karma
- One idea - single and multiple lifetimes.
- The game can build on itself. Multiple casual games into a role-playing game.
- No extremes - the middle way works best over the long term.

If people know if they are being tested about ethics, will behave in an ethical manner.
- So wanted to be sneaky about it. (Which is unethical too)
- Teach them that you are testing them about leadership and diplomacy.
- Karl Kapp - up the stakes and make it real.

(Audience) Another part of great is the need? Would the ethical rule change?
- If we are learning from their gameplay, what other variables are we also discovering that we didn't consider in the initial design?

Eve Online - built around horribly unethical behavior in business. In space.

Emergency - try to save patients. The kids found the coolest way to kill people.
- I wonder if they learned the science behind it too!


Anonymous said...

Good stuff, thanks for taking notes and sharing!

Wendy said...

This kills multiple birds with one stone.

I write my notes.

My employers can see what I'm up too.

And you all can to!

That's why I heart this community.