Feedback on new eLearning game

Jan 05, 2020

I've been doing more gamification projects recently, so started experimenting with some different game formats within SL. Trying to shake things up a bit. Could use a little feedback on this one.

It's a math game called Balloon Tag. The format is pretty fast-paced, which I tend to like, but maybe that's just me. lol

All constructive feedback welcomed. Thanks.

22 Replies
Thor Melicher

This is really nice - I like how you've made the effort to make each scene visually interesting and adding the right amount of "hey, I can go further and I want to see what will happen next."  I also like the voice used when failing or passing- it's just the right amount to make you laugh and it's like an inside joke. :)  Pacing is also good for those who know their facts.

Some challenges to consider:

  • Make it possible to skip the intro text building up to "enter your name"
  • Randomize the slides so the problems aren't in the same order
  • Create problems that aren't hard-coded but rather through variables (JavaScript!)


Jon Mercer

Thanks so much for the detailed feedback Thor. I really appreciate it.

-The "skip intro" link was a great idea. I incorporated that in the newest version.

- Randomizing slides is a great idea too, but I haven't had a chance to work on it yet. I was thinking about the way the slides progressively get faster and more tricky. I would want to keep that flow, but still get some randomization going.  I'm not 100% certain how to achieve it (maybe you have some ideas (haha). 

- Non hard-coded equations. Yes. This was my thinking too. I had a few hours Sunday night and worked on that (the newest version has randomized equations).

I planned to code it in Javascript but decided at the last minute to try the SL inbuilt random number function, since I've never actually tried it.  It seems pretty functional, but I may end up re-writing in JS when I get some time. I'm concerned that it might be slowing down the slides a bit - I thought I noticed a little sluggishness in newest version, but may have been a wanky internet connection. lol

Thanks again bud!


Thor Melicher

Glad to give feedback!

As for randomizing slides and keeping with your flow, off the top of my head, I would create three scenes to organize the pacing you developed - slow, medium, and fast.  Using variables you would then determine which path to send the user.  Again, off the top of my head, I would think one Boolean variable to track last question (correct/wrong) and one to track current speed (slow, medium, fast).  Perhaps another way is to use another variable to track how many correct answers in a row and then using range logic decide where to send them next (0 to 3 correct slow, 4 to 6 medium, 7+ fast).

I hope that gives you some other things to ponder. :)



Jon Mercer

Thanks Thor. I like the idea of the game responding to how the user plays.  Plenty for me to ponder and work on if I can get time ;)

btw: I took your storyline course a while back on Udemy. Really helpful seeing how you approached problems and how you organized everything. I picked up some great tips. Have you considered doing an advanced SL course, focusing on javascript? I'd love something like that.

Thor Melicher

Thanks for the plug and glad you enjoyed the course!  Speaking of other courses, I do have an advanced course that touches a bit on JavaScript (foundational at this time) but the intent is to keep adding to it as SL changes.  You can take a peek here - the course is called Articulate Storyline 360 Problem Solver!  (catchy, right?)

I've been a bit busy on another project and that's Neural voices with Amazon Polly.  You can read more here and here.  If you want to see the app I'm developing to make it faster, let me know.

Ulises Musseb

The game was very enjoyable. I have a suggestion. The speed of the balloons passing might be too difficult to some people who know the answer but might not have the interface skills. Will it be possible to either add keyboard use instead of the mouse, or maybe slowing down the speed of the balloons? I am basing this on the premise that the idea is to practice math, not increase the interfacing skill. Otherwise, great job.

Jon Mercer

You make an excellent point, Ulises. I intentionally wanted the slides to be challenging - but there has to be a balance too.

Keyboard control is an interesting idea. At a really basic level, I could set a key for each balloon (like Z for purple, X for Green, etc). That might be a good alternative method for some players, and would prob help in making the game 508 compliant (right now it is CLEARLY not! haha).

 I'll keep it in mind when I get around to updating. Thank you for the feedback!


Zsolt Olah

Hi Jon,

Gamification (or in this case I'd say game-based assessment) is a seemingly easy way to make things more engaging. It's not as easy as it sounds. It still starts with the basic needs analysis: who's your audience, what is their prior knowledge, and what are you assessing? 

Game design elements can help making boring drill engaging but also can cause cognitive load that leads to frustration. 

A couple of suggestions to think about:

1. What are you assessing? How fast you can multiply numbers or whether you remember what those numbers were in the first place? For me, the numbers disappear so fast that I don't even remember what to multiply. When you're testing this you're already an expert. You built it. You know what's happening. For someone who launches it for the first time, everything is new. 

I would suggest creating levels. In the first level, slow down the balloons, keep the multiplication on, so players can get use to the mechanics. We often start with a "training" round that does not count. It helps players learning the rules and mechanics before it gets harder.

Levels also help you to make the game more interesting because people are looking forward to what the next challenge is (maybe faster balloons, maybe more balloons, etc.)

2. If you have music in the background it's a good idea to have a music on/off button. The reason why it's a good idea to have a music only on/off, is because you might want to keep the sound effects going but music can be annoying for some (and hinder learning in some cases).

3. I would also suggest building in more direct feedback. Basically, I have a 50% chance to hit the right balloon. I would show the multiplication again with a feedback. So if I didn't get it, at least I learn what the correct answer was. If I did get it but just guessed, it's more likely to remember it. And if I got it right because I knew the answer, I get confirmation. I feel accomplished. 

The goal of a gameplay is to make people feel challenged but not frustrated. Slowly raising the challenge allows them to feel they're getting better. 

If you're interested in games and gamification for learning, ATD just published the TD at Work on Game Thinking: From Content to Actions. You might find it interesting.


And here's my very different but math related example:




Jon Mercer

Very cool math game, Zsolt. I like the interaction.

The balloon game is a proof of concept experiment so it wasn't developed with a target audience in mind, but that would definitely be a primary concern if used for a client. 

I didn't include a training round on this one, but that could also be an great idea. I'll give it some thought. Thanks so much for the feedback and tips. Lots of good ideas to consider going forward!

Best, Jon


Thor Melicher

If you click on the author's name of a post, you'll get their profile page with a link that says "Contact Me" - where that message goes now, I don't know.  I thought you would receive an e-mail directly.  Here is what your page looks like:


If you want to try clicking on my name and try Contact Me we can see what happens.

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