What we can learn from games.

Hello all!

I've recently launched a blog looking at what we can learn from games as Instructional Designers.

This week I'm focusing on a game called Prison Architect and the design elements we can take from their introduction/tutorial level. These are generally key to giving the player the information and skills needed to play the game hence my initial focus on them.

If anyone takes a look or comments that would be much appreciated. I'll be covering several games on the blog and it would be great to have this wonderful community input.

Hopefully we can all learn something together!

The link to Gaming in Training is here - Gaming in Training Blog.

84 Replies
Luke Rhodes

That's an awesome blog you've got there. But beyond just teaching game mechanics I think that games can teach a whole lot more. A game that came out this year called Valiant Hearts is a great example of how games can potentially use good storytelling to teach stuff like history and whatnot.

DJI phantom 2 Vision Plus

Joshua Roberts
Luke Rhodes

That's an awesome blog you've got there. But beyond just teaching game mechanics I think that games can teach a whole lot more. A game that came out this year called Valiant Hearts is a great example of how games can potentially use good storytelling to teach stuff like history and whatnot.

Absolutely agree with you Luke.

One of the most powerful storytelling games I've ever played is Telltale Games' Walking Dead. It's an absolute rollercoaster and simply because of the power of it's storytelling. It had me in tears (first time a video game has ever done this) and is a wonderful example.

Valiant Hearts is another great example of how powerful storytelling coupled with simple gameplay mechanics can draw you in to a story. I've considered featuring VH and may do some in the coming weeks. 

There is a huge amount that we can learn from games and you've hit the nail on the head. Simple methods that easily transition to our field.

Steve Flowers

This is a fantastic series, Joshua. Really like the format, tone, pace, subject matter, and the way you're dealing with it with examples that illustrate transferable value. Love it.

I've always liked the way Extra Credits presents game characteristics and mechanics. Lost Garden presents a nice series on theory and comparison that might be helpful for reference.

Wish I had thought of this series myself. Keep it up!

Joshua Roberts
Steve Flowers

This is a fantastic series, Joshua. Really like the format, tone, pace, subject matter, and the way you're dealing with it with examples that illustrate transferable value. Love it.

I've always liked the way Extra Credits presents game characteristics and mechanics. Lost Garden presents a nice series on theory and comparison that might be helpful for reference.

Wish I had thought of this series myself. Keep it up!

Hello Steve, 

I just wanted to say thank you so much for the kind words. It means a lot to have such a respected member of the community speak so fondly about what I'm trying to do.

I've watched a lot of Extra Credit on YouTube and especially enjoyed the videos on MMO Quest shaping - it was a very insightful approach. There's definitely a lot to take from videos like EC because you can make the links to the projects or pieces you are working on at the time.

I've just put out a very quick update looking at Prison Architect again but this time two little design elements we can quickly pull out from it. The post is available here: Straight from a game into your E-Learning Bitesize Tip #2.

Again, thank you for the kind words Steve, I've got a huge grin on my face this morning as a result and I hope you continue reading and enjoying the content I put out.

I'm going to be releasing another post this weekend in the What We Can Learn From Games series.

Joshua Roberts

New Blog Post Out Now - Looking at Decisions and Choice in E-Learning using The Walking Dead Video Game series. Using meaningful choices to create an engaging and successful E-Learning course.

You can view the blog post here.

As always your thoughts and comments are welcome, and if anyone wants any further information on this post please just get in touch with me on Twitter!

Phil Mayor

Joshua, just wanted to echo what Steve says.  I am enjoying enjoying these sadly Football Manager (lost too many hours to this one) and Zelda (my favourite series of all time) are the only two games I have played before (but I am  enjoying finding new games as well).

May have to download Walking dead onto my Fire TV.  I loved the piece on Zelda and must admit to having stolen many an idea from Zelda in the past. 

I would love to see some of your examples based on your posts, keep it up and keep posting

Thanks

Joshua Roberts
Phil Mayor

Joshua, just wanted to echo what Steve says.  I am enjoying enjoying these sadly Football Manager (lost too many hours to this one) and Zelda (my favourite series of all time) are the only two games I have played before (but I am  enjoying finding new games as well).

May have to download Walking dead onto my Fire TV.  I loved the piece on Zelda and must admit to having stolen many an idea from Zelda in the past. 

I would love to see some of your examples based on your posts, keep it up and keep posting

Thanks

Thank you very much Phil - your comments are very much appreciated! 

For the Walking Dead - it's actually based on the game which you can get on around 30 different devices, PC/MAC/Android/iOS/PS4/PS3 etc etc etc. Do you have a Fire Tablet or through your TV box? I'd highly recommend it for anyone in E-Learning as the storytelling is absolutely unrivalled. It actually had me in tears at the end of season one of the game. Phil, you will not be disappointed and because the game is split into 5 "episodes" you don't need to feel as though you're committing a lot of time.

Zelda is also my favourite series of all time - Nintendo have a way of working in some of the most clever uses of narrative/exploration ever seen in video games. Aside from the fact the series is just great to sit and unwind with!

Again, thank you very much, hearing support from superheroes such as yourself and Steve gives me the inspiration to continue producing content like this. There's so many games out there that we can draw from that this series will be running for years to come! 

Steve Flowers

What I liked about the Walking Dead game series is the way situations and choices were setup. It's all gray area. There are no good choices. They are almost exclusively different shades of terrible choices. Part of the reason I loved the game. It's paced well and interactions are spaced in a good way. Also really like the render style of the characters.

I've been playing with a few workflows to hit the style with some custom characters. Haven't quite hit it. Getting closer:)

 

Alexandros Anoyatis

What I loved about the Walking Dead was the social way in which choices were displayed at the end. I created something similar using SL1, video, and Walking Dead-like multiple choice answers using hidden iframes to record each answer and it worked well for the most part. Too bad we couldn't finish filming, it would've been a cute demo to show.

It might also be worth having a look at Telltales' earlier feature, the Back to the Future series (x5 episodes). Not as polished as the Walking Dead, and it has more of an adventure point and click style compared to the hybrid nature of WD, but interesting storytelling is equally present. Ep.3 - Citizen Brown is my personal favorite.

Alex

Joshua Roberts

I agree with all of the comments above. 

Steve - The decisions in Walking Dead are incredibly well thought out, as you mention there is never an easy answer, you never truly know how the short term goals will be affected (or the long term goal of survival for that matter)

I've played the Back to the Future series too Alex - as you said, not as polished but non the less a great point and click adventure. The new releases from TTG, especially Game of Thrones have provided a fresh introduction into this style of storytelling in another era. Just as many difficult choices and another great effort by their team.

Thank you for the comments Chris and I look forward to preparing more posts for you to read, I should have another one up next week as I've got some time over the weekend to sit and start writing, I've already got some thoughts lined up.

Phil Mayor

Oh great another one, as if I haven't got enough work to do :-).  worst thing is I end up buying some of these games.

I have just downloaded Luminocity absolutely love it, simple puzzle to more extreme over time.  The intro is beautiful and I I planning to build a storyline course using this style so much that I can use.

 

Joshua Roberts
Phil Mayor

Oh great another one, as if I haven't got enough work to do :-).  worst thing is I end up buying some of these games.

I have just downloaded Luminocity absolutely love it, simple puzzle to more extreme over time.  The intro is beautiful and I I planning to build a storyline course using this style so much that I can use.

 

Haha! Well whenever I buy a new game for myself I just call it an investment. The ideas that they stimulate provide a huge amount of value and that's before I even start to count my own personal enjoyment.

Luminosity has a lot of positive points, I also think that the UI looks brilliant.

Keep playing Phil!

Joshua Roberts
Chris Lee

More thought provoking stuff, thanks. These games are great examples for task based learning. I' m currently storyboarding an 8 bit platform game assessment and am toying with the idea of background music. Would a learner find this distracting or an engagement tool? Answers for and against more than welcome

 

Chris

Thanks Chris.

Personally I don't think music would be needed in the assessment - although it depends on the format of how that platform game looks. It sounds like a fantastic idea, can you share any more information?

I'd stay away from the music for now and focus on the content to drive engagement, give me a shout if you want any help.