Exploring the CEE – a game design document

Well, it’s the beginnings of one anyways – I’ve gotten a little stuck.

I’ve been working on a game to be used as an orientation to the services of our team – currently known as the Flexible Learning Solutions team. It’s being built using a nifty piece of software called FPS Creator (First Person Shooter Creator) which allows you to create first person perspective 3d games with a mostly drag and drop interface.

Here are a couple of walkthrough videos that I’ve made about it so far.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/0OQrFBXOzJA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/YswClCQNLXA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I’m now trying to document the whole game so I have a better idea of exactly what it is that I need to complete it. I’m using the suggested Game Design Document from The Computer Game Design Course book that I’ve mentioned here before.

This is what I have so far.

Exploring the CEE

Producer: Flexible Learning Solutions

Version 1.0

Chief editor: Colin Simpson

Game concept:

A first person perspective exploration of the services of the Centre for Education Excellence – first stop, the Flexible Learning Solutions (FLS) team.

Game synopsis:

You are a teacher at the Canberra Institute of Technology, vying for the teacher of the year award against your arch-rival Peta Perfect. Use the skills and resources of the FLS team to enhance your teaching, improve your students average marks and satisfaction with the course and win the trophy.

Gameplay elements and features:

  • complete 3D version of the CEE building at Southside.

  • Relevant, real-world CIT based scenarios

  • interact with 3D models of FLS team members

  • learn all about flexible learning and how it can work for you

  • watch videos, read guides – all inside the game

  • you decide the best path to take

Market consideration: CIT teachers and staff

Platform: PC

Story synopsis:

It’s the first day back at CIT of the new year. Classes start in two weeks and tells you and your office-mate, Peta Perfect, that this year’s Teacher of the Year award will be decided based on student satisfaction and marks.

You have a friendly rivalry with Peta, who has won the TOTY award for the last 2 years running and you would also like to make some parts of your subjects more engaging for your students.

One of your colleagues asks you to do a quick favour for them and collect something from the Flexible Learning Solutions team while you are visiting the Centre for Education Excellence at the Southside campus. From here you start to get an understanding of the ways FLS can help you to enhance your teaching by interacting with the FLS team members and carrying out tasks.

Each FLS team member has expertise in a particular aspect of flexible learning and the more FLS team members you talk to and the more tasks you complete, the higher your student marks and satisfaction levels get and the closer you get to the Teacher of the year award.

Can you get there before Peta Perfect does though?

Look and feel:

Exploring the CEE has a fairly naturalistic look and feel, attempting to replicate the actual environment that the CEE is found in as closely as possible, while incorporating some changes to the space to enhance navigability.

The space is well lit and walls around each team member’s area are colour coded with subject matter related icons for easier identification. These colour/icon combinations are also used to make objects in the FLS office (such as folders or cd-roms) more easily relatable to the respective subject areas.

Game objective:

The ultimate objective is for the player to be more familiar with the services and information provided by the Flexible Learning Solutions team.

In the game, the player’s goal is to win the Teacher of the Year award.

Game mechanics:

Players are able to increase their score for student satisfaction and grades by interacting with FLS team members, gathering information, completing tasks within a certain time and correctly answering questions.

Menu systems:

Exploring the CEE features an opening menu allowing the player to begin a new game, load a saved game or exit. This menu can also be accessed at any point during the game by pressing the ESC key and during the game it includes the option to save the game or return to the game.

Controls:

This game uses conventional computer game controls, namely the keyboard and mouse. The player uses the mouse to control the camera (their view of the 3D environment) and the keys to move through the space and interact with objects.

In-game information:

A HUD (head-up display) provides information about the players current student marks and level of student satisfaction. During tasks it will also display time remaining or number of objects obtained/required.

Character movement and interaction:

The specific keys used for the character to move and interact with objects/other characters are:

  • A = left

  • W = forward

  • S = back

  • D = right

  • Space = Jump

  • C = crouch

  • T = open chat window

  • Enter = Use/Interact with object

The player can trigger certain actions (such as picking up an object or playing an audio/video file) by moving close to the object.

Character health and power:

Characters in this game can’t be hurt and have no specific powers. They accumulate points for student marks and student satisfaction based on the completion of tasks and these points are displayed in the HUD.

Camera systems:

The camera view is controlled by the player using the mouse. It offers a 360 view of their environment in any direction. It maintains a fixed perspective (i.e no zooming).

Gameworld:

Game activity takes place in the A block building of the Southside campus of CIT. In attempting to keep the game environment as free as possible and offer the player the widest range of choices, it uses a sandbox model of gameplay, in which the player is (mostly) able to choose their own tasks from a collection.

Game physics:

The player is able to walk at a modest pace, jump up onto tables and across approximately 3 metres. Inanimate objects can be set to be static or active – static objects don’t move if push while active objects do.

Non-player characters:

These represent CIT teachers (and students ?) as well as members of the FLS team.

 

Head of Dept

Peta Perfect

Colleague teacher (how many? – up to 6?)

Student(s? – how many?)

Colin

Marg

Bec

Helen

Aaron (or Dan?)

Len

Equipment and effects:

Folders containing information about the 6 specialisations of the team

CD Roms which trigger movies/audio files

Trophy

Key to open doors to rooms containing the bonus points?

Animation sets:

Machinima movies setting up story and interactions between the player and the FLS team members.

Opening movie – rivalry between player and Peta Perfect is established, Teacher of the Year conditions set out by Educational manager.

You can also read a little more about the underlying educational design theories in the document attached to this post, which was a uni assignment last year.

I have a few problems at this point. I’m very mindful of the need to keep this game relatively simple, as it’s as much of a learning experience for me and the team in game design as anything. I haven’t figured out where to physically locate the player’s character – the offices used in the video are actually those of our Curriculum dept. I’m leaning towards putting the teacher (and the teachers colleagues) in another building – though I don’t know if it’s connected to us or not.

I may also need up to 6 colleagues for the teacher to have as starting points for the tasks, which begin when they come over and talk to the FLS team members. Where to put these teachers – and perhaps a student might be nice as well – is another question. How does the teacher get from their office to our building? I’d like to keep it naturalistic, so walking from a connecting building sounds reasonable.

The question of how the teacher accumulates their score is another big one – are they given an object (eg a folder or a key – which might open a previously inaccessible area) on completion of a task or is the score just automatically incremented. (Which I’m not 100% sure I can even do in the game software anyways).

How in depth do the scenarios behind the tasks need to be. I can see the value in having them reflect the actual reasons that teachers might come to us for help but these may be relatively complex to explain while still keep the momentum of the game moving.

What are the best ways to present information to participants in these games – given that this is a showcase, I guess we’ll try a little bit of everything to see what works best.

Lots of things to consider really.

Exploring the CEE design statement

This entry was posted in elearning, game design, games, interaction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Exploring the CEE – a game design document

  1. Leonard Low says:

    Waaaait a minute! “Exploring the CEE?” Uh…

    I reckon an engaging game needs an enticing name dude… how about “CEE Change” or “Virtuo-CEE-ty” or something? 🙂 I dunno, something that captures the imagination. You don’t see any games called “Interactive First-Person Shooter v.2.0,” or “Putting The Puzzle Pieces In Place,” do you? Well, okay, you do see game titles like this on cheap Chinese knock-offs… but I think that’s a language issue as well as a marketing one. 🙂

    What do you think? 🙂

  2. colinsimpson says:

    Yeah, I know – it’s a working title at this point.

    It was initially Exploring the EDC, which rolled off the tongue rather better – and in fairness, I think that a relatively literal title is ok in this case as the game is largely intended for non-gamers and they should be able to know what they are getting pretty well straight away.

    Given the lack of games in the familiarisation/orientation genre, it’s tricky.

    And for the record, I’d play Interactive First Person Shooter v2.0 – sounds intriguing 🙂

  3. Marg says:

    Six characters hey? Well, perhaps a task from each of the following might be useful? here’s one example perhaps…

    Your Manager:
    He states that he has been happy with Peta Perfect’s ‘perfect record over the last 2 years, but wants to see the learning spread more with other teachers and tells you (the player) that he has approached Peta for some ideas about getting other teachers involved. He tells you that Peta mentioned she’d talked with an FLS team member about running some customised PD sessions over the medium-term (which Peta could co-facilitate) that cover various aspects of learning design and development. The Manager seeks your opinion on whether or not this is worth following up and given Peta has become busier with a new course, would you arrange these sessions with FLS?

    Is this the kind of task thingy you’re chasing?

  4. colinsimpson says:

    This is good Marg although I had to read it twice to follow it 🙂

  5. Pingback: The Game Learner » Gameplay dilemmas in First Person Shooters without the shooting

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