Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Three simple Steps to your first 3D Game (Part II)

Part 2 of 4

Step 1

Decide your subject domain

The first, most important step inthe design process is to get a firm grip on the subject domain the game ismeant to address. It is not enough to say “I want to make a History game!” oreven that the game is about “the Han dynasty”. Broad domains, such as the onesmentioned above, hinder rather than help creativity just by the sheer size ofthe material that has to be covered.

The best practice is to clearlydefine the subject of your game. A clearer definition from the above mentionedhistory example can be ‘The Early Adventures of Liu Ban'. As you can see in this example we have considerably narrowed the subject down fromthe whole dynasty to a segment in the life of its founder. While this will helpus plan our characters and storyline better, we need more definition in order tomake this game even more engaging. 

As essential as it is to clearlydemarcate what the narrative context of the game is, it is equally important ina ‘serious’ game to clearly define the learning outcome. In the above examplelet us assume that this game is for Singapore’s Secondary 1 History syllabuspertaining to the section about “threats and responses”.

We can define the purpose of ourgame as follows: “The game should let the student experience in a 3D dramaticrecreation, first-hand, the early life of Liu Bang to understand the challengeshe faced while establishing the Han dynasty. The game should demonstrate howcountries must face challenges to their stability and security from bothinternal and external sources.”

The obvious benefit of suchdefinition is that we are able to select and refine those portions of thematerial that should be in our game. This further enables us to craft a muchtighter, controlled and interesting experience for our students.

Try to narrow the focus of your game down to a portion of a particularchapter or at least a segment of the curriculum intended to be covered. Onceyou have decided on this clearly define the learning objective the game ismeant to address. 

...To be Continued


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