Towards a Framework for Open Source Multi Player Serious Games Version 1.0

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<p>OSMA-SGETOWARDS A FRAMEWORK FOR OPENSOURCE MULTIPLAYER SERIOUS GAMES</p> <p>Research project sponsored by IWT-TETRA</p> <p>Research Partners</p> <p>1</p> <p>INTRODUCTION................................................................................... 4 GAME DESIGN ..................................................................................... 6The nature of serious games ...................................................................................... 6 Multiplayer serious games ......................................................................................... 6 References ............................................................................................................ 8 Learning in serious games ......................................................................................... 8 The OSMA VDAB demonstrator game design .................................................................. 17 The Faro demonstrator design ................................................................................... 20</p> <p>GAME ART ........................................................................................21Graphical Style Guide .............................................................................................. 21 Graphical Assets Documentation ................................................................................ 21 Game Audio design ................................................................................................. 31</p> <p>GAME PROGRAMMING ..........................................................................33OSMA Architecture ................................................................................................. 33 Game programming in Unity...................................................................................... 34 OSMA Gameconfig backend ....................................................................................... 46</p> <p>USABILITY TESTING ............................................................................48Testing with the user group ...................................................................................... 48</p> <p>APPENDIX 1: OSMA MANAGERS, COMPONENTS AND ACTION COMPONENTS .......52Managers .............................................................................................................. 52 Osma componenten ................................................................................................ 58 Osma actie componenten ......................................................................................... 68 Backend communicatie ............................................................................................ 73</p> <p>2</p> <p>APPENDIX 2: OSMA REST INTERFACE.......................................................77References ........................................................................................................... 78 General remarks .................................................................................................... 78 Authentication....................................................................................................... 78 Create a node........................................................................................................ 79 Get a node ............................................................................................................ 80 Log out - clear session ............................................................................................. 80 Node indexes ........................................................................................................ 80 Updates ............................................................................................................... 81 Upload an image or file ............................................................................................ 81 Registration : creating a user account ......................................................................... 83 Services usage scenarios .......................................................................................... 84</p> <p>APPENDIX 3: CONFIGURATION RED5 .......................................................86Algemeen ............................................................................................................. 86 Installatie ............................................................................................................. 86 Red5Plugin maken .................................................................................................. 89 AMFPHP ............................................................................................................... 91</p> <p>3</p> <p>INTRODUCTIONSerious games are games that are primarily designed for purposes other than pure entertainment. Using game design techniques people practice or learn new skills or become aware of unknown problems and solutions. The main goal of the OSMA project is to reduce the cost barrier for the development of these serious games. To achieve this we look for generic, extensible and reusable components within the three pillars of game development: game technology, game art and game design.</p> <p>Figuur 1 Deliverables of the OSMA project within the three pillars of game development.</p> <p>The OSMA serious game engine is the core of the project. This engine is built up from existing open source technology components. The guidelines to use this engine are outlined in the Game Programming chapter . This engine is extended with game environments, objects and characters that can be used in different game contexts and for different audiences. Therefore a universal style manual is developed that is the basis of the various game assets. More information on the adopted graphical style and the reuse of the assets in other projects is described in the chapter on GAME ART. Within this engine a conceptual framework for a multiplayer serious game is implemented. This gaming framework finds its roots in game concepts proven to give good game play in mainstream games, and is customized to the learning objectives of serious games. The conceptual framework is outlined in the GAME DESIGN chapter. The OSMA platform is tested and finetuned in two showcases, the VDAB demonstrator and the Faro demonstrator . Based on these showcases guidelines and best-practices are formulated to allow users to use and expand the OSMA platform. The project is constantly growing and the latest results can be consulted at the osma project website.</p> <p>4</p> <p>Besides a technology platform, OSMA also comes with a community platform http://www.gameconnection.be where people can exchange information and knowledge about serious games for games-based learning.</p> <p>During the course of the project, the projectteam is guided by a number of stakeholders representing practitioners in the field of gaming and learning, ranging from small game companies, e-learning companies to larger educational, cultural and employment organizations .</p> <p>LOUISPLATINI.COM/ADERA</p> <p>5</p> <p>GAME DESIGN THE NATURE OF SERIOUS GAMESTo many people, a serious game is an oxymoron. Indeed, it is not easy to see how a game can be both entertaining or fun and serious or educational at the same time. It has been suggested by some that merely labeling a game as serious can break the fun and entertaining cachet of a game and take away the motivation of the player. Creating a game as a harmonious mix of education and entertainment is not easy to achieve. Examples of games that are too serious to enjoy, or not serious enough to learn from, abound. Still, Ritterfeld et al (2009) finds that serious games are living up to the challenge of combining learning and playing through digital games by: Generating intrinsic motivation for the player to engage in the game. Providing a responsive game environment that gives the player immediate feedback. Delivering complex content that allows for ample learning opportunities.</p> <p>MULTIPLAYER SERIOUS GAMESThe OSMA-SGE project aims to lower the production cost of online multiplayer serious games. Such games hold much potential, because of their close resemblance to some of the current dominant game paradigms. Indeed, many popular game forms are online multiplayer, like massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG), first person shooters or real-time strategy (RTS) games. A first reason for selecting the online multiplayer game as a basic format for the creation of serious games is to offer the player a familiar gaming environment in which to learn. Secondly, a multiplayer game offers many interesting learning opportunities, like peer review and human-tohuman interactions approaching real-life interactions. Thirdly, multiplayer games have a superior ability in producing emergent game dynamics as a result of simple game rules and mechanics. As people play against each other, the simplest rule set can engender complex emergent game play between players. It has been proposed by Salen &amp; Zimmerman (2004) that emergent aspects in games lead to a sense of wonder and surprise and make games more enjoyable. A fourth reason for looking at multiplayer serious games is that games like World of Warcraft or Call of Duty - Modern Warfare have proven that online multiplayer games can provide a sustainably enjoyable game play that players keep coming back for. Finally, as today most serious games are single player, we believe it is worth the while from an academic point of view to investigate multiplayer serious games and how they can be different from their single player cousins. While the multiplayer format is interesting, we do not aim to develop massive online multiplayer games, in which thousands of players can play together in one game environment. The reason for this choice is that the development and maintenance cost of such games is prohibitive to their implementation by most organizations. Still, a non-massive multiplayer format can be relatively easily deployed using modern game editors like the Unity engine, used in this project. Some conceptual frameworks have been developed for serious games. However, they are either too general, like Yusoff et al (2009) or not suited for online multiplayer serious games as is the case for Nadolski et al (2008). In order to create online multiplayer serious games, we need a framework that would match this gaming paradigm and offer enough room for customization in order to harbor a learning payload. We are aiming to construct this by using a general design framework that has proven its use by creating good game play in mainstream games, and to customize this framework to the learning objectives of serious games.</p> <p>6</p> <p>Figuur 2 The SURM serious game design framework</p> <p>The framework we are developing, which we have called SURM (Stats, Unlockables, Rank and Minigames), is based on the type of high-level game design that is used in MMORPG's and some firstperson shooters. Each player has a certain score in a statistic category that can be improved by playing mini-games. These categories can be personal attributes like stamina and stealth in a MMORPG or "creativity" and "leadership" in a serious game focused on the labor market. A rank can be obtained by achieving a certain amount of points on a given statistic category or a combination of categories. For example, the rank "inspirational leader" could be reached when a player has reached 70/100 in the leadership category and 60/100 in the creativity category. A rank acts as a status symbol that players will aim to attain by increasing their stats and represent goals that users seek to meet in the game. Unlockables are items or abilities that can be obtained when a certain amount of points has been reached or when another type of game objective has been met. These unlockables give the player extra abilities and impact the game dynamics of particular mini-games. For example, a veto unlockable could be obtained when scoring high on leadership, allowing a player to overrule the decisions of other players in a mini-game mimicking the decision-making process in a company. The elements of the SURM framework have proven their value by providing enjoyable and durable game play in numerous games. However, the games in which it is normally applied are not serious. In order to infuse the framework with a learning dimension, the different elements have to be made more concrete to fit the learning objectives at hand.</p> <p>7</p> <p>REFERENCESU. Ritterfeld, M. Cody, and P. Vorderer, Serious games: explication of an oxymoron Introduction, Serious games - Mechanisms and effects, London and New York: 2009, pp. 4-9. K. Salen and E. Zimmerman, Rules of play, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2004. A. Yusoff, L. Crowder, and G. Wills, A conceptual framework for serious games, Riga, Latvia: 2009. R.J. Nadolski, H.G.K. Hummel, H.J. van den Brink, R.E. Hoefakker, A. Slootmaker, H.J. Kurvers, and J. Storm, EMERGO: A methodology and toolkit for developing serious games in higher education, Simulation Gaming, vol. 39, 2008, pp. 338-352.</p> <p>LEARNING IN SERIOUS GAMES CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD GAMES FOR LEARNINGGood games teach players more than just facts because they provide ways of seeing and understanding problems and supply opportunities to become different kinds of people [1]. Along the pleasure of playing, good games have some unique benefits [1] : games provide a safe area for practice games make learning concrete games encourage socializing games level the playing field games make training more appealing. Based on these assumptions, characteristics, that are supported by various learning theories and will reinforce learning, were formulated [1]. Repeat and reinforce key information Give immediate feedback Provide safe practice of new skills Develop understanding of new skills Provide meaningful challenge Stimulate as many senses as possible Furnish social contact and group work Provide realistic and complex experience Include analysis, interpretation and reflection.</p> <p>REFERENCES[1] Squire, K., Video game-based learning: An emerging paradigm for instruction, retrieved from http://website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/tenure-files/09-PIQ-Squire-su...</p> <p>8</p> <p>[2] El-Shamy, S., Training Games: Everything You Need to Know About Using Games to Reinforce Learning, Virginia: Stylus Publishing: 2001</p> <p>EVALUATION &amp; FEEDBACK EVALUATION WHAT IS EVALUATION?Through evaluation can be ascertained to what extent the participants have reached the predefined goals.</p> <p>FUNCTIONS OF EVALUATIONSSummative evaluation focuses on the assessment of the student. This assessment is result-oriented and focuses on what the student has reached at that time. Formative evaluation aims to guide the student. Giving feedback plays an important role hereby. This feedback can be used to steer the learning process.</p> <p>FORMS OF EVALUATIONPeer evaluation: students evaluate each other according to specific criteria. Self-evaluation: the stu...</p>

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