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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 29 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [A Game Called School...] Using Game Design Outside of Gaming  (Read 3303 times)
Roger
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Posts: 228


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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2011, 08:43:25 AM »

This game... it's a little strange.  I'm not sure I understand the system as written.  I'll start with the diagram ( http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xGAXGUTfggI/TX8ydQMLtvI/AAAAAAAAANQ/UPuM4xSynPU/s1600/Nate%2527s%2Bschool%2BSystem%2BDiagram.png ) though as that seems fairly straightforward.

1.  There's no endgame.  As far as I can tell, you just go round and round the arrows until you die.

2.  There's no differentiation between internal scoring (that is, testing yourself) and external scoring (writing a final exam) but I'm not sure yet if that's a bug or a feature.  Let's just say it seems worth a closer look.

3.  I'm not sure if I see how Score and Feedback are distinct steps; hopefully you can shed some light on what you see as distinguishing them.

4.  There seems to be two distinct paths to Kicking Ass -- Studying, and (eventually) via Testing-Scoring-Feedback.  This is a little weird; I might be tempted to just grind Studying and never bother with the other route.

5.  On the other hand, you can also go from Studying straight to I Suck, which I don't think I understand at all.


Cheers,
Roger
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2011, 10:15:50 AM »

Quote
Well there is soimne research indicating that rewards don't really work.  An experiment in the UK giving students money or what amounts to toys to study was abandoned after it nhad no discernable effect.  I think that the "reward" structure that applies in most games is the ability to exert control over your own actions and to make your own decisions - precisely the experience we don't get in school or in work.

Sort of a Nietzsche Will to Power thing- we love exerting power, we hate being powerless.

What rewards are you talking about though? Cash? How much? How good were the toys? If I got $100 for every 1% I got on a test, I'd study my ass off and skip work to do it. I'd blow off my friends for that kind of money (short term). Could you elaborate? That seems like an interesting test.

As for power-over-life/surroundings being a reward, remember old school D&D? as you level up you can reform landmasses, teleport, geas... you get massive power over your environment! power is a great reward! Any ways you can think of to integrate this more into a system?

Quote
1.  There's no endgame.  As far as I can tell, you just go round and round the arrows until you die.

I sort of agree.

There's no endgame in competitive RTS or FPS games either- unless you consider world championships an endgame, which seems legit. You do loop round and round the arrows- until you get to your arbitrarily determined goal-skill-level, or get bored.

In my case, I'd like to pursue my abilities in my study field (science/engineering) as far as I can, so a lack of an endgame doesn't bother me.

Would you recommend adding one?

Quote
2.  There's no differentiation between internal scoring (that is, testing yourself) and external scoring (writing a final exam) but I'm not sure yet if that's a bug or a feature.  Let's just say it seems worth a closer look.

I don't differentiate in the system. I think both are reward opportunities, both are worth grinding for, and both are motivationally significant. One just punishes you for failure- maybe in that case I should differentiate... there is an extra reinforcer to work hard on those tests.

Quote
3.  I'm not sure if I see how Score and Feedback are distinct steps; hopefully you can shed some light on what you see as distinguishing them.

Arguable. When I score myself in games I almost never get perfect. The reason I separate score and feedback is because I think of them as separate activities- scoring is mechanical and objective, feedback is a comparison about how I did versus how tough the work was, and a comparison to how I did last time. The result of that subjective analysis is what I call "feedback."

Quote
4.  There seems to be two distinct paths to Kicking Ass -- Studying, and (eventually) via Testing-Scoring-Feedback.  This is a little weird; I might be tempted to just grind Studying and never bother with the other route.

Go for it. Until this year I skipped practice problems and self-tests, only grinding studying. I usually get 95% + on math tests. It's fine!

It's just that to get a feeling of "Kicking Ass" from studying is tricky, so it's really hard to motivate myself to do it on it's own... :( Great when it does work.

Quote
5.  On the other hand, you can also go from Studying straight to I Suck, which I don't think I understand at all.

For example, yesterday in Physics I got completely lost in what the teacher was saying. I have only the vaguest idea what I was supposed to have learned yesterday. I consider that a "straight to I suck" moment. Rather than jumping into test problems, I think it's time to assess what went wrong and strategize about how to get unstuck and how to avoid getting stuck in the future.


Great comments so far guys!

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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2011, 03:42:18 PM »

Actually, your mentioning the endgame reminded me of something.

I think there needs a more explicit goal system throughout. Otherwise it's easy to get bogged down in a particular and not progress through a unit/subject.
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2447


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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2011, 05:02:16 PM »

What rewards are you talking about though? Cash? How much? How good were the toys? If I got $100 for every 1% I got on a test, I'd study my ass off and skip work to do it. I'd blow off my friends for that kind of money (short term). Could you elaborate? That seems like an interesting test.

Really, read the Alfie Kohn.

Paul
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"[My Life with Master] is anything but a safe game to have designed. It has balls, and then some. It is as bold, as fresh, and as incisive  now as it was when it came out." -- Gregor Hutton
Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2011, 06:50:37 PM »

Quote
Really, read the Alfie Kohn

In Calgary bookstores that title is unavailable, though I can get the other.
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2447


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« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2011, 07:17:44 PM »

It's at least ten or twelve years old. But it's a very well known and influential book. Try the library?

Paul
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"[My Life with Master] is anything but a safe game to have designed. It has balls, and then some. It is as bold, as fresh, and as incisive  now as it was when it came out." -- Gregor Hutton
Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2011, 12:56:29 PM »

Anyway, I got Reality is Broken. Very strong opening. I feel slighted- she preemptively stole my idea.

Anyway, after running this "game" for a few weeks in it's current form I can make some notes:

1- The system is obviously gamist.

I'm not exploring some theme, or roleplaying a good student. I'm trying to win. Obvious, but nice to state explicitly.

2- Importance of Goals

I need to restructure the system to allow for various levels and types of goals. The reason that 1 hour of study deserves it's own goal for me is because it's an achievement for me. However, the same goal system ought to be expanded and adapted to handle many goals.

I can replace the single large loop with various smaller, similar loops allowing for various levels of goals- for example, complete a question, complete an assignment, master a unit, master a subject, get a degree, get a job... Also need to include more explicit feedback/progress markers.

In a way, the game I'm building would be a game of setting and meeting arbitrary goals adapted to a specific purpose. The Goal Game. I'll use it for a lot of things if I can get it up and going at full tilt.

3- Feedback System

In the book Reality is Broken, the author describes Tetris's feedback system: it's auditory, as you hear lines clear. It's visual, as you see lines vanish and drop. It's intellectual, as you see your score climb and the difficulty increase. She describes this as a sensitive and strong feedback system.

There's no concrete reward for playing Tetris. I would like to incorporate a more visceral feedback system. I wish I could incorporate sound effects into my test taking, that would be powerful.

I may add a feedback chart showing my "score" as I go through assignments and exercises- track it on a big sheet just to make it visible, maybe simply grade from A-F.


==================================
I'd like to encase much of this in a rules/reward/system structure as I can, rather than using all this as a directive. I should be able to write a game manual for this.
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2011, 12:51:48 AM »

Look what I found... there's a ton of this stuff around!

http://www.khanacademy.org/about
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2011, 02:42:04 AM »

I've revised my study game. I call it the ProjekT for now ;)

I abandoned my Quake Live model: Quake Live is a sort of multifaceted project where a player attempts to execute the perfect matchup against the highest level opponents. It's many components may be approached in any order- aiming, movement, map control, dodging, weapon mastery, map awareness, value of various items... All separate aspects which each need work, and can be approached in any order.

It's similar to game design where the goal might be to build the "perfect" game that runs as intended :)

Study doesn't work like that. I find that, as far as games go, it's better to model early single player, level-by-level games like Doom, Quake 1&2, Double Dragon, Mario Bros, and even NES Zelda.

The aspects I liked when I decided this:

-Single Player- won't require me to hustle up a posse to help me.
-Specific, long term goal (rescue princess/kill bad guy)
-Broken down into discrete, manageable chunks (levels)
-No mid-game save function. If you die, you restart the level. In other words, you progress when you consistently perform, and mistakes make you restart. Consistency is IMPORTANT.
-Each level is "further" than the last- you're closer to the end goal and each level gets harder and demands more. Ascending difficulty, and therefore, worth.
-Constant feedback in the form of health stats or success/death messages.

I'm adding an achievement system to this structure as well to allow more free-form progress.

************************************************************************************8

Game Manual- The ProjekT

1-Assemble about 1000 flash cards. It sounds like a lot, but it's really only 5 packs of 200 and will cost $5-$10.
1a- For bonus points, divide that 1000 cards into 5 or more separate colors. I have blue, green, yellow, pink and red. Each represents a subject of study/goals, and you can also assign 1 or 2 colors to "extra valuable" achievements. I use "gold" cards for these.

2- Set aside an area for "goal/achievement" cards and their categories; Set aside another area to organize these cards after you've "won" them. For me, I store unmet goal cards in 4 envelopes next to my computer, tacked to a cork board. My "achieved" goal cards go into a little organizer I found at Walmart that has little card-sized compartments and slots to name each compartment- it cost about $15-$20 for both parts.

3- Peruse your study future. Decide which Study guides you'll use, what textbook chapters you'll read, which books/parts of books you'll study, what essays you'll write, and which videos you'll watch. Everything you'll utilize to help you through your project.

4- Break each resource into discrete chunks. It's easiest to explain this by example-

I separated my textbook into units, then chapters. It's not a good book, tis all I could do.
I separated my study guides into Units, then chapters, then topics within the chapter.
I separated my assignments into individual projects, and if large, I broke them down into discrete chunks.

5- Create Goal Cards out of the index cards. To prevent clutter, it's okay to combine some cards into macro-cards. On each goal card write one or more chunks from Step 4.

I have a separate card for each unit in my textbook, color coded by subject. On the card is written the name and number of each chapter.
I have a separate card for each chapter of my study guides, and on each I write the name and number of every topic within the unit that's important enough for the table of contents.
Each listing is a separate goal/achievement- they're written on the same cards to save space and simplify comprehension of your efforts.

6- Add to this pile of goals, keep organizing by category. I have achievement cards such as

"8 Hours Studied/1 day"
"16 Hours studied/2 days"
"100 Hours Studied!" [per subject]
"500 Hours Studied!" [Total, and by subject]
"Successfully meet with study group"
"Cook for myself every day for a week"

You can use this system to do a lot more than just study.

7- You will end up with a massive pile of goal index cards. Set em aside, organized in the spot you prepared. As you work on whatever project you're working on- study in this case- these cards represent the entirety of your quest, broken down into small, discrete, manageable chunks. Every single time you complete the tast described on a card, put a star or a checkmark on that card or next to the entry on the card. When every item on a card is checked/starred, put the card in your "achievement" pile. Make sure the achievement pile's visible from your work area.

That means that after you finish Chapter 2 you get to check off each topic you cover, each practice set you finish, and each test you write. Then you get to do the same for the study guide. When the card's done, add it to your achievement cards. This represents that you've concretely finished a discrete task to your satisfaction. The task had a specific goal (ex, learn the Product Rule of Derivatives and it's proof), it was discrete, challenging, and represents an addition to your abilities.

I'd advise you to ensure you know the subject before checking off a subject. As for exercises, if you make mistakes during them, redo them until you can do them all- then redo the entire set. You haven't earned the mark until you can consistently finish a problem SET without error. It requires consistency.

8- Over time you'll amass a shitload of cards. As this happens, begin using "higher value" cards to represent collections of smaller value cards. For example, I earn one index card for every hour I study. They amassed, so I started tracking multiple hours per card to save space- each hour is still an achievement- and then I replace stacks of cards with colored cards reading "50 Hours!" or "100 Hours!"

I just earned my 3rd "100 Hours!!" card :D They're on the "gold" cards I mentioned above. These cards remind me- I managed to study a subject for a HUNDRED HOURS. That's significant.

When I got my 100 Hours card I discarded my 25 Hours card and 50 hours card. The 100 Hours card supercedes it.

The idea is twofold:

1- Lots of cards takes up lots of space. What a pain.
2- When you have 10,000 cards you can't comprehend what you've done. A smaller number of "more valuable" cards is more comprehensible- you can easily understand exactly what you've done.

9- When you finish off either the last task card, or you finish your major goal, you "win." Pat yourself on the back and frame your marks statement. You earned it. What's your next goal going to be??
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happysmellyfish
Member

Posts: 49


« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2011, 03:35:46 AM »

I like this, and the fact it seems to be working for you is a great sign. I just wanted to add the probably obvious suggestion that this could be applied to an activity like "Financial Security" pretty easily.

Of course there are cards like "$100 in the bank" and "$2,000 in the bank".

But also other things like "Went the whole day without buying anything!" or "Got a rise at work!"
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2011, 03:48:16 PM »

Quote
Of course there are cards like "$100 in the bank" and "$2,000 in the bank".

But also other things like "Went the whole day without buying anything!" or "Got a rise at work!"

After I'm done with school I'm going to adapt the system to all sorts of projects.

Writing, game design, exercise, eating well...
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Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 280


« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2011, 04:01:27 PM »

Hi Nate,

http://projects.metafilter.com/3055/Habit-Judo

I just came across this today, and thought you might be interested.  It uses a point system and color/belt system to give you the feeling of "leveling up".

Chris
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2011, 09:14:07 PM »

Thanks man, I'll peruse it tomorrow afternoon :)
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