Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
the theoretical issues regarding the game design
process, and the practitioners' concerns are very
different from the researchers'. Therefore, there
is a tendency to work in isolation.
During the design of the game SimCompany,
we followed an approach inspired by the best
practices in user-centered design, but along the
specific lines of human-work interaction design.
This lead to a novel multidisciplinary approach we
found particularly useful when designing business
management games.
The main actors involved in such an approach
ers need practical guidance (not canned solutions),
as well as concrete principles. Good models and
good tools should highlight opportunities for in-
novation, leave the details open (concentrating on
essentials), invite creative projection and inform
- and guide - towards good design.
Human-Work Interaction Design (HWID)
is the subfield in Human-Computer Interaction
(HCI), which was the core influence of this game's
design approach. HWID is in fact a relatively
recent research field, which was born under the
auspices of IFIP's Working Group 13.6. In a 2005
workshop (Clemmensen et al., 2005), researchers
outlined new themes and directions of research
on human work analysis and design to support it.
The main target of the work group is the analysis
of and the design for the variety of complex work
and life contexts found in different business.
Software design (which includes interaction de-
sign) is often a team activity and most projects
involve stakeholders with different backgrounds
that must cooperate in many different and inter-
related activities, so it fits well into the Working
Group's directions.
Complex work activities increase the difficulty
of predicting the level of acceptance of novel
technology and how it will be used in practice. An
important and open research question is how to
translate usability evaluation results into concrete
design decisions.
In this context, the approach we followed was
based on analyzing the actual work that business
managers perform when conducting their business
operations and from that point we established a
creative game script aimed at engaging children
but also making them learn the day-to-day real
work of a businessman. The approach followed for
each of the game's levels was broadly divided into
three three sets of activities. The first one included
(i) cognitive analysis, (ii) definition of learning
objectives and (iii) definition of game variables.
Activity (i) was directly concerned with outlining
the kind of decisions that are made by business
managers and entrepreneurs, when leading their
Interaction and visual designers;
Computer programmers;
Human-Computer Interaction researchers;
Business Managers;
Entrepreneurship academic researchers;
Children (the end-users).
However, simply joining these different-back-
ground, different-age actors into a single meetings
room is obviously not enough to guarantee that
a successful game is created. What we propose
is a multi-disciplinary approach that focuses the
game's design and implementation on the actual
learning goals that are desired. By centering the
whole game project on the actual work performed
by real business managers, the gaming experience
will become particularly educational, since players
will be faced with game decisions very close to
the core of a business manager's everyday tasks
and decisions.
Design Approach
Trying to promote a better understanding of the
relationship between work-domain based ex-
perimental studies and iterative design of game
prototypes can only be achieved by designing
new methods and models that are more useful
and usable. In the context of games, the work of
interaction designers is very multifaceted: design-
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