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Janis cannon bowers serious game design and deve(bookfi org)


Serious Game Design
and Development:
Technologies for Training
and Learning
Jan Cannon-Bowers
University of Central Florida, USA
Clint Bowers
University of Central Florida, USA

InformatIon scIence reference
Hershey • New York


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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Serious game design and development : technologies for training and learning / Janis Cannon-Bowers and Clint Bowers, editors.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary: "With an increasing use of vido games in various disciplines within the scientific community, this book seeks to
understand the nature of effective games and to provide guidance for how best to harness the power of gaming technology to
successfully accomplish a more serious goal"--Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-1-61520-739-8 (hardcover) -- ISBN 978-1-61520-740-4 (ebook) 1. Video games--Design. 2. Video games industry-Technological innovations. 3. Game theory. I. Cannon-Bowers, Janis A. II. Bowers, Clint A. GV1469.3.S48 2010
794.8--dc22
2009050068

British Cataloguing in Publication Data
A Cataloguing in Publication record for this book is available from the British Library.
All work contributed to this book is new, previously-unpublished material. The views expressed in this book are those of the
authors, but not necessarily of the publisher.



Editorial Advisory Board
Gil Muniz, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, USA
Perry McDowell, Navy Postgraduate School, Canada
Denise Nicholson, ACTIVE Laboratory, UCF, USA
Ray Perez, Office of Naval Research, USA
Doug Watley, BreakAway Ltd., USA

List of Reviewers
Lucas Blair, RETRO Laboratory, UCF, USA
Sae Schatz, ACTIVE laboratory, UCF, USA
Janan Smither, Dept. of Psychology, UCF, USA
Peter Smith, ADL Co-Lab, USA
Rachel Joyce, RETRO Laboratory, UCF, USA
Denise Nicholson, ACTIVE Laboratory, UCF, USA
Steve Fiore, Department of Philosophy, UCF, USA
Rudy McDaniel, Department of Digital Media, UCF, USA
Florian Jentsch, Dept. of Psychology, UCF, USA
Bob Kenny, Dept. of Digital Media, UCF, USA


Table of Contents

Foreword ............................................................................................................................................. xiv
Preface ................................................................................................................................................ xvii
Section 1
Design Principles for Serious Games
Chapter 1
Mini-Games with Major Impacts ............................................................................................................ 1
Peter A. Smith, Joint ADL Co-Lab, USA
Alicia Sanchez, Defense Acquisition University, USA
Chapter 2
Serious Storytelling: Narrative Considerations for Serious Games Researchers
and Developers...................................................................................................................................... 13
Rudy McDaniel, University of Central Florida, USA
Stephen M. Fiore, University of Central Florida, USA
Denise Nicholson, University of Central Florida, USA
Chapter 3
An Adventure in Usability: Discovering Usability Where it was not Expected ................................... 31
Holly Blasko-Drabik, University of Central Florida, USA
Tim Smoker, University of Central Florida, USA
Carrie E. Murphy, University of Central Florida, USA


Chapter 4
Development of Game-Based Training Systems: Lessons Learned in an Inter-Disciplinary
Field in the Making ............................................................................................................................... 47
Talib Hussain, BBN Technologies, USA
Wallace Feurzeig, BBN Technologies, USA
Jan Cannon-Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA
Susan Coleman, Intelligent Decision Systems, Inc., USA
Alan Koenig, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student
Testing (CRESST), USA
John Lee, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student
Testing (CRESST), USA
Ellen Menaker, Intelligent Decision Systems, Inc., USA
Kerry Moffitt, BBN Technologies, USA
Curtiss Murphy, Alion Science and Technology, AMSTO Operation, USA
Kelly Pounds, i.d.e.a.s. Learning, USA
Bruce Roberts, BBN Technologies, USA
Jason Seip, Firewater Games LLC, USA
Vance Souders, Firewater Games LLC, USA
Richard Wainess, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student
Testing (CRESST), USA
Chapter 5
DAU CardSim: Paper Prototyping an Acquisitions Card Game .......................................................... 81
David Metcalf, University of Central Florida, USA
Sara Raasch, 42 Entertainment, USA
Clarissa Graffeo, University of Central Florida, USA
Chapter 6
Kinesthetic Communication for Learning in Immersive Worlds ........................................................ 102
Christopher Ault, The College of New Jersey, USA
Ann Warner-Ault, The College of New Jersey, USA
Ursula Wolz, The College of New Jersey, USA
Teresa Marrin Nakra, The College of New Jersey, USA
Section 2
Applications of Serious Games
Chapter 7
How Games and Simulations can Help Meet America’s Challenges in Science
Mathematics and Technology Education ............................................................................................ 117
Henry Kelly, Federation of American Scientists, USA


Chapter 8
Games for Peace: Empirical Investigations with PeaceMaker ........................................................... 134
Cleotilde Gonzalez, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Lisa Czlonka, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Chapter 9
Play’s the Thing: A Wager on Healthy Aging ..................................................................................... 150
Mihai Nadin, University of Texas at Dallas, USA
Chapter 10
Re-Purposing a Recreational Video Game as a Serious Game for Second
Language Acquisition ......................................................................................................................... 178
Yolanda A. Rankin, IBM Almaden Research Center, USA
Marcus W. Shute, Clark Atlanta University, USA
Section 3
Games in Healthcare
Chapter 11
Application of Behavioral Theory in Computer Game Design for Health Behavior Change ............ 196
Ross Shegog, UT-School of Public Health, USA
Chapter 12
Avatars and Diagnosis: Delivering Medical Curricula in Virtual Space ............................................ 233
Claudia L. McDonald, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, USA
Chapter 13
Using Serious Games for Mental Health Education ........................................................................... 246
Anya Andrews, Novonics Corporation, Training Technology Lab (TTL), USA
Rachel Joyce, University of Central Florida, USA
Clint Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA
Chapter 14
Pervasive Health Games ..................................................................................................................... 260
Martin Knöll, University of Stuttgart, Germany
Chapter 15
Influencing Physical Activity and Healthy Behaviors in College Students: Lessons
from an Alternate Reality Game ......................................................................................................... 270
Jeanne D. Johnston, Indiana University, USA
Lee Sheldon, Indiana University, USA
Anne P. Massey, Indiana University, USA


Section 4
The Way Ahead: The Future of Serious Games
Chapter 16
Establishing a Science of Game Based Learning................................................................................ 290
Alicia Sanchez, Defense Acquisition University, USA
Jan Cannon-Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA
Clint Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA
Chapter 17
The Way Ahead in Serious Games....................................................................................................... 305
Jan Cannon-Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA
Compilation of References................................................................................................................ 311
About the Contributors..................................................................................................................... 341
Index.................................................................................................................................................... 352


Detailed Table of Contents

Foreword ............................................................................................................................................. xiv
Preface ................................................................................................................................................ xvii
Section 1
Design Principles for Serious Games
This section provides several different perspectives on designing and developing serious games. Each
chapter offers a design principle or strategy that can be employed to enhance the effectiveness of serious
games. Several also include lessons learned drawn from specific serious game development efforts.
Chapter 1
Mini-Games with Major Impacts ............................................................................................................ 1
Peter A. Smith, Joint ADL Co-Lab, USA
Alicia Sanchez, Defense Acquisition University, USA
The authors describe a strategy for developing mini games that can be embedded in game-based training. They also present descriptions of several case studies that used mini-games as part of the learning
strategy.
Chapter 2
Serious Storytelling: Narrative Considerations for Serious Games Researchers
and Developers...................................................................................................................................... 13
Rudy McDaniel, University of Central Florida, USA
Stephen M. Fiore, University of Central Florida, USA
Denise Nicholson, University of Central Florida, USA
This chapter discusses the importance of narrative in serious games. These authors contend that narrative
aids can help in game design in several ways, including: increasing the player’s motivation to remain
in the game; stories can embed learning objectives; narrative can tie together elements in the game into
a coherent whole.


Chapter 3
An Adventure in Usability: Discovering Usability Where it was not Expected ................................... 31
Holly Blasko-Drabik, University of Central Florida, USA
Tim Smoker, University of Central Florida, USA
Carrie E. Murphy, University of Central Florida, USA
This chapter describes the goals of usability and how it is traditionally performed using two popular
methods. It goes on to discuss appropriate usability measures for serious games.
Chapter 4
Development of Game-Based Training Systems: Lessons Learned in an Inter-Disciplinary
Field in the Making ............................................................................................................................... 47
Talib Hussain, BBN Technologies, USA
Wallace Feurzeig, BBN Technologies, USA
Jan Cannon-Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA
Susan Coleman, Intelligent Decision Systems, Inc., USA
Alan Koenig, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student
Testing (CRESST), USA
John Lee, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student
Testing (CRESST), USA
Ellen Menaker, Intelligent Decision Systems, Inc., USA
Kerry Moffitt, BBN Technologies, USA
Curtiss Murphy, Alion Science and Technology, AMSTO Operation, USA
Kelly Pounds, i.d.e.a.s. Learning, USA
Bruce Roberts, BBN Technologies, USA
Jason Seip, Firewater Games LLC, USA
Vance Souders, Firewater Games LLC, USA
Richard Wainess, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student
Testing (CRESST), USA
This chapter describes a recent experience developing a serious game for U.S. Navy recruits to describe a
multi-disciplinary approach to serious game design. They describe their process in terms of the selection
of training requirements, the domain and the gaming platform; knowledge acquisition; story development; game design; initial instructional design; assessment strategy; software development; introductory
video; and review, refinement and testing.
Chapter 5
DAU CardSim: Paper Prototyping an Acquisitions Card Game .......................................................... 81
David Metcalf, University of Central Florida, USA
Sara Raasch, 42 Entertainment, USA
Clarissa Graffeo, University of Central Florida, USA


This chapter describes the development of a multiplayer card game that was first developed as a paper
prototype. The chapter provides a post-mortem of the iterative design process that included development
of varying levels of simple prototypes for initial design and playtesting, followed by evaluation of game
balance and refinement. They also cover the process they employed to digitize the game, and expand
the game to cover additional learning objectives.
Chapter 6
Kinesthetic Communication for Learning in Immersive Worlds ........................................................ 102
Christopher Ault, The College of New Jersey, USA
Ann Warner-Ault, The College of New Jersey, USA
Ursula Wolz, The College of New Jersey, USA
Teresa Marrin Nakra, The College of New Jersey, USA
This chapter discusses a game design architecture that exploits the pedagogical potential of a rich graphical environment using a kinesthetic interface. The authors conclude by describing directions for future
testing and application of the kinesthetic input devices in serious games.
Section 2
Applications of Serious Games
Our conception of Serious Games is the use of games for any non-entertainment purpose, although the
preponderance of attention has been given to educational or learning games. In this section, we have
included several chapters that are not strictly educational in nature to highlight the fact that other
applications are possible. That said, we believe that the potential application of games to learning
(across settings and age groups) is vast and only beginning to be tapped.
Chapter 7
How Games and Simulations can Help Meet America’s Challenges in Science
Mathematics and Technology Education ............................................................................................ 117
Henry Kelly, Federation of American Scientists, USA
The author addresses three key issues in educational game design: (1) designing the course of instruction so that it is both rigorously correct and constantly engaging, (2) ensuring that the system adapts to
the background and interests of individual learners, and (3) evaluating the expertise of learners in ways
that make sense to them and to future employers.
Chapter 8
Games for Peace: Empirical Investigations with PeaceMaker ........................................................... 134
Cleotilde Gonzalez, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Lisa Czlonka, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
This chapter describes the use of a video game to conduct empirical investigations designed to build
theoretical models of socio- psychological variables that influence dynamic decision making. Specifically,


an investigation on decision making in a dynamic and complex situation, the solution of international
conflict and the achievement of peace, using PeaceMaker, a popular video game, is presented.
Chapter 9
Play’s the Thing: A Wager on Healthy Aging ..................................................................................... 150
Mihai Nadin, University of Texas at Dallas, USA
This chapter centers on the hypothesis that the aging process results in diminished adaptive abilities
resulting from decreased anticipatory performance. To mitigate the consequences of reduced anticipatory
performance, the addresses brain plasticity through game play.
Chapter 10
Re-Purposing a Recreational Video Game as a Serious Game for Second
Language Acquisition ......................................................................................................................... 178
Yolanda A. Rankin, IBM Almaden Research Center, USA
Marcus W. Shute, Clark Atlanta University, USA
The authors report their efforts to re-purpose a recreational game as a serious game to promote learning
in the context of Second Language Acquisition. They outline the process of game transformation, which
leverages the entertainment value and readily accessible developer tools of the game.
Section 3
Games in Healthcare
Given the number of high quality proposals we received in the healthcare area, we decided to create a
separate section to highlight this important area. The chapters in this section offer a sampling of the
types of Serious Games being developed in this area. These include: games being used in the therapeutic
process, games to promote healthy behaviors, games to train healthcare professionals and pervasive
health games. These applications, as well as others related to healthcare, have the potential to play an
important role in the future of healthcare in the U.S. and across the world.
Chapter 11
Application of Behavioral Theory in Computer Game Design for Health Behavior Change ............ 196
Ross Shegog, UT-School of Public Health, USA
The chapter introduces serious game developers to processes, theories, and models that are crucial to
the development of interventions to change health behavior, and describes how these might be applied
by the serious games community.
Chapter 12
Avatars and Diagnosis: Delivering Medical Curricula in Virtual Space ............................................ 233
Claudia L. McDonald, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, USA


The author describes Pulse!! The Virtual Clinical Learning Lab—a project designed to explore the use
of games in health care by developing a reliable and valid learning platform for delivering medical curricula in virtual space. She uses the Pulse!! example to describe lessons learned in the general area of
collaboration, including issues such as funding, technology and evaluation.
Chapter 13
Using Serious Games for Mental Health Education ........................................................................... 246
Anya Andrews, Novonics Corporation, Training Technology Lab (TTL), USA
Rachel Joyce, University of Central Florida, USA
Clint Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA
The chapter addresses the mental health training and education needs of modern “at risk” populations
and discuss the potential of serious games as effective interventions for addressing those needs.
Chapter 14
Pervasive Health Games ..................................................................................................................... 260
Martin Knöll, University of Stuttgart, Germany
The author describes the potentials of serious game applications in a health context to improve user’s
motivation, education and therapy compliance. He focuses on “Pervasive Health Games”, which combine
pervasive computing technologies with serious game design strategies.
Chapter 15
Influencing Physical Activity and Healthy Behaviors in College Students: Lessons
from an Alternate Reality Game ......................................................................................................... 270
Jeanne D. Johnston, Indiana University, USA
Lee Sheldon, Indiana University, USA
Anne P. Massey, Indiana University, USA
The authors investigated the effectiveness of a prototype Alternate Reality Game – called The Skeleton
Chase – in influencing physical activity and wellness of college-age students.
Section 4
The Way Ahead: The Future of Serious Games
This section includes chapters that focus on looking toward the future of serious games. Specifically,
it addresses how to establish a science of serious game design that is meant to stimulate research and
applications. In addition, it includes a commentary on the way ahead in Serious Games.
Chapter 16
Establishing a Science of Game Based Learning ............................................................................... 290
Alicia Sanchez, Defense Acquisition University, USA
Jan Cannon-Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA
Clint Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA


The authors offer a simple framework for organizing variables important in the learning process and
then discuss findings from psychology and education as a basis to formulate a research agenda for gamebased training. The goal of the framework is to stimulate researchers to conduct systematic, appropriately
controlled experiments that will provide insight into how various game features affect motivation and
learning.
Chapter 17
The Way Ahead in Serious Games....................................................................................................... 305
Jan Cannon-Bowers, University of Central Florida, USA
The author summarizes the major themes that emerge from the previous chapters and offers some observations and presents suggestions for the way ahead in Serious Games and their application to important
societal challenges.
Compilation of References................................................................................................................ 311
About the Contributors..................................................................................................................... 341
Index.................................................................................................................................................... 352


xiv

Foreword: Does Game Technology Matter?

Among the ruins of ancient Egypt there are multiple references to games that were popular among the
Pharaohs. The remains and images of the game of Senet date back to 3,000BC. This board game contains features similar to modern checkers and a method of play reminiscent of a horse race around the
board. Though primarily a game for entertainment, it was also used as a mystic tool to foretell the future.
Egyptians believed that the square that a player’s piece ended on contained special significance about
what would happen to the person in the future. Though we would consider this superstition, the players
at that time took the results as guidance on decisions about commerce, farming, religion, or family.
Around 1,400BC the game of Mancala emerged in Africa. It was a tool used to account for livestock
and crops, and a form of entertainment. Tribesmen used the board and stones to negotiate the trade of
goods, and perhaps to gamble for a better exchange. But they also passed the time in the fields playing
a version of Mancala that had no economic consequences, but was purely a form of entertainment.
In 1956, Charles Roberts developed the components of the modern board wargame as a tool to help
him prepare for his commissioning in the U.S. Army. But by 1958 he realized the commercial value of
this wargame and created the Avalon Hill game company to market it to thousands of avid “armchair
generals” who were eager to test and develop their own tactical military skills, but for entertainment.
For the next four decades Avalon Hill and several competitors created wargames for both entertainment
and military training.
Were these games primarily and initially entertainment or serious tools for guiding life decisions?
There was really no hard division between the two purposes. There is no law of nature that says tools
for education and training cannot be enjoyable to use, or that such tools cannot be inspired by or created
from applications that were initially entertainment. The dual nature of games has been with us for at
least 5,000 years. Today we may have replaced dice made from sheep knucklebones for computerized,
pseudo-random number generation algorithms, but we continue to look to the results of game play for
insight into important problems in our lives. Now we place our faith in the accuracy of mathematical
and logical algorithms rather than the mystical forces influencing the roll of the die, but we continue to
construct games that can challenge our thinking and guide us to a better understanding of the world.

What is a Game?
What makes some activities and tools into games, while others are considered completely serious
tools? In his 1970 book entitled Serious Games, Clark Abt defined a game with these words, “reduced
to its formal essence, a game is an activity among two or more independent decision-makers seeking
to achieve their objectives in some limiting context. A more conventional definition would say that a
game is a context with rules among adversaries trying to win objectives.” In a 2005 issue of IEEE Com-


xv

puter, Mike Zyda defined a game as, “a physical or mental contest, played according to specific rules,
with the goal of amusing or rewarding the participant.” He went on to suggest that a serious game was,
“a mental contest, played with a computer in accordance with specific rules that uses entertainment to
further government or corporate training, education, health, public policy, and strategic communication
objectives.” Zyda explicitly points to the desirable goal of using “entertainment” to further the goals of
the organization, to harness entertainment, fun, engagement, challenge, and trail-and-error to get people
to learn more or to learn faster.
Academics like Andrew Hargadon at University of Southern California explore the difficulties
involved in adopting tools and practices from other industries. There is a psychological, social, and
professional barrier that keeps people from accepting ideas that were “not invented here.” The barrier
between “serious business” and “frivolous entertainment” is even higher, wider, and deeper than those
between industrial professions. Industries may adopt new computers, networks, materials, and energy
sources. But reaching into the entertainment industry for something that can improve effectiveness is
considered quite a daring and questionable move.

Game technoloGy
Games have created and introduced new technologies for centuries. Ancient games offered numbered
throwing sticks, the predecessors to dice and random number generators, as a means of making decisions
with limited information. Board wargames of the 1950’s introduced the hexagonal tessellation of terrain,
a concept that is still used in cellular communications models as an approximation to the circular area
covered by a tower. Charles Roberts introduced the combat results table as a means of enriching the
military results from the throw of a die. Today all military models use extensive algorithms to make decisions, but often retain a random number generator as a nondeterministic influence in those algorithms.
Currently it is difficult to determine whether computer hardware and software technologies are
“game technologies” or “serious technologies”. Graphics cards, network cards, and multi-core chips are
all essential for the play of the latest computer games. But should they be tagged as serious or entertainment technologies? Does it matter? Does it help?
Recently the gaming industry has been the source of some of the best software technologies on
the market. The 3D scene generators or game engines are far superior in performance and features to
competing applications created in serious industries and academia. Game companies have adopted the
principles of man-machine interfaces and effective graphical user interfaces to create complex applications
for which no user’s manual is required. But similar interfaces in serious industries can be so complex
that multi-day courses are required to learn to use them. Games have isolated the most essential physics and human behavior features such that they can be incorporated into an application that can run on
a consumer PC. They are certainly not the highest fidelity models of physics or artificial intelligence,
but they are the most accessible and among most useful. Multiplayer games have advanced networking
protocols and libraries so that players can join the virtual world from anyplace on the planet. But what
serious industry applications provide this type of ad hoc collaboration?
The financial incentives and the personal energy that drive the creation of new technologies in
the game industry have led to technologies that are just too valuable to be excluded from other serious
industrial applications. All industries have got to take these technologies seriously or risk being passed
by competitors who will use them.


xvi

Does Game technoloGy matter?
Game technologies have been adopted for military training, medical education, emergency management,
city planning, spacecraft engineering, architectural design, religious proselyzation, political communication, movie making, and advertising – to name a few. These are far from being the dominant applications
in any of these fields. But they gain ground every year as young game players become serious business
people and as older business people become more avid game players. The barriers are falling. Each year
more people are able to peer through the science fiction veneer of a space game and see the powerful
computer science beneath. They understand the advantages of putting this technology to use, and doing
so before a competitor does the same. In his 2003 Harvard Business Review article entitled “IT Doesn’t
Matter”, Nicholas Carr shook up the business and the IT worlds with his observation that IT initially
provided a competitive advantage. But after mass adoption, all industries had harnessed its power, and
IT became as essential to modern business as electricity had been to the industrial revolution. It had
transcended its own uniqueness and become essential. If game technology is as successful, it will lose
its niche status to become an essential part of running an effective and profitable business.
Roger Smith

references
Abt, C. (1970). Serious games. New York: The Viking Press.
Beck, J.C. and Wade, M. (2004). Got game: How the gamer generation is reshaping business forever.
Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Carr, N. (May 2003). “IT doesn’t matter”. Harvard Business Review.
Michael, D and Chen, S. (2005). Serious games: Games that educate, train, and inform. New York:
Thompson Publishing.
Orbanes, P.E. (2004). The Game makers: The Story of Parker Brothers. Boston: Harvard Business
School Press.
Perla, P. (1990). The Art of wargaming. Naval Institute Press.
Smith, R. (January 2006). “Technology disruption in the simulation industry”. Journal of Defense
Modeling and Simulation.
Zyda, M. (September 2005). “From visual simulation to virtual reality to games”. IEEE Computer.


xvii

Preface

As many have observed, the use of video game techniques and technologies for purposes other than
purely entertainment has gained attention in recent years. So called serious games—those that have a
non-entertainment purpose—are beginning to be developed in a variety of settings, including healthcare,
education, and workplace learning. Despite the popularity of serious games, however, there are only
now beginning to be rigorous attempts to guide application of the technologies, and evaluation of their
ability to meet their intended goals. The purpose of this volume is to provide a cross section of the work
being done in this burgeoning area.
The volume is organized around three themes: Design Principles for Serious Games, Applications
of Serious Games, Games in Healthcare, The Way Ahead: A Roadmap for the Future of Serious Games.
We should note that we did not necessarily intend to pull Healthcare out as a separate section, but we
received so many quality chapter proposals in this area that we decided to group them together. This
may be a function of the funding available to study health-related games (e.g., Robert Woods Johnson
Foundation’s Games for Health program) or attention being given to this area (e.g., the annual Games
for Health Conference and Healthcare reform in general). In any case, much good work is taking place
in this sector and will hopefully transfer over to other application areas.
The following sections describe the major themes of the book, along with a description of the chapters
that fall within them.

Section 1: Design Principles for Serious Games
This section provides several different perspectives on designing and developing serious games. Each
chapter offers a design principle or strategy that can be employed to enhance the effectiveness of serious
games. Several also include lessons learned drawn from specific serious game development efforts.
In the chapter entitled “Mini-Games with Major Impacts,” Smith and Sanchez describe a strategy
for developing mini games that can be embedded in game-based training. These authors address how
mini-games can be used for conceptual or procedural knowledge and provide theoretical arguments from:
Cognitive Learning Theory, Social Cognitive Theory, and Motivation. They also present descriptions
of several case studies that used mini-games as part of the learning strategy. Smith & Sanchez conclude
that mini-games have become sophisticated enough to be included in serious games.
McDaniel, Fiore, and Nicholson then discuss the importance of narrative in serious games in their
chapter, “Serious Storytelling: Narrative Considerations for Serious Games Researchers and Developers.” Specifically, they highlight the congruence between the game’s story and its learning content as a
mechanism to enhance the player’s immersion in the game. These authors contend that narrative aids
can help in game design in several ways, including: increasing the player’s motivation to remain in the
game, stories can embed learning objectives, and narrative can tie together elements in the game into


xviii

a coherent whole. They go on to cover selected narratological principles, interactive narratology, and
then present a preliminary narrative taxonomy to guide research and development. They conclude with
implications for the field.
In the chapter by Blasko-Drabik, Smoker, and Murphy, “An Adventure in Usability: Discovering Usability Where it was not Expected,” these authors define usability as it is employed in software design. As
with other software applications, it is important to establish the usability of a serious game to ensure that
poor interface design does not interfere with learning. These authors describe the goals of usability and
how it is traditionally performed using two popular methods. They go on to discuss appropriate usability
measures for serious games. They compare two major methods and then conclude with a description of
how usability analyses can be used to improve game design.
Next, Hussain and colleagues use a recent experience developing a serious game for U.S. Navy
recruits to describe a multi-disciplinary approach to serious game design. In the chapter entitled, “Development of Game-Based Training Systems: Lessons Learned in an Inter-Disciplinary Field in the
Making”, these authors begin with a number of theoretical justifications for using games in learning,
and then describe the process they employed in developing the serious game. Specifically, they describe
their process in terms of the selection of training requirements, the domain and the gaming platform;
knowledge acquisition; story development; game design; initial instructional design; assessment strategy;
software development; introductory video; and review, refinement and testing. In each of the sections,
they identify a number of tensions that need to be resolved as the game is being developed. They go on
to provide lessons learned by describing how each of the tensions was resolved. These lessons learned
can be of use to future serious game designers.
In the chapter entitled, “DAU CardSim: Paper Prototyping an Acquisitions Card Game”, Metcalf,
Raasch, and Graffeo describe development of a multiplayer card game that was first developed as a
paper prototype. The game, a multiplayer scenario-based card game, was designed to teach skills associated with Department of Defense acquisition procedures and teamwork. The chapter provides a
post-mortem of the iterative design process that included development of varying levels of simple prototypes for initial design and playtesting, followed by evaluation of game balance and refinement. They
also cover the process they employed to digitize the game, and expand the game to cover additional
learning objectives. Finally, they provide a series of lessons learned as they relate to paper prototyping
as a design strategy.
The final chapter in this section, “Kinesthetic Communication for Learning in Immersive Worlds”,
by Ault, Warner-Ault, Wolz, and Nakra, posits a game design architecture that exploits the pedagogical potential of a rich graphical environment using a kinesthetic interface (such as the one used by the
Nintendo Wii). They explain that their approach is grounded in the game’s content so that genuine
learning can occur in context. Furthermore, the kinesthetic interface is consistent with research showing
that movement-based methods are more effective in language learning than more traditional methods.
The authors conclude by describing directions for future testing and application of the kinesthetic input
devices in serious games.

Section 2: Applications of Serious Games
As noted, our conception of Serious Games is the use of games for any non-entertainment purpose, although the preponderance of attention has been given to educational or learning games. In this section,
we have included several chapters that are not strictly educational in nature to highlight the fact that
other applications are possible. That said, we believe that the potential application of games to learning
(across settings and age groups) is vast and only beginning to be tapped.


xix

To begin this section, Kelly provides compelling statistics showing that the quality of education in
the U.S. is in dire need of improvement in his chapter, “How Games and Simulations can Help Meet
America’s Challenges in Science Mathematics and Technology Education.” Fortunately, he contends
that modern technology has the potential to make learning more productive, more engaging, and more
closely tailored to the interests and backgrounds of individual learners. According to Kelly, computer
games provide a particularly good example of what can be achieved because they often require players
to master complex skills to advance in the game. He goes on to address three key issues in educational
game design: (1) designing the course of instruction so that it is both rigorously correct and constantly
engaging, (2) ensuring that the system adapts to the background and interests of individual learners, and
(3) evaluating the expertise of learners in ways that make sense to them and to future employers, using
a game called “Immune Attack” as his example.
In the next chapter, “Games for Peace: Empirical Investigations with PeaceMaker,” Gonzalez and
Czlonka provide a example of using a video game to conduct empirical investigations designed to build
theoretical models of socio- psychological variables that influence dynamic decision making. Specifically, they present an investigation on decision making in a dynamic and complex situation, the solution of international conflict and the achievement of peace, using PeaceMaker, a popular video game.
PeaceMaker represents the historical conditions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and provides players
with an opportunity to resolve the conflict. Students in an Arab-Israeli history course played perspectives of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the beginning and end of the semester. Student actions were
recorded and analyzed along with information about their personality, religious, political affiliation,
trust attitude, and number of gaming hours per week. The authors offer several conclusions regarding
the manner in which these variables affect conflict resolution, hence the game served as a mechanism to
better understand the phenomenon of interest. Many other applications of this approach to sutdy human
behavior in complex systems seem obvious.
Nadin begins the next chapter, “Play’s the Thing: A Wager on Healthy Aging,” with the hypothesis that
the aging process results in diminished adaptive abilities resulting from decreased anticipatory performance.
To mitigate the consequences of reduced anticipatory performance, he addresses brain plasticity through
game play. Since anticipation is expressed in action, the games conceived, designed, and produced for
triggering brain plasticity need to engage the sensory, cognitive, and motoric aspects of performance.
Nadin offers a rich theoretical foundation upon which to design and validate such games.
A popular notion among those developing serious games is that entertainment games can be repurposed to accomplish serious objectives. In their chapter, “Re-Purposing a Recreational Video Game as
a Serious Game for Second Language Acquisition,” Rankin and Shute describe efforts to re-purpose the
recreational Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) EverQuest® II as a serious
game to promote learning in the context of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). They outline the process of game transformation, which leverages the entertainment value and readily accessible developer
tools of the game. They identify the affordances attributed to MMORPGs and then evaluate the impact
of gameplay experiences on SLA. Promising results are described.

Section 3: Games in Healthcare
Given the number of high quality proposals we received in the healthcare area, we decided to create
a separate section to highlight this important area. The chapters in this section offer a sampling of the
types of Serious Games being developed in this area. These include: games being used in the therapeutic
process, games to promote healthy behaviors, games to train healthcare professionals, and pervasive
health games. These applications, as well as others related to healthcare, have the potential to play an
important role in the future of healthcare in the U.S. and across the world.


xx

In the introductory chapter in this section, “Application of Behavioral Theory in Computer Game
Design for Health Behavior Change,” Shegog provides an excellent overview of behavioral theories and
how they might be used to promote health behaviors. The chapter introduces serious game developers
to processes, theories, and models that are crucial to the development of interventions to change health
behavior, and describes how these might be applied by the serious games community. Shegog goes on
to describe the protocols, theories, and models that have informed the development of interventions in
health behavior change and reviews them in terms of their potential contribution to serious game design,
implementation, and evaluation. The author describes a serious game application aimed at cognitivebased gaming in adolescents to exemplify this.
Next, McDonald asserts that virtual-world technologies have advanced to the point where they can
be considered as a viable method for delivering medical curricula effectively and safely. In her chapter
entitled “Avatars and Diagnosis: Delivering Medical Curricula in Virtual Space,” she contends further
that research must establish that such systems are reliable and valid tools for delivering medical curricula;
otherwise, they are of no use to the medical community, regardless of their technical sophistication.
McDonald then describes Pulse!! The Virtual Clinical Learning Lab—a project designed to explore these
issues by developing a reliable and valid learning platform for delivering medical curricula in virtual
space. She uses the Pulse!! example to describe lessons learned in the general area of collaboration,
including issues such as funding, technology and evaluation. She concludes with a discussion of what
lies ahead for the Pulse!! research and development project.
In the chapter by Andrews, Joyce, and Bowers, called “Using Serious Games for Mental Health
Education,” these authors address the mental health training and education needs of modern “at risk”
populations and discuss the potential of serious games as effective interventions for addressing those
needs. These authors pay particular attention to the importance of prevention training and ways in which
serious games can be designed to facilitate the prevention process. They focus specifically on interventions targeted at the development of appropriate coping skills associated with certain sets of mental
health risks. Within the chapter, the authors describe several specific mental health-related serious game
efforts and discuss design considerations for effective serious games.
Knöll then discusses the potentials of serious game applications in a health context to improve user’s
motivation, education, and therapy compliance. He focuses on “Pervasive Health Games,” which combine
pervasive computing technologies with serious game design strategies. They represent a new instantiation of gameplay essentially using the user’s environment as the play space, and therefore extending
into their everyday life. Knöll presents the new typology of PHG as an interdisciplinary field, consisting
of health care, psychology, game design, sports science, and urban research. A brief introduction to the
theme is illustrated with a conceptual “showcase,” a pervasive game for young diabetics.
Capitalizing on the trend toward developing games for physical activity (so called, “exergaming”),
Johnston, Sheldon, and Massey describe a game designed to influence physical activity and wellness in
the college-age population. In their chapter entitled “Influencing Physical Activity and Healthy Behaviors
in College Students: Lessons from an Alternate Reality Game,” these authors describe how they were
motivated to develop the game based on statistics showing that in the transition to college individual
demonstrate an alarming decrease in physical activity. Simultaneously, a significant weight gain during
early college years has been shown to increase the risk of obesity and associated diseases later in life
such as diabetes and coronary heart disease. In this study, the authors investigated the effectiveness of a
prototype Alternate Reality Game (ARG) – called The Skeleton Chase – in influencing physical activity
and wellness of college-age students. A growing game genre, an ARG is an interactive narrative that uses
the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media (e.g., game-related web sites, game-related
blogs, public web sites, search engines, text/voice messages, video, etc.) to reveal a story. They provide
preliminary findings on the effectiveness of the game as well as lesson learned to guide future efforts.


xxi

Section 4: The Way Ahead: A Roadmap for the Future of Serious Games
In the final section, we included chapters that focus on looking toward the future of serious games.
First, in the chapter entitled “Establishing a Science of Game Based Learning,” Sanchez, CannonBowers, and Bowers offer a simple framework for organizing variables important in the learning process
and then discuss findings from psychology and education as a basis to formulate a research agenda for
game-based training. These include: characteristics of the user, pedagogical features embedded in the
game, and game design features. These can all affect the user’s motivation to interact with the game,
and in turn, influence learning, while some of the features may also exert a direct impact on learning.
The authors’ purpose in presenting this framework is to stimulate researchers to conduct systematic,
appropriately controlled experiments that will provide insight into how various game features affect
motivation and learning. According to these authors, by following theoretically-based roadmap, a true
science of educational games can be formed.
In the final chapter, “The Way Ahead in Serious Games,” Cannon-Bowers attempts to summarize some
of the major themes found throughout the volume. She offers some observations and presents suggestions
for the way ahead in serious games and their application to important societal challenges.
Overall, we are moved to comment that serious games hold great promise as a means to reach and
affect large numbers of people in a positive way. Capitalizing on the popularity of video games, along
with emerging digital technologies and more accessible delivery methods, those seeking to affect positive change in the future may find that serious games are a useful mechanism to both study and influence
human behavior. We believe that efforts to investigate serious games and their impact in scientifically
valid and rigorous ways must continue if this potential is to be reached.
Jan Cannon-Bowers & Clint Bowers
Orlando, Florida
July, 2009


Section 1

Design Principles for Serious
Games


1

Chapter 1

Mini-Games with Major Impacts
Peter A. Smith
Joint ADL Co-Lab, USA
Alicia Sanchez
Defense Acquisition University, USA

abstract
The concept of mini-games has long been associated with small uninspired games found in conventional
Computer Based Training (CBT). They have traditionally been made up of simple quizzes or matching
games that have done little to engage the players in the learning event. This, however, is no longer the
case. With advances in mini-game design paradigms, mini-games have become an effective means to
engage learners with a specific learning objective both standalone and in the context of a greater training application. This work will explore educational and training mini-game development within Defense
Acquisition University (DAU), National Science Foundation (NSF), and others.

introDuction
Mini-games, those simple little downloadable games
that are commonly found in conventional web-based
training courses, should no longer be considered
as nothing more than a distraction breaking up the
content from the inevitable test that will be presented
on the next slide. Mini-games have come into their
own as a legitimate form of training and education
through games.
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-739-8.ch001

Mini-Games commonly reside on the opposite
side of the gaming spectrum from conventional
games. They are usually small games that are easy
to learn, hard to master. Think of “Tetris” as a good
example of a Mini-Game. Anyone can play “Tetris”
but it is hard to be very good at “Tetris.” While conventional games might take days or weeks to play,
Mini-Games are often played for under an hour.
Educational Mini-Games follow the same philosophy while containing a single learning goal. A
Mini-Game could, for example, teach vector addition. It would not go further to include positive and

Copyright © 2010, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.


Mini-Games with Major Impacts

negative acceleration, but provide a concentrated
experience for only the one learning objective.
The design of mini-games has matured from
simple matching games, and quizzes to allow
for real interaction with training concepts in a
meaningful way.

using mini-Games for Procedural
and conceptual learning objectives
Mixed results have been generated on the use
of games and simulations in the classroom. A
study by Randel, Morris, Wetzel & Whitehill
(1992) examined 68 studies that used games and
simulations in the classroom to enhance learning.
Finding indicated that of the 68 studies in which
games and simulations were considered, 22 of
them enhanced student performance. Twelve
of the studies also indicated that students were
more interested in games and simulations than
traditional classroom instruction. Thirty-eight of
the studies had no impact on student performance,
however, making the implementation of games and
simulations into classrooms a risky notion. Ricci,
Salas & Cannon-Bowers (1996) supported these
findings by explaining that although games could
stimulate more interest than traditional classroom
based instruction, they might not provide any additional value to the education.
Over the last several years, the concept of using serious games for teaching and training has
gained a considerable amount of popular support
in a wide array of fields. Unfortunately, the potential benefits of the use of games in education
and training has been relegated to the use of large
and often very expensive game systems, designed
to target entire learning systems or to serve as
capstone and cumulative experiences. There has
been little to no attention paid to the use of minigames in order to target both part task training
and smaller learning objectives.
Taking their cues from the casual gaming
market, mini-games are essentially small games
that distil a complex learning concept into a small

2

extremely targeted amount of game play. Minigames have the potential to reinforce a single or
small group of learning objectives by providing
bite sized, replayable, engaging, and motivating
learning experiences.
Often education and training systems as a whole
are designed to provide a student with both core
knowledge and the application of that knowledge.
While learning systems as a whole are usually
targeted towards a performance oriented outcome,
creating meaningful relationships between the
concepts required to achieve those outcomes and
practicing the concepts learned within context can
both be achieved through the use of single serving
game applications.

Mini-Games for Conceptual Information
Mini-Games that are used to provide conceptual
information often rely on the retention of information. A good example of this type of game
is the common children’s game “Memory.” In
“Memory” the player has a field of cards laid out
in front of them face down. They first flip a card
over revealing its value and then flip another card
hoping to find the match of the previous card. If
a match is found they remove the card from the
group. If no match is found they try again, until
all cards are removed from the group. This game
requires the player to utilize memorization to
complete the game. The intended result of these
games if for the player to memorize the concepts
contained on the cards.

Mini-Games for Procedural Information
Procedural focused mini-games are a newly
formed incarnation of the mini-game genre. They
have become a staple of the Party Game genre of
entertainment games and are much more complex than their Conceptual counterparts but still
maintain the easy to pick up and play, targeted
information delivery, of the mini-game paradigm.
These mini-games provide the player with a situ-


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