Developing games for serious use and for impact is not straight forward; despite the misinformed perception that a serious game is just a software. It is more than just a software as it has a role as an aid to facilitating learning outcomes, attitudinal change and behaviour nurturing, while attempting to entertain in one form or another. The process a designer will have to go through is highly interdisciplinary as user and subject experts influence its trajectory and iterations from the pre-production through to the post-production stage. The research rigour required in a pre-production stage forms a huge task that will hopefully shape how the game is going to be effective in the post-production stage. What measures, KPIs, assessment techniques, formal versus informal, etc. What forms success? The balance of playfulness and seriousness? Who determines this- alas no such thing as a formula. The target audience is the answer – the impact the games will produce- learning that has been enhanced, attitudes that have been moulded and behaviours that have been nurtured through the science of games. Sounds complicated and not that very straight forward to say the least.
Design cases (see Boling, 2010) could provide a way for us to document reflections of considerations and processes that went into specific development tasks, which could serve as potential guidelines. Where shall we start? Successful serious games perhaps? or the most impactful? Can we self-reflect our own design practice and extract/highlight insights that would be interesting and new?
Spring in Boston, 2015