This week a huge convention for video game companies called E3 happened. Because of this there have been a lot of new products announced. Earlier this week I posted a video about a game called Assassins Creed 3, which I was amazed with. Today I found another video about a game engine called Unreal Engine 4.
The Unreal Engine is the basis for many successful games so this technology will be widespread in a few years. First the video, then some thoughts. (H/T Kotaku)
The realism is pretty impressive! Ok so what about educational games? I’ve been thinking about them for a while. Many people think games will be a part of how we learn in the future but what will be their characteristics? I taught about video games at college for 11 years so I have done quite a bit of thinking about this.
- Kids play games because they are fun, not because they are video games. In other words, if it’s not fun kids won’t do it.
- The sorts of learning should be intrinsic to the game, it should not jar you out of the experience. Example: In Angry Birds you learn intrinsically about physics, but you don’t have to do math equations to do it.
- School is different from learning. Students love learning, but hate school therefore games can help improve their attitudes.
- A game shouldn’t force a right answer. Students should be allowed to do it wrong and see what happens.
- People play games in order to solve challenges. They have to be hard enough to keep their attention, but not too easy where it gets boring. Therefore the game will need to scale the difficulty for the players.
- More and more players expect to be able to put their mark on the game world. They want to be able to play with their friends and personalize their experience. What would be excellent would be a learning game where a group with diverse learning objectives have to quest together in order to solve a series of challenges. Each can bring some knowledge to the table and teach each other. Teaching is the highest form of knowledge mastery.
Making successful educational video games is a very difficult task and my hat is off for those who can pull it off!