Notes 20140428

Zarf - IF
Games in the Classroom
1000 White Cards
Tsuro (like multi-player Chrome game: Entanglement)
The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game - other youtube videos -> check out
  • ATLAS Speaker Series: Designing Coursework as a Game 
  • The Multiplayer Classroom filetype:pdf
  • https://sites.google.com/a/rlsms.com/knowledge-quest/home
  • http://www.edutopia.org/groups/games-learning
  • [Book] The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game
  • https://www.iusb.edu/ucet/programs/ucet-digital-badges/badges-applications/gressick_bronze_badge_gaming.pdf
  • http://www.ted.com/talks/jesse_schell_when_games_invade_real_life
  • http://www.g4tv.com/videos/44277/DICE-2010-Design-Outside-the-Box-Presentation/
  • http://terranova.blogs.com/terra_nova/2010/03/build-your-own-sheldon-syllabus.html
  • https://www.facebook.com/MultiplayerClassroom
  • http://gamingtheclassroom.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/mentions-of-lees-game-design-class/
  • Gaming the Classroom Syllabus


    Indiana University, Bloomington
    Department of Telecommunications
    T366: Multiplayer Game Design
    Section 13353
    Spring 2010
    Email: clsheldo@indiana.edu

    Focus is on massively-multiplayer online games and virtual worlds. Students will be introduced to the design elements and production requirements necessary to create and maintain online games. We will study various existing worlds from major commercial worlds like World of Warcraft to free web-based games.

    This class is designed as a multiplayer game.
    Class time will be divided between fighting monsters (Quizzes, Exams etc.), completing quests (Presentations of Games, Research etc.) and crafting (Personal Game Premises, Game Analysis Papers, Video Game Concept Document etc.).
    At the beginning of the semester everyone in the class will choose and name their avatars. The first task is to craft the premise of a multiplayer game you would like to design. Guilds to craft these games will be chosen, balanced as closely as possible by l33t skillz and interests. Guilds will choose their names. There will be six guilds of six-seven members each depending upon final class size.
    Grading Procedure
    You will begin on the first day of class as a Level One avatar. Level Twelve is the highest level you can achieve:

    Level XP* Letter Grade
    Level Twelve 1860 A
    Level Eleven 1800 A-
    Level Ten 1740 B+
    Level Nine 1660 B
    Level Eight 1600 B-
    Level Seven 1540 C+
    Level Six 1460 C
    Level Five 1400 C-
    Level Four 1340 D+
    Level Three 1260 D
    Level Two 1200 D-
    Level One 0 F

    *Your level will be determined by experience points (XP) on a 2000 XP scale. You gain XP by defeating mobs, completing quests and crafting.
    ·      Solo: Craft your own game proposal. (Written, 50 pts.)
    ·      Solo: Present your game proposal to the class. (25 pts.)
    ·      Solo: Sell your game proposal to the class. (Extra credit. 25 pts.)
    ·      Raid: Guild reading presentation (75 pts. each person, 1 of these per guild)
    ·      Pick-Up Group: 2-Player reading presentation (150 pts. each person, cannot team with fellow guild member) OR
    ·      Solo: 1-Player reading presentation (150 pts. but easier than above)
    ·      Solo: Craft 3 page report on MMO article (Written, 75 pts.)
    ·      Solo: Craft 3 page analysis of MMO-based research topic (Written, 100 pts.)
    ·      Solo: Craft 5 page analysis on MMO of your choice (Written, 125 pts.)
    ·      Solo: Defeat Five Random Mobs (5 written reading quizzes, 250 pts. total, 1 extra credit question per quiz)
    ·      Solo: Defeat Level Boss (Midterm Exam, 400 pts.)
    ·      Guild: Paper Prototype Presentation (50 pts. each)
    ·      Guild: Craft Final Project: Video Game Concept (Written, 400 pts.)
    ·      Solo: Class attendance (300 skill pts. total, 10 to start. 290 additional pts. at 10 pts. per day of attendance)
    ·      Extra credit for early completion of final proposal (10 pts./Monday; 5 pts./Tuesday; see calendar)
    ·      Solo Camping: Glossary Building (Extra credit. 1 pt. per entry. 50 pt. cap per player. First come first served. Each mob only spawns once.)
    ·      Group: Peer Review Secret Ballot (Extra credit. 0-100 possible XP as follows:
    1.     Guild Leader 100 pts.
    2.     Raid Leader 75 pts.
    3.     Solid Guild Crafter 50 pts.
    4.     Needs Rez 25 pts.
    5.     Leroy Jenkins 0 pts.
    Grading is rigorous. Spelling, grammar and punctuation must be proofed. Points will be deducted otherwise.

    Attendance and Conduct
    You are expected to attend every class. Assignments are due at the beginning of every class. Late assignments will subtract from the grade for that assignment, one half letter grade for each day the assignment is late.
    Plagiarism, submitting assignments written by others, and other forms of academic misconduct are governed by university policy. In a word: DON’T.
    Classroom conduct: Participate with civility and an abiding appreciation for the power of words. Respect others, even those who hold opposing views.
    Required Text
    Designing Virtual Worlds. Richard Bartle.
    Character Development and Storytelling for Games. Lee Sheldon.
    Suggested Reading
    Developing Online Games. Mulligan and Petrovsky.
    Massively Multiplayer Game Development. Thor Alexander et al.
    Synthetic Worlds. Edward Castronova.
    Community Building on the Web. Amy Jo Kim
    My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World. Julian Dibbell
    A Theory of Fun. Raph Koster
    Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

    Notes & Observations

    Additional Notes on the Syllabus & Observations
    1.      Guilds sit together. The classroom is divided into six zones. Each zone is identified by the name of a significant individual covered in class. For the Multiplayer Game Design class zones had names like the Fields of Koster and Garriott Gardens. Every few classes guilds move to a new zone (so slackers can’t cluster at the back for an entire semester!), and receive extra credit for answering questions regarding the person it is named after. Since they don’t know the questions in advance, they do research on their own. Last semester in our Theory and Practice of Game Design class I was planning to hide some quiz answers, taped to the bottom of chairs in each zone. They still had to match the answers to the questions, but they were encouraged to trade the information with one another. This directed their preparation for quizzes, forcing them to study when ordinarily many wouldn’t bother.
    2.      Quests labeled “solo” in the syllabus are completed by individual students.
    3.      Quests labeled “pick-up group” are completed by pairs of students not in the same guild. This helps foster a community in the class as a whole. Community is a very important word in MMO design.
    4.      Quests labeled “guild” are completed by all guild members. The guilds are given the option on how they would like to complete them. If they like, only one member needs to do all the work. In every case the guilds have decided on their own to work together.
    5.      The reading presentation quests were delivered to the class by their fellow students, with questions and comments from me. They relied on PowerPoint for the most part, supplemented by illustrations drawn on the board, and YouTube videos. I coached them on how to deliver PowerPoint talks (e.g. not simple bulleted lists that they read aloud); and to find new and innovative approaches. A guild last week built their presentation as a game! Every so often they had multiple-choice questions on material they had just covered, and awarded candy to those who got the questions right. They had the full attention of their classmates for an hour. It was awesome!
    6.      Solo Camping: Glossary Building. Not all students in the class are familiar with MMOs, or even video games. So on their own everyone researches and sends in suggestions to build a glossary for the class. Last semester we used a textbook that was so riddled with typos, grammar mistakes and factual errors, students hunted for them for XP. This was more successful than glossary building because it forced them to read carefully, and learn some spelling and grammar along the way.
    7.      The final grade is based on a guild project. In this case the concept document for an MMO. Since each guild member received the same grade, I added a secret ballot peer review, so that anyone not contributing would receive a weighted grade. I was concerned that they would simply give each other equally high marks, or that personal animosity might factor in. I saw no evidence of either in their rankings. The assessments they made coincided with my own observations.
    8.     To prepare for our first boss raid (midterm exam) a couple of weeks ago I took 60 questions (40 would be used on the exam), and we had a guild vs. guild PvP session. Each guild had a single copy of the 2 books we use in class. They were allowed to look up answers in the  books, but were required to close books before shouting out their zone name (like hitting a buzzer) to answer a question. At first the person holding the book would try to immediately memorize the answer. This proved problematic since some required up to 8 elements (reduced to 2 or 3 on the actual exam). So pretty soon guilds were dividing up the elements, one person taking only one. That tactic gave way to writing down the answers, since the rules didn’t prohibit that. And soon they were using cell phones to simply photograph the needed page, and reading from the photos. These emerging strategies are exactly how guilds learn to defeat mobs in a boss raid, learning from their wipes, modifying their approach, until at last they bring the beast down. I thought it was very cool.

    T366 Multiplayer Game Design Post Mortem

    Student feedback and instructor comments on the second iteration of the classroom as a multiplayer game (Spring 2010):
    1. Due to the weighting of the midterm and the final project (both were worth significant amounts of XP), students felt the reward of leveling up sporadically, most of it occurring late in the semester, lessened the pleasure of leveling. Students expected the level gains to be spaced out through the course of the semester. They also wanted some sort of recognition for leveling up that didn’t violate their privacy.
  • Suggestions included a leader board listing only avatar names; a “ding” in class for those who had leveled; or a private “ding” perhaps on the class webpage that only the student could see. The instructor intends to try the third approach in the next iteration of the class.
2. Students really liked knowing the point values of each assignment. They felt they could “game” the class and figure out where to put in the effort (and where they could slack a little bit) to get a good grade.  Once the expectation of points was set up though, the students wanted to get XP for every assignment and were disappointed when a few things (like the final verbal presentations to industry professionals) weren’t for XP.
3. People really liked the idea of avatars, but felt that we didn’t use them enough.  One student who was unfamiliar with MMOs before the class felt that it provided him with “cultural immersion.” The instructor realized belatedly that the difficulty in having to learn 40 student names is only compounded when they also have avatar names, AND they move from zone to zone throughout the semester. He has worked out a variation on a standard seating chart in a Visio file that allows him to easily move guilds with both real names and avatar names displayed. This should help immensely.
4. People liked being in a guild, feeling like they were “a part of something.”  Several thought setting up the class in this way helped those new to multiplayer games understand their structure.
5.  Reading exams were handled in two different ways. Both were guild-oriented, not solo. The first format was giving the exam before the presentation of the material in the form of quests. Each of six guilds answered one of six questions determined by die roll. The second format was interspersed between presentations. First, one section of the material was presented by a student or guild, then a question was asked about it. This “forced” them to pay more attention. They liked this approach much better. Of course it meant they didn’t need to read as long as they paid attention in class. But the end result was they did learn the material better than if they’d skimmed it the night before.
6. There were only six reading exam questions due to the instructor being lazy. In non-game classes he had prepared six questions for each student to answer in a regular written exam. What I should have realized was that having six questions (5 regular and an extra credit) where an individual student could get anywhere from 0-60 pts. is much different from a one question per guild pass/fail approach. I tried to mitigate this by giving 25 XP to every guild member who showed up and 25 more XP if the guild got the question right. But students wanted more questions. Giving each guild 6 questions would mean more work for me, but would be much fairer and I will follow this format in the future.
7. Students really enjoyed the open book midterm prep as a competitive game between guilds. Each guild was allowed to have one copy of each of the two books used in the class. When a question was asked they raced to find the answer, but had to close the book before actually signaling they wanted to attempt to answer the question.
8. The emergent game behavior in the midterm prep was exciting to watch. They started by the person holding the book closing it and answering the question. However some of the questions called for lists of several items; and the person answering often couldn’t remember all of the items in a list. The first improvement in this strategy was a guild who had each member memorize an item or two on the list. Those using this technique won the next couple of rounds. Then another guild started winning by copying the answers on to a piece of paper, and reading from it after the book was closed. This technique lasted a few more rounds. Finally a guild simply used the camera in a cell phone to photograph the page the answer was on, and one member then read it aloud from the cell phone after the book was closed. Just as in an MMO when players learn to defeat a boss by making mistakes and trying again, each guild would pull ahead in the competition by trying a different attack. And the class as a whole did significantly better on the midterm than in previous classes when the prep was a general discussion on the subjects to be covered.
9. Players doing quests (presentation of material from the reading) generally worked well. Students were more attentive when their peers presented as opposed to a single instructor droning on and on. However the following points were brought up during the post mortem:
  • Some presentations dragged on beyond the suggested time limits. Students felt time limits should be strictly enforced.
  • While the instructor did interject comments, clarifications, corrections and additional information, students felt there were particularly difficult concepts they would have liked him to deliver personally, particularly when their peers had difficulty understanding and presenting them.
10.  Students would have liked to play an MMO outside of class in a computer lab, where the instructor could offer commentary on various aspects of the game design as they played. They were willing to do this ad hoc without a set “lab” time.
11.  Students would have liked more guild meetings in class to work on the final project.
12.  Overall the students were uniformly enthusiastic about the class as game approach. Many wished that other of their courses could be taught the same way; and thought the techniques could be used with just about any subject matter.