Final Game Project

Overview

This major group project will provide you with an opportunity to practice some professional types of writing while synthesizing many things you have learned in the course.  In groups of 3-4, you will be writing a proposal, creating a proof-of-concept, and creating a 20 minute presentation about a persuasive game that your group will invent.  The game, however, cannot be a simple game of leisure—it has to be persuasive in some way.

Rationale

For the next few years, you will be doing a lot of school-based writing similar to that we have done in the course already.  For this assignment, you will be simulating some more professional types of writing that you might do beyond college.

The proposal is common in almost all professions.  Whether you are a teacher or artist applying for a grant or a business owner vying for money from investors, the proposal is the common style of writing used.  In most professional settings, responding to a problem is to propose a plan of action to fix the problem.  In this case, the problem is a gap that your game is attempting to fill.  This proposal should have sections entitled Introduction, Problem, Plan, Personnel, Costs, and Timeline.  Please use the handouts for a clearer outline.

The proof-of-concept is something physical people can see, touch, or hear—it goes beyond words.  In a real-world setting, a proof-of-concept would be a game that people can play, but my expectations are measured in the time that you have to complete this.  However, you can use hypertext, storyboards, paper-and-pencil, audio, and video to bring the game concept to life for your audience.  A proof-of concept should also include some instructions or a tutorial.

Finally, you will be presenting your game and your proof-of-concept to the rest of the class for evaluation at the last class meeting.  This presentation might include some playing of the game, a PowerPoint presentation, question and answer session, and reflections on the process or ideology of the game.  It is up to you to fill the twenty minutes in an appropriate way.

Questions

What ideological, intellectual, rhetorical, or disciplinary gap might best be filled with a game? Are all games persuasive?  What gaming concepts work best to persuade an audience?

Assignment

1.       Assemble your group and exchange contact information and schedules.  Come up with a team name.  Assess your team strengths and skills (e.g., Photoshop, PowerPoint, Scratch, Python, Music, GameMaker, iMovie). Decide whether you want to make a tabletop (board or card) game or a video game.

2.       Brainstorm ideas for games.  You might first talk about games you are all familiar with.  The difficult part is in creating a persuasive game.  Remember, your game should foremost try to persuade an audience of some concept, whether political, ideological, or pedagogical.  Games can advertise a product or a situation, or they can take on larger issues (e.g. global warming, the economy), or they can address a school topic.  Remember, the game has to primarily be persuasive—I don’t want an Age of Empires clone because it’s similar to a school topic.

3.       Begin conceptualizing your game.  You need to create a game concept and think through how to play different versions of it.  As you are doing this, take notes and think about how to make the game original, fun, engaging, and challenging.  I will give you some handouts that will provide a framework for you.

4.       Begin drafting your proposal.  In completing the proposal, just fill in the blanks/questions on the Game Design Document.  Conceptually, a proposal begins with an Introduction that will describe the thing you are trying to persuade your audience of and why it is important.  The Problem section will describe why the thing you are designing the game about is a problem, and how other games (or solutions) aren’t working.  The Plan is your game design (characters, plot, gameplay, game flow, components and assets).  The next sections include Personnel and Cost—who needs to be hired and how much will it all cost.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov) has salaries for most every job including computer programmers and graphic artists (tabletop games and video games).  The section Timeline will give your investors a chance to see how long this will take to come to market.  The more complex the game, the longer it will take, but the better it might be.

5.       Begin work on the proof of concept.  This is a multimedia section.  If you are making a board or card game, I expect a PoC that is fully playable. You can print cards out for card games or card components for board games using perforated printer card sheets. People have made play-spaces out of wood, cardboard, and plastic before.

If you are making a video game, your task might be different. If you can whip up a game in C++ or VB, that’s fine, but a game put together with video and audio in PowerPoint or hypertext can be just as good.  Storyboards are useful as well (most games are conceptualized in storyboards before programming begins).  Flowcharts of game decisions are welcome (in addition to what you include on the proposal).  Also consider some drag-and-drop game development such as GameMaker.  As you work, also think about instructions or tutorials for the game.

6.       Play-test, play-test, play-test.  Your group should always ask, is this game persuasively effective and is it fun?

7.       Put together your presentation.  If you have a proof-of-concept for people to play, recognize that it will use a lot of your time.  Make sure that you leave adequate time to describe your concept and what you are trying to accomplish/persuade the audience of.  If you only have storyboards, make sure that you have something else for your audience to interact with so they don’t become bored.  Think of the presentation as a game in and of itself.

Timeline

March 18 — Group Presentations & final version due

Requirements

  • The Proposal should be 4-8 pages in length.  It should have an MLA Works Cited page with the appropriate citation information for any source you use; however, the rest of the document should be formatted like the examples we will look at in class.
  • The Proof-of-Concept should reflect 9-15 total hours of work.  It will be graded half on the professionalism/polish and half on the game concept represented (fun, engaging, challenging).
  • The Presentation will be graded on how interactive it is, how appropriate it is to the audience, and the professionalism of materials presented.
  • Participation will be evaluated by a graf that you will write individually that describes and evaluates the work you and your team did on the project.  If you had a deadbeat on your team, this is the time to tell me.
PART PTS.
Participation (group evaluation) 4
Proposal 8
Proof-of-Concept (concept and polish) 8
Presentation (audience engagement and professionalism/polish) 5

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