The Playtesting's the Thing: Suggestions for Developing Educational Game Designs
Concurrent Session 4
Playtesting is an essential process for designing games for learning. This presentation examines the playtesting ethos incorporated in online undergraduate courses on Game Design and Development and graduate courses on Digital Games, Simulations and Learning, and offers suggestions for faculty on using playtesting when developing their own educational games.
Playtesting is an essential part of the process for designing games for learning and is useful for designing any type of game from tabletop to video game, mobile app, or virtual/augmented/mixed reality games.
This presentation examines the playtesting ethos incorporated in online undergraduate courses on Game Design and Development and graduate courses on Digital Games, Simulations and Learning. A brief description of the courses will also discuss the course texts why they are valuable for all educational game design applications.
An explanation of the game playtesting process will include a discussion of paper prototyping, digital prototyping, and how to incorporate User Experience Design (UXD) and low-fidelity (lo-fi) prototypes. The discussion includes the importance of playing commercial and independent games as a learning process for game design and for developing a playtesting procedure.
A description of the challenges for faculty and learning professionals in building useful game prototypes and conducting effective playtests and the characteristics of effective prototypes and successful playtesting are covered. Examples cases of student playtest prototypes for tabletop and video games including games for learning, show effective practices.
The conclusion discusses playtesting and the “magic circle” as well as the “aha” moment experienced by most designers conducting a playtest for the first time.