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Evaluation of the game development process of a location-based mobile game

Imran Beg (UGent) , Jan Van Looy (UGent) and Anissa All (UGent)
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Abstract
There is a growing interest of government bodies and NGOs in using (serious) video games in awareness campaigns. Until now, however, little was known on how to set up such a campaign so as to effectively cater to the needs of different stakeholders including the target audience. Hence designing, developing and translating a game for educational purposes whilst balancing between fun and learning is a complex process, this paper aims to evaluate this by presenting a methodological framework for involving stakeholders in the design and development of a game-based awareness campaign based on a user-centered software design methodology and assesses its effectiveness in a concrete use case: the development of the location-based mobile game City Jam. The goal was to develop a game-based road safety campaign to confront adolescents with road traffic situations with the aim to positively influence road safety attitude and behavior. Mobile technologies offer new opportunities to embed digital game based learning by in different contexts. Given the nature of the road safety campaign, a location-based game format was chosen, aiming to facilitate learning by means of an extended three-way interaction (human interaction, game and context). Different user-centered design methods were deployed throughout several phases of the game development process: In phase one (the opportunity identification) a literature review was performed to investigate relevant fields for the game’s goal. In phase two (the game concept development) expert interviews and a focus groups were conducted with relevant stakeholders and in phase three (the game concept design) co-design sessions and a focus group resulted in a game design document. In phase four (game development and testing) the beta version of City jam was developed and tested in an iterative field testing design and resulted in the final game. Results obtained throughout the game development process provided us the opportunity to evaluate several major aspects. Firstly the impact of stakeholder involvement on the different phases of the design process and the final product resulted in a game that was tailored to the preferences and needs of the target group. Secondly translating the game concept into practice, such as game elements, proposed educational game elements, were evaluated based on the usability, playability principles and social and technological aspects. Benefits and challenges of user-centered design methods are discussed and how budget constraints and differing desired outcomes of different stakeholders challenge but also enrich the process.
Keywords
Location-Based Game, Mobile Game Learning, Road Safety, User-Centered Design

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MLA
Beg, Imran, Jan Van Looy, and Anissa All. “Evaluation of the Game Development Process of a Location-based Mobile Game.” Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-Based Learning. Ed. Carsten Bush. Academic Conferences & Publishing International, 2014. 26–34. Print.
APA
Beg, I., Van Looy, J., & All, A. (2014). Evaluation of the game development process of a location-based mobile game. In C. Bush (Ed.), Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-Based Learning (pp. 26–34). Presented at the 8th European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL), Academic Conferences & Publishing International.
Chicago author-date
Beg, Imran, Jan Van Looy, and Anissa All. 2014. “Evaluation of the Game Development Process of a Location-based Mobile Game.” In Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-Based Learning, ed. Carsten Bush, 26–34. Academic Conferences & Publishing International.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Beg, Imran, Jan Van Looy, and Anissa All. 2014. “Evaluation of the Game Development Process of a Location-based Mobile Game.” In Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-Based Learning, ed. Carsten Bush, 26–34. Academic Conferences & Publishing International.
Vancouver
1.
Beg I, Van Looy J, All A. Evaluation of the game development process of a location-based mobile game. In: Bush C, editor. Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-Based Learning. Academic Conferences & Publishing International; 2014. p. 26–34.
IEEE
[1]
I. Beg, J. Van Looy, and A. All, “Evaluation of the game development process of a location-based mobile game,” in Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-Based Learning, Berlin, Germany, 2014, pp. 26–34.
@inproceedings{5742075,
  abstract     = {There is a growing interest of government bodies and NGOs in using (serious) video games in awareness campaigns. Until now, however, little was known on how to set up such a campaign so as to effectively cater to the needs of different stakeholders including the target audience. Hence designing, developing and translating a game for educational purposes whilst balancing between fun and learning is a complex process,  this paper aims to evaluate this by presenting a methodological framework for involving stakeholders in the design and development of a game-based awareness campaign based on a user-centered software design methodology and assesses its effectiveness in a concrete use case: the development of the location-based mobile game City Jam. The goal was to develop a game-based road safety campaign to confront adolescents with road traffic situations with the aim to positively influence road safety attitude and behavior. Mobile technologies offer new opportunities  to embed digital game based learning by in different contexts. Given the nature of the road safety campaign, a location-based game format was chosen,  aiming to facilitate  learning by means of an extended three-way interaction (human interaction, game and context). Different user-centered design methods were deployed throughout several phases of the game development process: In phase one (the opportunity identification) a  literature review was performed to investigate relevant fields for the game’s goal. In phase two (the game concept development) expert interviews and a focus groups were conducted with relevant stakeholders and in phase three (the game concept design) co-design sessions and a focus group resulted in a game design document. In phase four (game development and testing) the beta version of City jam was developed and tested in an iterative field testing design and resulted in the final game. Results obtained throughout the game development process provided us the opportunity to evaluate several major aspects. Firstly the impact of stakeholder involvement on the different phases of the design process and the final product resulted in a game that was tailored to the preferences and needs of the target group. Secondly translating the game concept into practice, such as game elements, proposed educational game elements, were evaluated based on the usability, playability principles and social and technological aspects. Benefits and challenges of user-centered design methods are discussed and how budget constraints and differing desired outcomes of different stakeholders challenge but also enrich the process.},
  author       = {Beg, Imran and Van Looy, Jan and All, Anissa},
  booktitle    = {Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-Based Learning},
  editor       = {Bush, Carsten},
  isbn         = {9781910309575},
  issn         = {2049-0992},
  keywords     = {Location-Based Game,Mobile Game Learning,Road Safety,User-Centered Design},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Berlin, Germany},
  pages        = {26--34},
  publisher    = {Academic Conferences & Publishing International},
  title        = {Evaluation of the game development process of a location-based mobile game},
  year         = {2014},
}

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