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Discovery Phase: A Low-Risk Introduction to Learning Game Development

If you or your organization hopes to create a memorable learning experience with real-world impact, game-based learning may be the medium for you. No matter the subject area, platform, or type of player, there are tons of benefits to using custom learning games including:

  • Creating an active and engaging learning experience.
  • Building up a learner’s confidence to learn.
  • Creating a deeper understanding of the material.
  • Promoting longer term retention of content.
  • Making learning relevant.
  • And the list goes on. And on. And on.

Amazing, right? All these advantages come with a price, though – the truth is, compared to other learning modalities, custom-made learning games are often expensive to create.

But don’t click away quite yet – if you or your organization are unsure whether you are ready to invest in a full-fledged learning game yet but you are compelled enough to see if its the right thing for you, Filament offers the opportunity to work with us in a risk-free Design Discovery phase!

What is Discovery?

Discovery is the first phase of any project and involves us working closely alongside you and your team to define the goals and objectives of your game. During this phase, we will do much of the big thinking on your project including refining the learning objectives and goals, identifying any assessment needs, and iterating on the game mechanics as well as the visual style. While we continue to iterate during Development and based on feedback from User Testing, the Discovery lays the foundation for that to happen.

The outputs of Discovery are generally as follows:

Discovery starts with a 2-day onsite kick-off where you get to meet the entire team and establish the working parameters for the duration of the phase. We then continue to work remotely, setting weekly meetings with built-in time for review and iteration.

Advantages of Discovery-Only

There are several advantages to only engaging us for a Discovery:

  • You can evaluate a tangible concept before making a decision to move forward.
  • You can validate the appeal of your project with your intended end-users.
  • We can easily iterate on the ideas out of Discovery before Development begins.
  • The investment is modest compared to the cost of developing a full game.
  • You own all of the resulting deliverables. While we would love you to hire us for development, you can shop the concept around the other studios or decide to build the game in-house.

Drawbacks of Discovery-Only

There are some drawbacks to engaging us for a Discovery-only and we always try to mitigate them:

  • If you decide to move forward with Development at a later date, we can’t always guarantee we’ll be able to give you the same team you worked with during Design.  We do our best to bring back as many team members as possible.
  • There is inevitably a break in momentum if you do move forward with Development eventually. We mitigate this by scheduling a few days at the beginning of Development to reacquaint everyone with the project and review the work that was done during Discovery.

Do you think a Discovery is right for you? If so, let’s chat.

Want to learn more about the process of creating a learning game with Filament? Check out some of my previous articles:

Baby Steps in Game Development: Discovery-Only, Alpha Release, Prototype, or MVP?
What I Want You To Ask Me in Your Educational Video Game RFP
Behind the Screens: An Inside Look at Our Visual Design Process

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