Partnering with organizations all around the globe to create custom learning games and AR/VR experiences is no easy feat. But 16 years, 50+ awards, and 200+ projects later, we’ve earned a reputation as a leader in creating impactful game-based learning experiences across virtually all platforms, all age ranges, and all subject areas!
A vital component of our success is our set of five core quality principles which we uphold in every project we undertake. This approach equips our clients with a common language to promote an ongoing, sophisticated understanding about the quality that we seek to deliver in a final product. Today, I’d like to share a closer look at each of these principles – and in doing so, also offer some additional insights into how principle guides our ideas and decision-making!
Engagement is a broad word, and though it’s often used interchangeably with the word “fun,” entertainment is just a byproduct of engagement, rather than the aim. When we talk about engagement, we mean igniting an intrinsic interest in the player. Real engagement happens when the player sees the goals and rewards of a game as something not just something they are told to do, but as something worth doing. To accomplish this, we leverage strategies like identity, feedback amplification, empowerment, and production polish.
When we design experiences to improve knowledge, change behavior and shift mindsets, we only consider it successful if the player’s learning is then usefully applicable in their real lives and longitudinally retained. Bridging that gap from play experience to application in real-world contexts is called “transfer.” Facilitating transfer involves a host of strategies, including reflection activities that ask players to apply/explain their understandings and reapplication activities that ask players to take a skill they’ve mastered and apply it in a novel way.
Throughout the design process, our User Experience (UX) Designers work closely with our Game Designers to rapidly iterate upon and test information design and interaction models. The team incorporates user feedback into comprehensive wireframes and style mockups. During the early phases of production, the team builds a selection of key assets for implementation into the game engine. Interacting with “live” art allows our artists to identify any blind spots in the visual design while our UX Designers test and solidify the art pipeline. As production progresses, senior staff from every discipline regularly review builds to ensure that the game meets our rigorous usability standards.
Our visual design process is structured around crafting playful, engaging user experiences that inform and delight. This focus is reflected in the makeup and dynamic of our visual design teams. Our in-house game artists explore visual styles via extensive research, mood boards, concept art, and animatics. We test our visual design assumptions early and often. We pride ourselves on our ability to create both one-of-a-kind aesthetic experiences as well as our ability to bring existing illustrated IP to life.
Our internal Quality Assurance (QA) team is exclusively focused on testing in accordance with ISTQB training and standards so that our games achieve a high level of polish. We integrate Quality Assurance at all stages of development, with QA staff present at production meetings from kickoff to the conclusion and postmortem of the project.
For more insights into our production processes, check out these related articles!
The Value of Working with an Educational Game Developer
Behind-the-Screens: The Structure of Our Development Teams
Creating Visually Stunning Educational Games