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Strategies for Adapting Project Requirements During Development

Creating educational games is a dynamic process that involves constant evolution and adaptation! We understand the importance of aligning game mechanics with learning objectives while maintaining the flexibility to adapt as the development process unfolds. 

via Giphy

In this blog, we’ll explore our approach to adapting project requirements during development, and shed light on the strategies that empower us to create impactful and engaging educational games.

Bridging Learning Objectives and Game Mechanics

When initiating a project, we begin by examining the learning objectives and engaging in a dialogue about the underlying systems, verbs, and identities that make up educational games. In case you’re unfamiliar with these terms, here are some quick explanations!

  • Identity is the character or role that the player takes on in the game. This can be a real or fictional character, and it can be specific or general. For example, in our game Do I Have a Right?, the player takes on the role of a successful law firm partner.
  • Verbs are the actions that the player can take in the game. These actions should be aligned with the learning objectives of the game. In our game JA Titan, for example, the player can research their competitors, invest in technology upgrades, improve their marketing, and learn about their customers.
  • Systems are the rules that govern the game world. These rules should be designed to make the game challenging and engaging, while also supporting the learning objectives. An example of this can be found in our game RoboSellers, where the player must carefully consider the supply and demand of robot parts in order to be successful.

By considering these three elements, we can align the educational goals with the gameplay mechanics, ensuring a cohesive and purposeful experience for players.

Documenting Game Mechanics as User Stories

To maintain clarity and alignment throughout the development process, we meticulously document the identified game mechanics as user stories (and their associated tests). These user stories serve as a bridge between the abstract educational goals and the tangible gameplay experiences. They provide insights into what players will encounter while playing the game, as well as the functionalities available to teachers and administrators, such as creating assignments or unlocking modules. These stories encompass both the player’s journey and the administrative functionalities, creating a holistic view of the game’s design.

Sprint-Based Development and Iterative Refinement

User stories also serve as the foundation for our sprint-based development approach. Each development phase is broken down into sprints, where specific user stories are assigned to the development team. This modular approach allows for focused and iterative development, where the team can make incremental progress and gather valuable insights. By regularly revisiting and refining user stories during sprints, we ensure that the game mechanics remain aligned with the learning objectives and responsive to any evolving needs.

Clarity in User Stories and Project Requirements

Maintaining clear and concise user stories is essential for effective collaboration. Our developers work closely with our game designers to ensure that user stories outline not only the desired player experiences but also the underlying mechanics that drive these experiences. This clear communication is key to successful adaptation, as it provides a solid foundation for understanding what needs to be adjusted and how it aligns with the educational goals.

To summarize, our process revolves around translating learning objectives into tangible game mechanics, documenting them as user stories, and creating the game through iterative sprints. This methodology empowers us to create games that not only engage players but also effectively meet educational goals. By fostering collaboration between designers, developers, and clients, and maintaining crystal-clear user stories, we ensure that our adaptations are purposeful, impactful, and aligned with the project’s vision. 

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