After a lot of fits and starts, we are ready to deploy two different versions of the "Playing the News" prototype games. One uses a simulated environment that allows the user to visit various locations to interview stakeholders on the topic of the use of ethanol as fuel. The user plays the role of a legislative research assistant helping a U.S. Senator prepare for hearings on the topic. The user can visit a variety of locations and talk to auto dealer sales reps, farmers, advocacy groups for and against corn ethanol, environmentalists and others. After the user visits the locations...more »
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Here is another report from our research assistant Fabio Berzaghi on the progress we are making on "Playing the News." Our struggle is to come up with embedded games that do not clash with the content of the topic or issue being addressed by the news organization. One of our "test" issues is a feature-type article on whether a potential pet owner should consider getting a cat or a dog. Here is a glimpse into what Fabio and Jesse Crafts-Finch were testing. Today I finally had a chance to work closely with Jesse, the producer/game designer at the Johnson Simulation...more »
As we continue to develop the "Playing the News" game, we wanted to share the inside workings of the process. Our partners at the Johnson Simulation Center submitted this report on their production process. An Overview of the JSC Production Process This is a short description of the Johnson Simulation Center's production process; that is, how we go about designing and then producing a game. There are two stages to this process, pre-production and production. Pre-production is a time during which everything about how the game will play and be built is written down on paper. We define the...more »
As we work to create a news game that will engage readers, we are exploring what types of incentives we can use to meet the "gaming" expectations of hard-core players. We've decided to try embedding "mini-games" into the news game scenario. For example, a news game might create an environment where the reader is exploring the different aspects of the use of ethanol fuel. The player moves from one NPC to another to talk about the pros and cons. But before the player can talk to each of the NPCs, he or she will have to successfully complete a mini-game...more »
For those of us working on creating "serious games," the experience we've had with the "Playing the News" project might be instructive. We are working with the Johnson Simulation Center at Pine Technical College in Pine City, MN to develop a tool that will allow journalists (read, non-techies) create engaging games built from news coverage of ongoing coverage in a community. After much to-ing and fro-ing, we think we've hit on a strategy for the type of utility that will work. But it has taken some "technical fortitude" to get to this point. The JSC folks are working on what...more »
Hi folks. Our top-flight research assistant, Fabio Berzaghi, has written a narrative of the work we've been doing on the "Playing the News" project. Our goal is to design a game creation tool that allows news professionals to author engaging games around ongoing news issues in a community. The intention of the tool is to allow journalists to create a game that takes no more than 20 - 30 minutes to play through. We've been through quite a number of iterations on game design and Fabio provides the background. "The very first idea for our project was to focus on...more »
We haven't posted much until now because we've been busy getting the "beta" version of our game engine off the drawing board. We now have an initial build that Nora will demo at the ONA conference in a few days. After some serious brainstorming sessions with game designers, news professionals and people who actually play games, we have a good idea about the type of game environment we will be prototyping. We have some questions and comments for the others in the group who are also working on games and news applications and I'm sure we will have much more...more »
I think newspapers, blogs, and magazines should all be doing audio versions. I grew up enjoying and listening to audiobooks and now I don't have the same option for the short form content that I prefer to consume.
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