Researching and Developing Serious Games as Interactive Learning Instructions

Researching and Developing Serious Games as Interactive Learning Instructions

Christian Sebastian Loh (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2009091501
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As serious games gain momentum in the academic arena, no doubt more educators and instructional technologists will begin considering the possibility of making their own games for instruction. As developers of instructional resources, instructional technologists need to steer clear of producing more ‘video’ games, and instead, developing more ‘serious’ games that incorporate both learning and assessment. The research community needs to learn from tested processes and best practices to avoid repeating old mistakes. The model for serious game making presented in this article has been used successfully for the creation of an award winning project, and will now be shared for the benefits of fellow researchers, educators, and instructional technologists.
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History Of Game Modification (Modding)

The watershed came in the form of a military training game, called Marine Doom (1998), created for the purpose of training soldiers in teamwork and decision making skills when live training time and opportunities were limited during peaceful times. Instead of creating the video game from scratch, the U.S. Marine (in-house) development team decided to modify (or, mod) a COTS game, Doom (1992), to take advantage of the game mechanics and resources already present in the game engine, as well as to reduce production cost and time. This game modification process—whereby a COTS game’s own engine is re-used to create a “home-brew” (and very much playable) game—has come to be known as modding among the gamers. Since then, the U.S. Marine Corps have gone on to create other military game modules (or mods), including the highly successful America’s Army, with over 26 versions released since its debut in 2002. Gamers have easy access to thousands of game mods (made from a plethora of COTS games) that were distributed through repositories and websites created just for mod enthusiasts—for example, the Vault Network (

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