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  • Writer's pictureDaniel J. King

Dissertation Blog #14

I was too exhausted to blog yesterday. I have to pay for this semester out of pocket because I'm only enrolled in 3 credit hours and I'm probably not eligible for student loans. I have an appointment with Finaid next week to figure out how the rest of this degree is going to go. I was worried about that yesterday, and worried about work, and worried about Elly's school year being so messed up, and worried about this country being so messed up, and worried about this planet being so messed up.

Over the past two days, however, I have been making progress with sketching out the interface of the core game loop prototype. I think I'm going to put down the writing for a while and just focus on that. I'm waiting for Dr. Salter to review my pre-proposal anyway.

For the purpose of including it in my word count (lol), here's the pre-proposal:

Problem: There are design principles for freemium games, and there design principles for serious games, but there is little research on making serious games that use freemium monetization strategies to raise funds for an altruistic cause.

Research Question: How can I design a serious game that teaches about science and raises awareness of ethical issues in research while also using freemium game design strategies to raise money for science advocacy?

Data: The data will come in the form of qualitative feedback from a group of UCF game design students.

Method for Collecting Data: I will collect the data through a group participatory design workshop with three parts: (1) a playtesting session for a digital prototype of the core game loop of my game concept Field of Cures, (2) a discussion of a paper prototype of the game’s other systems and a brainstorming activity about how to revise or expand those systems, and (3) an exercise to narrow down the ideas generated during the brainstorming and reach a consensus on the group’s design recommendations.

Method for Analyzing Data: I will conduct a grounded-theory analysis of the workshop group’s feedback.

Categories to Cover in Literature Review: My literature review will cover best practices and ethical considerations in (1) serious game design, (2) casual game design, (3) freemium game monetization strategies, and (4) participatory game design methods.

Reasons the Study Is Significant: If serious games could be effectively monetized, then using them for fundraising could be another way for them to benefit society in addition to their educational and persuasive potential. Effective monetization strategies tailored to serious games could also make it easier for designers with limited resources to sustain serious game design projects at a level of effort comparable to commercial games.

Outline of the Chapters

  1. Introduction: Explains the research problem and question, provides background on the Field of Cures game concept, and summarizes the following chapters.

  2. Core Game Loop Digital Prototype Design: Explains the design of the core game loop, reviews the literature that informed the design, and describes the implementation as a digital game prototype.

  3. Game Systems Paper Prototype Design: Explains the design of the game systems beyond the core game loop, reviews the literature that informed the design, and describes the implementation as a paper prototype.

  4. Participatory Design Workshop: Describes the setup of the three-part participatory design workshop, reviews the literature that informed the setup, and describes the results of the workshop.

  5. Discussion of Design Recommendations: Discusses the implications of the results for the fields of serious game design and participatory game design.

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