Slides Final


Kost, Guy
Supervisor:Prof. Gudrun Klinker
Advisor:Plecher, David (@ne23mux)
Submission Date:[created]


In today's ever-evolving technological landscape, where the rate at which new technologies form and advance accelerates exponentially, the methodologies and technological instruments of most education systems in the world are extremely outdated. Advancements in the field of serious games could offer a potential way to supplement education systems, and help orient them into a more flexible, technologically-minded approach in the future. Serious Games have a vast untapped potential to create a deep learning experience, leaving the learner curious, engaged on a fundamental level and compelled to play and learn more. This would stand in stark contrast to the general consensus among students nowadays that learning is a stressful and boring activity. This potential is all but squandered due to a trend in serious games that places the educational material above the gameplay in terms of emphasis given. This thesis aims to examine the role game mechanics play in the learning process, and their importance both for games in general and in the facilitation of knowledge transmission in Serious Games in particular. To accomplish this an Underwater Archaeology Virtual Reality Serious Game demo develop for the express purposes of this thesis will be used as a case study, and examples of learning processes in both serious and non-serious games will be examined.

Implementation - Photos


Implementation - Video

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Over the course of research and writing of this document a few general conclusions were reached. Firstly, a shift toward more accurate games, that incorporate expert advisory staff as part of the design team would signify a major step forward for the games industry. Much like the film industry before it, which is relying ever more heavily on accuracy of depiction via external advisors, such a step would manifest a natural evolution, leading to overall better products. Such a progression, while initially appearing impossible or uneconomical, is in all likelihood the correct step to be taken, as was demonstrated by the film industry. A beneficial side-effect of such an evolution would be the facilitation in creation of detailed, accurate and enjoyable SGs due to the availability and establishment of work relations with the experts required to ensure the quality of teachable content in an advisory capacity.

As shown in this document, production of an accurate SG that upholds all the desired criteria mentioned throughout involves multiple academic areas, each requiring their own research and expertise such as psychology, pedagogy, history, archaeology, game engineering, diving etc. No single individual or even a small team could reasonably be expected to be proficient in all aforementioned subjects to a degree that allows for sufficient accuracy of the material in independent development. This relegates the task of developing fitting SGs to a concerted effort carried out by a combined team of experts from the various fields. This poses a massive difficulty in development, as such a team would be extremely expensive to assemble when examining the issue under the current standards of work in the games industry. That difficulty must be overcome in order for the industry to evolve and march forward as discussed previously.

Secondly, as was shown in chapter 3, the dismissive approach with which non-serious games were so-far regarded is irresponsible. While a movement of change in this approach is growing - as was shown in the research conducted on the Corrupted Blood Incident - it is still very much in its neonatal stages. The root of this attitude can probably be traced to the moral panic that has plagued the gaming industry since its establishment in the 1970s to this day. The stinging admonition of the wasted research potential of the Corrupted Blood Incident, echoed by COVID-19 should serve as a stark reminder to the scientific community that, much like other research fields, all games are valuable data points worthy of serious consideration and examination.

As the user-study proposed in this thesis was not carried out, no experimental findings regarding the veracity of the initial hypotheses exist. However, taking into consideration the generally positive reception of VR SGs and particularly the examples relevant to the field combined with UCH which were brought here, the assumption that the accompanying game would fulfil its intended role in a satisfactory manner wouldn't be an unreasonable conjecture. The immersive nature of VR often allows users to "forget themselves" and lose track of anything other than the game. As the accompanying game was indeed implemented in VR, it is likely that that immersion would be present in it as well - providing strong backing to the second hypothesis. 

Such certainty is however not guaranteed in trying to validate the first hypothesis. While the design of the accompanying game was inspired and based on best practices present in other games of similar ilk, the development team is not specifically trained in pedagogy. This may have resulted in sub-par methodology with regards to transmission of the learning material. This hypothesis would require further testing and could incur a need to alter the accompanying game for future reexamination of the subject. Despite this uncertainty, the author is confident that even in its current state the accompanying game would result in favourable outcomes for the user-study and in proving the hypotheses.


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