Monthly Archives: January 2023

2: Blog Entry (Researching Games)

Part 1: What did you find?

See table in this PDF document: market-research-games-and-blog-v2

I have highlighted in green the ones that I will likely select for further analysis.

Part 2: What have you learned about games in your topic area?

I discovered “games for change” (provided in our task description) and then, as they are hosting one of the games I was interested in. I did not select a specific game from their catalog, but I was impressed, and I truly enjoyed seeing all they do and the significant initiatives they support (Game plan, Stem your game).

First, I looked for games about speed vs. time or motion characteristics. It only brought plays with similar genres, such as trains, trucks, car racing, Etc. I selected a train game and was genuinely impressed by its immersive experience. In addition, I found the ski resort sim building (Snowtopia), a great low poly environment, and unsophisticated 3D humans the kind I could develop with an indie budget. Quite inspiring.

Then I looked for civil engineering games, possibly light traffic sync. Some games on Steam could have been more attractive, but then I found the space engineers game. I liked it and learned it won quite a few awards, but I did not select it as it seemed too sophisticated and too much work to be inspiring.

Then, I wondered if sim city could be related to my topic. I read this excellent article:

So I looked at some videos that give tips and tricks on planning roads, traffic, and intersections with sim city. I learned most of how crossings of different kinds of roads are managed here:

Finally, I added sim city to my list to continue exploring it later. There is a lot to study, so I will leave some later. 

Then, I realized my search had been oriented initially toward physics principles, and maybe there are other city builders out there to look for, or perhaps sim city has swallowed the entire market. The genre brings strategy into the mix, and this is inspiring for my game. However, let’s try not to make a too large scope and keep it small—just one road with three intersections with different environments and vehicles.

PS: I made a version 2 (v2) adding a couple of intersection traffic lights sim and games. Now, I have a good mix of findings.

LEVEL 2 Assignment and feedback: level2-assignmentv4 [PDF]

Part 2 – The Results – Game 1
DO Comments

Move a Stickman Puzzle – I’ve actually played this game in the past, it is an interesting idea for a game, there is lots of room for experimentation but as you pointed out in the comparison to your project topic, pre-requisite knowledge is necessary to be successful and to know why you were successful.
Part 2 – The Results – Game
DO Comments

Control Your Car – This sounds like an interesting simulation though it seems very light on play which would be essential for getting learners to engage to learn the rules. I also like that you are considering your learners in the comparison here as well to know that long textual elements would be a deterrent.
Part 2 – The Results – Game 3
DO Comments

Traffic Command – This seems like a close fit to the project you have proposed and I think that you have a nice example of what the game would be like without the scientific data and graphs at the forefront which can be helpful to make sure all parts of your game are working as intended.

1: Blog Entry (Analyzing Games & Simulations)

Assignment final document (PDF version): Level1-assignmentv4

1: Blog Entry (Analyzing Games & Simulations)

  • Game/Simulation Title #1: WIRED THE GAME
  • What was the game/simulation about? This is a puzzle and platformer game. The characters involved are a young man who claims to have made this place, an older man, and a chap. Also, a strange young lady has an appointment outside the school, but she falls into a trap and has to go through all floors and challenges to escape and meet her host. The story involves electricity, mechanical machines, and physics phenomena.
  • Describe the game’s/simulation’s structure: The player has to wire machines to access the next room. The player can activate a computer screen to get hints. They walk, jump, and climb ladders and connect sockets and wires to move panels out of the way or use them to bridge gaps. Some info pops up on the screen provided by the young man telling the story of the place.
  • What did you enjoy/not enjoy while playing the game/simulation? The wires’ aesthetics disturbed me as they look more like plumbing or HVAC pipes, and in my line of work, we make sure to distinguish these and not mix them up. This game is missing the authentic, realistic environment for a serious game if that was the designer’s goal. In addition, electric wires are only used to close circuits, whereas mechanical machines can lift and move panels. Is this a game about mechanical engineering? It isn’t apparent.
  • Would you classify this as a game, simulation game, or simulation? Why? Because the electrical engineering environment is unrealistic, the game does not involve simulation, except for some mechanical parts that could be used to simulate machines. According to researchers (Boller, 2014 Narayanasamy et al., 2006), this characteristic is essential to a simulation. Therefore this game is not a simulation game and not a simulation.

  • Game/Simulation Title #2: CIRCUIT WARZ

    • What was the game/simulation about? Earth is under attack. Weapons are broken. The player/learner has to solve a series of increasingly more difficult puzzles through the practical application of circuit theory under severe time constraints. Learning topics focus on fundamental electronic and electrical circuits. There are seven levels. Each level has one learning objective(s) and requires the application of a specific formula and analyzing the problem using a set of concepts. Education aspects are HERE. Training is available before playing the game, designed as an assessment. There are also multi-player and Virtual Reality implementations available.
    • Describe the game’s/simulation’s structure: For each level, the player can view the HUD to assess the work to do, then walk to different sets of 3 or more components. The player can shoot with a sonic screwdriver to interact with components. They can rotate the group and activate the appropriate element (3D multiple choice mechanics). They then walk back to the console to verify the value achieved and score. The player can compare with the target provided and visualize the output signal. To improve the result, the player could think and calculate the best value and make the correct selection, or they can walk and guess and check or do a combination of both. There is no performance failure, but because time is of the essence, the player is under pressure to learn how to solve the problem asap.
    • What did you enjoy/not enjoy while playing the game/simulation?
      1. I am a trained physics engineer, and the game did not provide a rich learning experience. First, I needed clarification on using movement mechanics (a gamification technique, according to Kapp (2012, chapter 8). An engineer uses psychomotor skills but not for walking to reach electronic components far apart. Also, the hand tool is used for selecting multiple-choice answers. This kind of interaction belongs to an instructional design paradigm but is only sometimes present in the real world. Therefore, it was the disconnect between the gameplay experience and training skills that I did not like. 
      2. In addition, I felt the “fantasy” aspect was misaligned. I was not too fond of the aesthetic concepts of enormous components with a standard-size character. The other way around, a shrank player could move tiny components placed in an integrated circuit. The player could be walking around and using the weapon to solder things. The environment did not evoke what Malone cited by Kapp (2012, chapter 3), mentioned to produce mental images resonating “within the actual experience of the person involved” (p. 56).
  • Would you classify this as a game, simulation game, or simulation? Why? According to Narayanasamy et al. (2006), simulators offer a realistic environment with an elaborate interface and no compromise on input. Therefore we would expect a “functional mock-up” (p. 13). However, this game features graphic objects that look like electronic components but are not at scale and are connected with wires that have some features like the real thing but not all. There is a background with an integrated circuit to suggest where these objects typically work, but the interactive components are not part of it. Finally, the mechanics of multiple choice is a typical learning feature but a relatively limited input choice for an actual simulation. This game presents aspects of simulating the functioning of electronic circuits but cannot qualify as a simulation game due to the lack of realism.

  • Game/Simulation Title #3: CRACK THE CIRCUIT
  • What was the game/simulation about? Observe a simple circuit with a bulb, battery, and switch. Underneath the circuit is a box hiding how components are connected. Players must experiment and try to figure out how the circuit is wired. We can draw and submit a sketch of the circuit diagram. You win when the diagram matches the actual circuit. There are 18 levels and a free draw mode with 4×3, 5×4, and 7×5 grids.
  • Describe the game’s/simulation’s structure: The player must solve puzzles with the following specific core loop (concept defined by Eng, 2019):
  • Observe an actual circuit having hidden mystery parts and click as instructed to get started.
  • Guess and sketch the associated circuit diagram on a 3×4 grid. Draw wire lines and drag-and-drop components.
  • When the diagram matches the actual circuit, a box opens underneath the circuit and reveals the hidden parts. You can go to the next level.
  • When the diagram is incorrect, the box does not open, and you do not pass and must redo it until it is correct to pass.
  • What did you enjoy/not enjoy while playing the game/simulation?
    1) The game contextualization provided some elements of fantasy and some functionality as the light bulbs react to a proper circuit diagram. I liked the short circuit red light and sound animation. These elements supported some of Lepper’s instructional design principles for intrinsic motivation, as described by Kapp (2012). But overall, the game design needs to include many other aspects. Because the game required to provide more control and the challenges were somewhat repetitive, my experience could have been more varied but instead was quite monotonous.

2) There is no game-saving tool. Therefore, “distributed practice” is impossible. The game is “meant to be played in one sitting” (Kapp, 2012, p.65). Levels are locked and are only opened when the preceding is passed. In addition, replayability is limited as there is only one set of content, with no random input and no alternate path. Therefore, the game must include the benefits of spaced practice typically associated with multiple sessions to make it more attractive.

  • Would you classify this as a game, simulation game, or simulation? Why?The game “CRACK THE CIRCUIT” involves simulation for sketching a circuit diagram. The diagrams created are realistic, symbols are correct. According to Boller (2014), simulations focus on problem-solving and guide learners with making decisions that “mimic what you would have to do in the real world” (para. 5). Lights go on when appropriately connected, and circuit burns if shorted. The option to work with different grids to choose from makes the simulation even more realistic. However, the game has hidden parts of the actual circuit, adding a gaming and mystery component. In addition, there exists a win/lose end-state. For all these reasons, this game classifies not just as a simulation but a simulation game.


Boller, S. (2014). Games vs Simulations: Choosing the Right Approach for Learning Links to an external site. Retrieved from the Knowledge Guru.

Boller, S. & Kapp, K. (2017). Chapter 1 The Basics. In Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games Play to Learn. pp. 6-8

Eng, D. (Dec. 2, 2019). Core Loops. Retrieved from

Kapp, K.M. (2012). Chapter 3 – Theories behind gamification of learning and instruction. In The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Narayanasamy, V., Wong, K. W., Fung, C. C., & Rai, S. (2006). Distinguishing games and simulation games from simulators. Computers in Entertainment (CIE)4(2), 9-es

Intro to advanced game design

Part 1

I selected the article “Student engagement and learning with PhET interactive simulations”

The authors explored simulation factors that most influence students to gain a deeper conceptual understanding and develop the thinking habits of an expert. They asserted that three critical aspects contribute to students’ behavior change. Sims that 1) show the invisible inner workings, 2) use analogies, and 3) provide little to no guidance (but with appropriate scaffolding and open conceptual questions) are the ones that provide the best learning outcomes. In addition, sims must include balanced challenges, as simulations that are too complicated or too intimidating do not work either. Finally, students developed a mental framework from experimenting and self-questioning, which is a critical first step for developing further connections and understanding of the physics material.

The article broadened my understanding of simulations compared to learning games.  Indeed, simulations provide a safe environment where students gain control of their learning path and can self-guide.  Simulations tap into intrinsic motivation, allowing students to develop inner questions based on their learning needs and desire to understand how things work.

Part 2

I am a lifelong learner, educator, designer, and developer with 25+ years of professional experience in various fields of education and training. As a mature student enrolled in the Serious Game and Simulation Design Graduate Certificate, I look forward to developing further my designer skills and giving myself the best chance to succeed in future endeavors.

Quiz results:

According to the quiz, my profile is “People watchers .”I am Impressed that so few questions can help determine a well-aligned profile, except that I like using measures to assess my work in addition to sense. I believe in both ways, as I do not see them as mutually exclusive. Similarly, I like big ideas, but designing and working with details can be fun. One person could wear different glasses to make it happen. Overall, a fun and sparkling quiz.

Advanced Designing Games First Post

This is the first post to get started with course 9486.

Hello Danielle!

I have re-organized things in my blog,  I was impressed with all the work we did for the Fall course. It is a great addition to my blog and (in progress…).

Looking forward to the 2023 Spring Semester.