Thesis Chapter 1 in Progress

 “Why don’t women play games?”. This was the question that set me down my thesis path

           Why Young Girls?

             Benefits of educating girls separately

             Gap between boys and girls in tech careers

On gender sensitive education (subheading)

When girls are educated in an all-female school environment teachers seem to move away from traditional gender stereotypes and this contributes positively to personal development by focusing on the individual qualities that define each student (Hembrow-Beach, year).  Benefits include higher leadership aptitude, courage, and self-confidence.  [move to list of references “Developing the Girl as a Leader”].  ; For example, girls are more comfortable to try something new, learn from failure and take on leadership roles clubs like math and science, or roles like funniest or most athletic. Passages Northwest, an all-girls educational program, seeks to provide supportive outdoor environments that allow girls to build and test skills while also forming new relationships. [Developing the Girl as a Leader, Yes, I can find the original source and quote more if needed]

In a different approach teachers create scripts and assign speaking parts to students based on their personal, economic, social or educational standing in school (Zambo, year) [Young Girls Discovering their Voice].. This program, Readers Theater, provides  young children of both genders with the means to build confidence and solve personal issues by taking on the voice of powerful and positive role models in literature. Divided by gender, one group performs in front of the other, and special care is given throughout the practices so that each child benefits from the role. An example given by Zambo is that a girl with relatively low social standing is given the lead role to boost her confidence, and a more popular girl is given a smaller role to help her understand the importance of supporting  her fellow classmates. Girls are provided with a positive setting that allows them to try on a persona outside of their own. They are encouraged to read their words with strength and force to convey the nature of their role.

This fantasy play is important for young children…. [new reference]

On Games for Learning (subheading)

     Why Video games?

     Benefits of games

     Successes in implementing game learning

     Educational games

 [Now, introduce games from a research contribution perspective in relation to education for young girls]  In video games, a common format for adventure gameplay is to present the player with a puzzle that seems impossible and provide them with the skills to solve that puzzle. Players are learning skills very specific to the game (Educational Fantasy, year).

Based on a study of a game-based initiative in Scotland between 2007 and 2010, games evidently improved problem solving skills, confidence and self-esteem (Groff and Howells, year). In the classrooms where games were used to facilitate learning, teachers saw an increase in student enthusiasm and interest in the lessons. For example, a lesson used the game Guitar Hero (Activision, year). Teachers initially designed a lesson around gameplay within Guitar Hero and subsequently students directed the theme of the lessons, designed a website for the band, created biographies for the members, recorded a single for the band, wrote newspaper articles on shows they played at and even designed ads to sell their CDs. These activities helped them achieve learning outcomes in a more comprehensive way than traditional methods. In this example, a game was the basis for the lesson, creating an environment for students to participate and contribute meaningfully, thus making the experience more tangible.

Repeated and encouraged exposure to games and game design has been shown to have a positive effect on young girls’ perceptions of the gaming industry (Van Eck, year) [expand].

Games for Girls: Principles of Design (sub heading)

Because young girls learn differently from boys,  can benefit from all-girls educational surroundings and positive female role models, there is way to design a game for girls using these observations. [all female demographic, role playing, fantasy, repeated exposure] Targeting an all-female demographic allows for the game to encourage the player to try on roles she might have previously believed to be reserved for boys. She can take on a new identity and learn new skills crucial to her success at saving the world. Similar to an all-girls school or excursion program, games provide a more controlled atmosphere. Positive reinforcement can be programmed into the game, and the consequences of failure can be calibrated to the level acceptable to young girls. (what level is acceptable?)

     What challenges do young girls face?

     How do girls define themselves at this age?

     school/friends/relationships

Games offer a healthy alternative to traditional teaching methods that are offered to young girls today [says who?]. Some schools offer programs for young girls and boys to talk about current issues, healthy relationships, and engagement in school (Ringrose & Renold 2012) [and the relevancy of this statement to the topic…]. These programs are helpful, but have to adhere to the rules and regulations of the institution [says who?]. In their study, Ringrose and Renold noticed a disconnect in the desires of the students’ willingness to attend and talk about the local SlutWalk and it is implications with the reluctance of the teachers to even use the term “slut” at all. Some students attended the SlutWalk with their parents, but the teachers leading the program we unable to accompany them, and attended the event separately. There was a limit to the discussions and questions the girls were allowed to have, set by the school. While it is important for institutions like schools, recreational facilities, and churches to offer social programs for young girls, there will always be a limit to the resources and scope these programs offer. [Ok, finally, are building your understanding of the problem and found one study.  You need a few hundred like these to have a basic understanding of the area.  One paper is definitely not enough to set the context. Don’t be discouraged.  This is a good find and a good start.]

     Where are there gaps?

     What areas are missed by the traditional help?

     What about the digital?

     How can games fill in the gaps? [Ask first, can games really fill these particular gaps? If you say yes, then cite credible references]

     What relevant issues are solvable through games? Why?

     What type of game solves this problem? Why? [Don’t worry about “best”; worry about any solutions and classify them]

     Learning and Fantasy

Notes from my journal. Beginnings of an outline! Wooooo!

10 open questions

  1. I am focusing on young girls, where do these girls live?
  2. What languages do they speak?
  3. What games do they play/what do they do for fun?
  4. What issues are these girls facing today?
  5. What issues will I focus on?
  6. How are these issues traditionally addressed? (school, parents, after school programs)
  7. How are these issues being creatively addressed?
  8. What is the best way for me to address these issues?
  9. How do I measure the success of my game?
  10. Will this game be played alone? With a parent? With a sibling or friend?

I enjoy traditional painting much more than digital. I am not allowed to be so indecisive in real life. My strokes are deliberate and pretty close to final. On a computer I can erase, change and add layers. This is usually a good thing, but in my case it means I spend ages longer than I should on my digital paintings. 
Here is Xiaoli finally. I realized a few weeks ago that I never created any final concept art for her. I am very happy with how she turned out. Her face especially. I tried to give her Chinese facial features, with a sense of childlike openness. 
Next quarter I am taking a digital painting class (for fun!) so I will hopefully be more practiced in decisive digital painting.

I enjoy traditional painting much more than digital. I am not allowed to be so indecisive in real life. My strokes are deliberate and pretty close to final. On a computer I can erase, change and add layers. This is usually a good thing, but in my case it means I spend ages longer than I should on my digital paintings. 

Here is Xiaoli finally. I realized a few weeks ago that I never created any final concept art for her. I am very happy with how she turned out. Her face especially. I tried to give her Chinese facial features, with a sense of childlike openness. 

Next quarter I am taking a digital painting class (for fun!) so I will hopefully be more practiced in decisive digital painting.

Xiaoli Overcomes

Working on preliminary level designs for Xiaoli I have decided on a few key factors.

A side scrolling level does NOT need to be linear. If I can make this work technically, I can put my character on a path that curves and goes in circles and up and down. This frees me up considerable artistically. I like this idea.

Xiaoli will overcome a fear of heights during this level.

We will travel in a forest, up into the tress, and then into some magical area, maybe a mountain or something. 

The player will switch between Xiaoli and Tigress in order to solve different puzzles.

Puzzle Solutions

Pushing objects - Tigress

Picking up things - Xiaoli

Jumping large gaps - Tigress

Climbing Fallen Trees - Tigress

Climbing Ladders - Xiaoli   —  This will only happen after tigress has climbed a large tree and the player switches to Xiaoli in the tree tops  (need to figure out how to indicate this change. player must climb a ladder on the ground and Xiaoli refuses, player is forced to find an alternate route with tigress. repeat process once more)

Swing Across a Gap - Xiaoli   —   Similar to above. This is something that Xiaoli will only do once she overcomes her fear of heights, after she climbs a ladder. The first gap the tigress doesn’t want to jump and a rope is available. Xiaoli refuses to swing. Tigress jumps (or player finds alternate route?) Second gap Tigress cannot jump, and Xiaoli swings. 

Xiaoli will overcome a fear of heights during this level.

Looking at Gnart

Gnart is an awesome game for 4+ year old kids. It is an interactive story about a Hogbunny going to the dentist. Some interesting things I like from this game:\

Narration - - The characters are all fully voices, but there is also some narration that I feel really adds to the story.

Things to remember later - - players are told about items they should look out for and might find/collect later in the game. They are also told about other characters they will encounter along their journey.

Touch - - players touch and experience the story physically. 

Easter Eggs - - not all interactive elements of the story are key, or immediately visual.

Second chance - - one level has the player directing a cart on a path. There is a large jump where the if the player doesn’t make it, it first appears the player will plunge into darkness but once they fall you see there is a second ramp underneath. This allows for players who made the jump to feel accomplished, and players who didn’t to feel relieved that they did not fail. 

Who do I want to become?

-Toca Boca – We think playing and having fun is the best way to learn about the world. Therefore we make digital toys and games that help stimulate the imagination”

——“Toys” not “Games”

-BitMonster – “six senior developers, previously with Epic Games, who headed out to explore the world of indie game development” with the philosophy that “a small group of developers with powerful tools can make a huge impact and shape future trends”

——Lili – personal growth of the main, female character

-Snowcastle Interactive - “Our mission is to make first-rate games that are fresh, inspiring, memorable and most of all FUN!

——Scale Tower

————Increases math skills

——Gnart

————“Interactive Story” “not a game, not an eBook - something in between”

——Festival of Magic

————RPG geared toward a younger audience

————“spuds” as ammo

-The Learning Company - “make learning fun for students, parents, and teachers” Created iconic franchises that still sell today and are permanently linked with childhood. 

——Zoombinis

————Cute characters, problem solving

——Oregon Trail

————Players make meaningful choices, learn history

Barn Game Mechanics

  1. pick rice up
  2. put in mill slot
  3. machine stalls
  4. inspect machine
  5. find part
  6. fix the machine
  7. pick up rice
  8. deliver rice to container

In the beginning some cycles will only contain 1,2,7 & 8. This will ease the player into the game process. Then slowly the machines will start breaking more. At the beginning of this the player will take longer to fix things. In the end she will become better at fixing, and complete more faster.

Rules

Winning/Rewards

  • 1.      When She completes her tasks they become easier
  •                   she does them faster
  • 2.      Doing well for several turns gives her bonuses

Schedule

Week 7 – Art (2D) [Thurs (week6) to Thurs] – go home on Thurs ready to integrate

Week 8 – Integration of Art into Game/Program

  • finish art (character) (general environment) (Barn)
  • Gameplay (barn game) (rules) (winning system) (rewards – suggested)
  • Audio (music – coco lee) (Sound Effects)
  • Integration (learning/building) – check game salad library
  • Load to iPad

Week 9 – Testing

  • Storyboard (flow/timing/reaction – emotional response)
  • Adjustments (timing/art)
  • Positioning (prezi) Convince them to feel the same way about my project that I do

Week 10 – Presentation Class 19