Authoring of Adaptive Single-Player Educational Games
Digital Educational Games, as one of the most important application areas of Serious Games, combine positive properties of digital games, such as strong motivation for players and inherent learning processes, with educational methods and technologies. Adaptive algorithms allow such games to be aligned automatically to the needs of different players, thereby increasing the learning efficacy. However, educational games are among the most complex game production endeavors, since they are often faced with small budget on the one hand and special requirements with impacts on all aspects of game development, from design through programming to asset production, on the other.
Authoring tools have been successfully created and used in fields related to Serious Games and educational games, including e-Learning, multimedia, interactive storytelling and entertainment games. These tools incorporate parts of the production workflows in their respective areas and allow all authors, including non-programmers, to create applications. While it appears beneficial to create authoring tools for educational games, we find that authoring tools for educational games have to account for the higher complexity and interactivity of games compared to other forms of multimedia and that they have not been researched thoroughly in the past.
These challenges are addressed in this thesis by presenting a concept for an authoring tool for adaptive educational single-player games that accounts for the specifics of educational game development. Major results are an educational game description model, concepts for adaptive control of educational games and author support mechanisms specifically for adaptive educational game authoring. These concepts are implemented in the authoring tool “StoryTec”, which is validated in the course of a set of evaluation studies. The novel features of StoryTec include the specific support for adaptive educational games, a concept for structural and interaction templates shown to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the authoring tool, as well as the support for collaborative work. It builds the foundation for a number of current and future research and development projects, including the extension towards authoring of multi-player games, and is tested and used by over 120 members of an open community.