Semi-Automated Creation of Serious Games - An Interview

Marcos Codas

Marcos Codas

Today we have the opportunity to talk to Viviana Yarel Rosales-Morales and the rest of the team behind a tool derived from GDevelop. The tool, born out of a model they devised for an academic paper, semi-automates the creation of serious games through prompts, using GDevelop as the underlying technology. Let's hear from the team!

The team.

What is the problem you are trying to solve with your project? In other words, the motivation behind it.

In the educational realm, there is a growing demand for serious games that combine the entertainment and interactivity of commercial video games with meaningful educational content. However, developing these games can be challenging, especially for those who are inexperienced in game design and development.

Often, developers or educators who want to create educational games encounter technical and knowledge barriers. The available tools are often complex, expensive, or require a high level of technical skills. This limits the ability of inexperienced educators and developers to create quality educational games that are tailored to their specific needs.

Furthermore, existing educational video games often lack the features and elements that make commercial video games attractive. These games often have traditional and boring mechanics, which can be unmotivating for students. The lack of elements like engaging graphics, immersive narrative, and engaging gameplay makes it difficult to capture and retain students' attention, as well as their engagement in the learning process.

The problem that is addressed in this project is the difficulty that developers or educators face in building educational games.

What does the project itself consist of?

The objective of the project is to develop a model for the semi-automatic generation of educational video games that includes a combination of platform video game mechanics with a series of educational questions.

The model is implemented in a tool that generates the code semi-automatically so that it can later be loaded into the GDevelop game engine.

In more technical terms, our tool involves creating an intuitive online user interface that allows end users to easily define and customize aspects of the game, such as characters, serious game name, game plot, levels, and the questions.

The Model.

A preview of the model developed.

One of the main strengths of our project is its semi-automatic approach. This means that the model helps streamline the game creation process, reducing the workload and time required to develop a quality educational game. Through the automation of certain tasks and the generation of content adapted to the educational context, our model allows educators to focus on the selection and customization of the key elements of the game, in this case educational content.

The serious games generated with "Model for Semi-Automatic Serious Games Generation" take into account the particularities of commercial video games that are easy to use so that teachers can make variants of the same game, without having to resort to programmers. The goal is for educators to have access to an easy-to-use tool that allows them to create engaging and effective educational video games. By combining platform game mechanics with educational quiz elements and focusing on the game's story and mechanics, we seek to provide an enriching and engaging gaming experience for students.

Why did you decide to use GDevelop?

There are several reasons why we decided to use GDevelop in this project. First of all, GDevelop is easy to use and has a wide range of resources and documentation to help in the development process. Secondly, GDevelop is an open source tool for game development, which makes it accessible to developers. In addition, GDevelop is easy to use and has a wide range of online resources and documentation to help in the development process.

Using GDevelop as the main tool, allowed through JavaScript (JS) files, the necessary flexibility to make adjustments and modifications in the final version of our serious game. The JS file allowed us to customize and tailor the game to the specific needs of our users and academic environments. By using GDevelop's JS, the capabilities of this technology were used to improve the game experience and guarantee its educational effectiveness.

In short, GDevelop is a highly user-friendly tool and offers a wide range of resources. This makes it a great choice for developers looking to create high-quality, educational and serious video games. One of the significant advantages of GDevelop is its focus on simplicity and intuitive understanding. Its conditionals and actions are presented in a clear and concise manner, which facilitates the learning and use of the tool by teachers. By using GDevelop, teachers will not face a huge learning curve, allowing them to quickly take advantage of all the functionalities and create educational and serious games efficiently and effectively.

The company they're developing.

They're making the tool available through this website.

What advantages and disadvantages do you see in using open source software in an academic project?

In the specific case of our project, it provided the ability to customize and modify the software to suit specific needs, fostering strong collaboration that significantly sped up the development process.

There are several advantages to using open source software within an academic project. An important advantage is transparency. Being open source, the source code is available for anyone to review and verify. This provides greater confidence in the security and stability of the software used in the academic project, since vulnerabilities can be identified and corrected more quickly and efficiently.

Some points to highlight are the advantages of using open source software in an academic project:

  • Source Code Access: Source code access allows developers to customize and modify the software to suit their specific needs.
  • Collaboration and community: The use of open source software encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing between developers, which can speed up the development process.
  • Cost and accessibility: open source software favors access to the source code for any developer in the world. By not having to invest in expensive licenses, resources can be directed to other areas of the project, such as the development of educational content or research.

The disadvantages of using open source software in an academic project are:

  • Lack of formal technical support: In some cases, unlike commercial products, where dedicated technical support can be accessed, in the case of open source software, support may depend on the community of users and developers, which can lead to more time to get answers or solutions to specific problems.
  • Possible incompatibility with other programs or systems: Although open source software generally strives to be compatible with different platforms, there may be cases where integration with other systems is more complex or requires additional effort. This can create complications in projects that depend on interoperability with other existing systems or infrastructure.

In the long term, what do you think would be an ideal implementation of the result of your project? For instance, what kind of "product" do you hope can be created through this study and its results?

Based on the model proposed in the article " Model for Semi-Automatic Serious Games Generation", it is expected that in the long term serious video games can be created more efficiently and with randomized levels, which would allow a greater variety of video experiences. games, increasing the replay value. The proposed model is capable of semi-automatically generating serious games through the use of a content generation algorithm that is based on the selection of different components of the video game, such as the objective, mechanics, level and characters. among others.

In the long term, the model is expected to enable end users to create high-quality educational games quickly and efficiently, and that these games can be used in educational settings to enhance the learning experience for students. The model is expected to be adopted by other developers and become a standard tool in the creation of serious and educational video games.

The model.

The description of the model, found on this website.

In addition, this model is expected to enable the semi-automatic generation of serious games in different genres, which would increase the variety of experiences that can be offered and broaden the target audience for these video games. In the semi-automatic generation of serious games with different objectives and approaches, various topics of interest to society, such as education, health and the environment, could be addressed more effectively.

In short, it is expected that the ideal implementation of the result of this project is the creation of a platform that allows the semi-automatic generation of serious games with random levels and in different genres, which would increase the efficiency in the production of serious games and its impact on society.

Would you use GDevelop again for another academic project?

This project is an extension of another where we saw the need to create a serious game to support the teaching-learning process and where we used GDevelop to develop it. With that previous experience, GDevelop became a natural choice for this project. In the future, we do not rule out the use of GDevelop for the development of other video games, whether serious or entertaining.

The reason for choosing GDevelop, in addition to the advantages mentioned above, such as ease of use and the ability to export to multiple platforms, is that there are other specific features that make it attractive. For example, GDevelop has an active community and online forum, making it ideal for students and teachers looking for help and support in game development.

In addition, GDevelop offers a wide variety of online resources and tutorials, making it easy to understand how to use the tool and troubleshoot issues that may arise. In short, we consider that GDevelop is a valuable and versatile tool for creating video games, being an excellent option for future academic projects.

A message that you’d like to share with teachers, academicians and the general public

Our team wishes to share a motivating message for teachers, researchers and the general public interested in developing video games and teaching complex concepts in a playful way.

Our semi-automated Serious Game Generation model is an interactive and personalized Serious Game Generation framework that will enable teachers to create unique and engaging educational experiences for students. With our tool, teachers will be able to design serious games that are more interesting for students.

Also, our choice to use GDevelop as a game development tool was a wise decision. GDevelop is an easy-to-use, open source tool with a large community of users and developers providing valuable support and resources. The tool allows users to create games on multiple platforms, increasing the spread of serious games created.

The team.

The team with one of the games made with their tool.

In this interview, we are pleased to highlight the use of GDevelop as a key tool in our project. While our main goal is to present the model for semi-automatic generation of serious games, we want to emphasize the significant role that GDevelop plays in the development of our tool. We appreciate the support and collaboration of GDevelop, as their platform has allowed us to effectively implement our model and generate serious games. While it is important to remember the main objective of our research, it is also relevant to recognize the value and contributions that GDevelop has brought to our project.

In short, our model and tool have the potential to facilitate the creation of serious video games that can be used to support teaching-learning processes through serious video games. Therefore, we encourage teachers and academics to use our model and tool, and to take full advantage of GDevelop's capabilities to create innovative and effective educational experiences.