Digital Educational Games: Methodologies for Development and Software Quality
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Development of a game in the form of software for game-based learning poses significant technical challenges for educators, researchers, game designers, and software engineers. The game development consists of a set of complex processes requiring multi-faceted knowledge in multiple disciplines such as digital graphic design, education, gaming, instructional design, modeling and simulation, psychology, software engineering, visual arts, and the learning subject area. Planning and managing such a complex multidisciplinary development project require unifying methodologies for development and software quality evaluation and should not be performed in an ad hoc manner. This dissertation presents such methodologies named: GAMED (diGital educAtional gaMe dEvelopment methoDology) and IDEALLY (dIgital eDucational gamE softwAre quaLity evaLuation methodologY). GAMED consists of a body of methods, rules, and postulates and is embedded within a digital educational game life cycle. The life cycle describes a framework for organization of the phases, processes, work products, quality assurance activities, and project management activities required to develop, use, maintain, and evolve a digital educational game from birth to retirement. GAMED provides a modular structured approach for overcoming the development complexity and guides the developers throughout the entire life cycle. IDEALLY provides a hierarchy of 111 indicators consisting of 21 branch and 90 leaf indicators in the form of an acyclic graph for the measurement and evaluation of digital educational game software quality. We developed the GAMED and IDEALLY methodologies based on the experiences and knowledge we have gained in creating and publishing four digital educational games that run on the iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch) mobile devices: CandyFactory, CandySpan, CandyDepot, and CandyBot. The two methodologies provide a quality-centered structured approach for development of digital educational games and are essential for accomplishing demanding goals of game-based learning. Moreover, classifications provided in the literature are inadequate for the game designers, engineers and practitioners. To that end, we present a taxonomy of games that focuses on the characterization of games.
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