For this week’s Articulate E-Learning Heroes Challenge, David Anderson dared us to create a simple game. (Oh, it’s on.) I created an Oktoberfest Quest game, wherein our hero drinks his way across Germany in order to reach the hallowed beer tents of Oktoberfest in Munich. Somebody had to do it.
A Triumvirate of Inspiration
Timing: David put out the challenge only hours after I’d participated in the weekly #lrnchat discussion on Twitter. Everyone was terribly serious as they discussed how to work collaboratively in groups – until someone brought up beer as a motivational tool. Well, THAT got them dancing in the Twittery aisles, and the whole evening changed. I don’t drink much, but I made a large mental note of what got them engaged: The mere mention of beer.
Topic: As they say, go with what you know. After collecting entirely too many degrees in German, teaching German, and studying, working, and living in Germany – I thought to myself: “maaaaaybe something German…?”
Potential Game Features: I wanted to focus on designing a game board and some sort of progress meter. Since a map of Germany seemed like a natural game board, and a giant Maßkrug slowly filling with beer seemed like an outstanding progress meter, I decided to try those.
Since my primary elements, the map of Germany and the Maßkrug, were better suited to a portrait orientation, I flipped the standard Storyline layout so they could inhabit the full screen.
Once I decided to use the game to teach German dining customs, I put a wooden background underneath the map to evoke the feel of a restaurant table, and the checkered tablecloth behind the Maßkrug for the same reason.
I also knew that sound effects would be critical, especially for filling the Maßkrug. I got lucky and found some evocative ones.
There are two measures of progress: linear progress on the map, and liquidy beer progress in the Maßkrug.
Linear Progress: I thought a little Krug at each completed stop on the map would be a good tracker, and moving by train would make it feel like you’re making game progress, and also evoke the sense of traveling through Germany.
At each stop I used a zoom region to zoom in tightly on the city, and then an immediate “Box Out” transition on the following question slide so that, together, it would feel a bit like you’re zooming from the macro map to the micro restaurant where our protagonist needs some help.
Beer Progress: Every time you answer a question correctly, the Maßkrug fills up a little more. By also using it to briefly recap the teaching point, it doubles as a bit of learning reinforcement.
And speaking of learning stuff, I chose to make it an all-or-nothing game. You’re required to answer each question correctly in order to go forward. One wrong answer and you’re back in Dresden waiting for the train.
I credit Michael Allen with this torture. I saw a banking example of his where you decide whether or not to approve a series of checks for payment. One wrong decision, and you’re back to check one. It ticks you off just enough that you get determined to beat the stupid thing, and while you’re at it, you learn the principles being taught.
The Big Finish
I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s kind of awesome.
Update! Free Template Now Available
Since creating this, I’ve designed a free Storyline template of this game and done some videos to help you customize your own. All the scoop you need is right here!