General Design

The design allows the creation of multiple Games with different content, but all game apps share the same type of game play, choosing between right and wrong answers in a series of questions. The terms used in this description (Lessons, Challenges, Battles, Coins, Lives, etc.) can all be changed as part of setting up a new game (and as part of language independence). In a Game, a Lesson consists of a group of related questions. Lessons are offered in a specific numeric order. Progress takes the player to higher level lessons. A Lesson must be completed successfully before the next Lesson can be reached. Each Game consists of a series of Lessons grouped in Levels. Each player is rate by the Lesson/Level that they have reached in a given Game. In addition to game play in Lessons, each game also allows for game play against the computer (Battle Play) and game play against other players (Challenge Play).

The system is envirsions to consists of the following of discreet components, which will be added over time, 

1. Game Creation Module.

This is an optional or later stage module. Initial files defining lessons could be created manually with HTML tags. The purpose of this module is to make the creation of these files much simple and faster. This component, designed for use on a computer with a keyboard, allows information to be entered into a server database. The system allows for the creation, management, and editing of a Game definition. Within the context of a specific Game, the system simplifies creation, management, and editing of Questions which make up the game. Each Question consists minimally of a correct statement (right answer) and a related incorrect statement (wrong answer).

Games are stored in Lessons organized within Levels in a “learning order,” that is, a set sequence progressing from basic concepts to more advanced concept. The game creation software is designed to take correct statements from existing educational materials and make it easy to generate incorrect statements and a related question (to minimize reading). System will also automate the input of Lesson related material, such as examples, illustrations, audio, and video. That material might provide the context for the statements or it can be used either as “reward material” for passing a Lesson or, more likely, a Level. This material provides the basis for Lessons (current or future) that cannot be easily put into statements.

2. Game Playing Module

This component, designed for use on handheld devices, presents the statements stored by the Creation Module for game play (or by the HTML files that precede them). The Playing module allows the player to pick the Game, and displays the current, past, and future Lessons and Levels. Players can go to any completed Lesson or the current lesson to play.

Each lesson contains a number of questions so that level takes from one to three minutes to complete, but it is not limited in time but time is tracked for scoring. Competing statements are short, minimizing reading and answers are short. Any “reward material” presented only after the lesson is finished. Again, it is short, taking less time to review than the lesson itself.

After each lesson is finished it is graded either as failed (less than 75% correct) or won, allowing progress to next Lesson). Each failed lesson costs players a “life.” One life regenerates in 30 minutes unless player purchases them. Each Lesson is also Scored based on the percentage correct times a time bonus that rewards faster times. 

The minimal playing module just keeps number would simply load lesson files, keep time as lesson is played. Mark lesson as passed. Scores lesson based on (correct percentage x time factor). As a player completes one level, the next level of that game is unlocked. Besides game play moving up levels, the player can also play Battles and Challenges. Again, these are later stage features.

Battles are timed contests that draw random questions from all completed levels. Player wins Battle Points based on the Score but unlike Lesson Scores, Battle Points are accumulated over time.
Challenges are timed contests between players where questions are drawn from the levels completed by both players. Players win a given Question if they pick the correct answer first or if their opponent picks the incorrect answer first. The winner is the one with the most correct answers at the end of the Challenge. Challenge Points are awarded based upon Challenge scoring. Game play can be expanded in the future to allow for team formation and team challenges.

3. Player Network Server

This is the server back end that tracks each player’s progress and allows player to play one another. This network is accessed both through the Game Playing Module and through browsers. Minimally, this system tracks each player’s progress, the level they are on, and their highest scores as each level and other player account information. The more sophistical system passes communication between players, minimally Challenge data during a Challenge. This system also acts at the backbone for other advances for the social aspects of the system, connecting to Facebook, Twitter, etc. The most important aspect of this social system is to allow used to earn Coins, which buy rewards by promoting the system on social networks. These social aspects could eventually include lesson feedback, communication between player’s, team formation, and team play. 

3a. The Feedback System

How can we tell if a given true/false statement is accurate or even understandable?

What is understandable to an educator isn't necessarily understandable to a player. With the Warrior Class, I saw that some questions or options were not really clear and they system had no feedback 

The Player System should allow users to rate or question every question or answer. System should have a symbol where users are simply allows to express their confusion at what a given question or options or illustration means. This "confusion rate" will be tracked by the system for each question/answer. This creates a confusion rating for each course. 

Perhaps people could even submit better versions of the same questions and get rewarded for them,. This allows the system to continually improve the material that is part of the game, the knowledge base. You could even make this a separate process where those who have passed a given course of material can vote on all the questions and get extra credit (extra lives, coins, or other rewards) for doing so. The submission of alternative questions could also be rewarded.

People using the app evaluate the quality of courses in general. However, the major focus of the quality with be utility. While many courses should be free, for those that cost money, the measure should be how much value they generate for the users. In some cases, this value can only be measure a year or so later, so the system might prompt users, requiring a value rating at periods of time aftre the fact. 

People should also, of course, be able to rate the course and referring it to friends. Ideally, people who refer a course should participate in any monetary rewards for doing so. 

4. Monetization Server:

The basic game is sold for free. Like all such games, used buy Coins which can be used to purchase various items. Like all these game apps, game play is limited in time to five lives. Lives are lost when Lessons are failed. Coins can purchase lives or timed periods of game play with infinite lives. Coins can also purchase retries, presenting missed questions for a retry at answer in order to pass a Lesson that is close to failing. Players can also purchase “power-ups”, which provide information related to the question such as synonyms and antonyms to key words in questions.

However, unlike other game apps, this system also offers the potential of selling certification in the various skills being taught. Lessons are free but it costs to take certification tests which are based on Lessons. Other monetization possibilities include selling advertising to appear during games.

Of course, another revenues stream here is licensing the game development system and server backend to other educators and institutions. The system is content independent so anyone with educational content that they want to turn into an app can purchase development module and run games under our system where income is split with developed. Options should also allow for licensing the backend stuff, Player Network and Monetization Server, for independent use.

5. Revenue Sharing  with Content Providers System

 Content providers must get revenue from their content. There are a lot of ways to monetize this. Content providers could offer the initial content for free, but then offer more levels of content at a small fee. As players are buying "lives" or power-ups (hints) for particular content, the developer could share revenue with content providers. Content providers should also choose if they want to allow advertising or not and there should be a sharing method for that as well. Since we are also talking about skill training, the content providers can offer certification in the various skills. They can do this completely separately from app, on their own site, using the app to link to certification.

Of course, another revenues stream here is licensing the game development system and server backend to other educators and institutions. The system is content independent so anyone with educational content that they want to turn into an app can purchase development module and run games under our system where income is split with developed. Options should also allow for licensing the backend stuff, Player Network and Monetization Server, for independent use.