There were questions raised as to the necessity of creating a multi-user game – could a single-user game not achieve the same learning outcomes? Although a single user game removes networking concerns, it requires the development of credible AI functionality.
Gareth suggested we first create mock-ups of the user interface on paper or using PowerPoint. There was some disagreement about how polished the UI needs to be for effective user testing. But also some positive input on game usability testing – user testing very quickly highlights problems in games (a subject to return to later in the project). We also touched on the difficulty of coding good quality user interfaces in Java - flash might be a better option here.
Graham talked about the importance SMS texting has taken on for communication in developing countries – something we could usefully employ in the game.
Pejman suggested studying other games designed with similar goals in mind . Games mentioned included:
Farmville - a real-time farm simulation game where players manage a virtual farm by growing crops and raising livestock. Farmville is available as an app on Facebook, Android and iPhone. http://www.farmville.com/ .