A serious game is a game with a serious purpose. It should still mean that it is fun to play. In terms of game design, it follows the same design processes as games for entertainment purposes and in our work, it also draws from instructional design methods to ensure it delivers the outcome it is created for. A serious game can be digital or physical in nature.
What do people use serious games for?
- to raise awareness
- to give players an experience of reality or a part thereof that will help them in work
- to explain complex scenarios in a visual and engaging manner
- to have a common base and playing ground
- to encourage collaboration and social interaction
We have seen games work in training, in recruitment, during on-boarding of new employees or even clients, at events, in corporate sustainability efforts, climate behaviour awareness, etc. and also on websites to encourage the exploration of information or as part of campaigns for lead generation or brand awareness.
We have created digital and non-digital games for our customers.
Our own gamification card deck is one example, which we created to solve the problem of explaining the abstract concept of game design and game mechanics to people who don’t necessarily have the same inside knowledge as us. Some of our customers don’t even play games regularly themselves, but have found the request and need from the business to come up with a game.
Benefits of Games
Board games are by their very design, social in nature. If you want to get people talking and sharing around a specific topic both card and board games provide the means to do this. Imagine this a group of people who have “nothing” in common and yet when they come to our workshops, they can create a game or gamified solution thanks to our gamification card deck. Or one of our clients used a board game at an event, as a result, 80% of people reported increased confidence of talking about the topic of the game and they also remembered more scenarios than they ever did, even after classroom and online learning.
Digital games are popular the world over. The benefit of a digital environment is that you can access it anywhere and you can play with people in other parts of the world. Often all that is required is a solid internet connection and a device with which you can access the game (aka mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop). Games allow the player to experiment and test out how their actions cause reactions or consequences which allows for learning by doing. The game creates a safe environment where experimentation is encouraged and either rewarded or punished based on the given context.
Digital, physical or mixed – how do you choose?
Physical games such as board games and card games with physical touchable cards lend themselves well to be used in social settings because they are by default social. If encouraging conversation and experimenting in person is important then we would recommend this solution.
Our clients have used board and card games in training and workshop settings as well as at sales events, conferences and product or service launches.
Digital games are played online and can be both individual and multi-player. Access to a specific device is required. We tend to recommend web-based games (HTML 5 or WebGL) that can be embedded on web pages or accessed through a web browser. This means that it is accessible to everyone that can access the web. We can also make mobile games.
Our clients have used digital games for recruitment, learning, lead generation, knowledge sharing and knowledge testing, onboarding, product knowledge, awareness, climate change, sustainability etc.
Mixed reality often hints of high tech but can be as simple as mixing physical and digital experiences to come up with something relevant for each method of communication for your employees or customers. Obviously, it can also mean the use of augmented reality in combination with the real world or virtual reality. In augmented reality, the person keeps a foot and eye on the real world, whereas in a fully immersive virtual reality game the individual totally escapes into a virtual experience.
Our clients have used the blended learning option to make classrooms fun and the preparation work on digital courses and or post classroom follow-up on digital courses. We have created virtual reality experiences for when employees needed to experience reality through their customer’s eyes (health care specific).
Our clients have used augmented reality for treasure hunts with printed scannable posters and stickers which unlocked prizes and collectables. We have had clients who used augmented reality enabled stickers on equipment to highlight checklists and quick reminders on how to use the tools, this was useful for health care and gyms.
What kind of budget to you require for games?
That is like asking how long a piece of string is. Our physical games we offer on a fixed price design package which includes one physical copy of the finished item. We also have a fixed price digital game deal for one-goal simple web-browser games, which are useful for lead generation or one simple learning objective. Our fixed price packages start at £15,000 (exc. VAT) – variables will apply based on the complexity of the design and development required. We typically can turn around simple games in 6 to 12 weeks and when we start from templates sometimes quicker.
For anything more complex, where you have multiple goals and a lot of interactions, characters, graphics, environment etc. we require a better insight of what you have in mind before we can even contemplate pricing.
But just say you are looking to have the next World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto or other fabulous entertainment game repurposed for business use, then you are out of the box looking at 6 figures and up for your design and development budget as well as a time frame of minimum 1 to 3 years.
In this case, we will have a scoping phase, after which we can tell you how much of a monthly retainer is needed over what period of time to make sure you can have your game designed and developed.
Some samples of our work
Hacksagon! – collaborative boardgame
A cybersecurity boardgame designed for CHUBB to share the impact cyber incidents can have on a business.
Pitch Reality is a board game designed to assist female entrepreneurs to get better results when pitching for funding. Research tells us only 2% of funding globally goes to female entrepreneurs. Often this is because they are asked different questions than their male counterparts and also how they answer can impact the results. The game helps to determine whether a question is a promotion or prevention style question and allows for practice with a made-up business whilst going through the entrepreneurial motions of building a business. The project came out of a hackaton in Stockholm and now has it’s own website and we are still raising funds to build out a digital game. Check it out on www.pitch-reality.com.
A Planet called Hope
We developed the collaborative game A Planet called Hope at the start of the first UK lockdown period due to Covid-19 to give families a fun game to play together. You can download it on the dedicated page and play it fully free of charge. The objective of the game is to start a planet from 0 and build it up in a long-term sustainable way.
Save the planet! – digital game
An online game created for children to learn about CO2 emissions from cars, used to kickstart a discussion around the impact on nature, cities and our life in general. Part of a climate awareness program.
Agile and collaborative
We work in an agile manner for all of our projects and game design and development as a rule lends itself well to this. We like our clients to have a sense of ownership of their games by having them co-ideate in the early phases and then playtest in the latter phases.
What we ask is that you trust the process. Game design starts highly conceptual in the heads of game designers which then finds their way to a paper concept. Then it gets iterated into a game design document which includes all the instructions graphic artists need to create the assets and the instructions developers need to code together a working playable version.
We work in sprints so the focus can shift to what has the highest priority at any given time, this is true for game design, graphics as well as development.
WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR GAME DESIGNED?
For our game design process to kickstart, we need you to fill out a detailed questionnaire to get an idea of expectations. when this is completed, we can do our research and schedule a call with solid answers or follow-up with further questions.