Date of Graduation

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Science (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Computer Science & Computer Engineering

Advisor

Craig Thompson

Committee Member

David Fredrick

Second Committee Member

John Gauch

Third Committee Member

Gordon Beavers

Keywords

Gamification, Video Games

Abstract

Communicating ideas and knowledge through serious games is a trend that is currently gaining in popularity. However, at present, there is a distinct lack of a game development methodology that takes a critical approach to transforming information into gameplay. This thesis presents a framework that can be followed to construct compelling serious games that are effective at transferring knowledge to the player. This is accomplished through an analysis of atomic knowledge items and their relationships to one another, followed by a meaningful and synergetic implementation of these ideas at a foundational mechanics level.

This thesis also describes the development of Mythos Unbound, a large-scale online serious game designed to teach students about classical Greek and Roman culture and literature. Offered as part of an online course at the University of Arkansas in the 2013 fall semester, deidentified user feedback suggests the game improved the learning process. The project was developed alongside the gamification framework and serves as the prime real-world application of its principles, and so demonstrates the potential of serious games as a means of meaningful communication.

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