If that sounds strange to you, then you haven't been following the work of Dan Meyer. He's the guy that told us math classrooms need a makeover in his TEDxNYED talk. A recent blog post of his describes The Three Acts Of A Mathematical Story.
- Act One: "Introduce the central conflict of your story/task clearly, visually, viscerally, using as few words as possible."
- Act Two: "The protagonist/student overcomes obstacles, looks for resources, and develops new tools."
- Act Three: "Resolve the conflict and set up a sequel/extension."
Research to discover new mechanisms to allow game designers to create helpful allies and challenging opponents by generating scripts automatically can support authors in providing creative high-level direction to these agents. A multi-queue behavior architecture with prioritized interruptible and resumable independent and collaborative behaviours will be employed. BELIEVE will provide authors a library of highlevel behaviour, plot patterns, and game story idiom scripts for adaption to the story at hand.When I heard about BELIEVE, my immediate thought was that we need something similar for educational games. We know narrative is important, but I don't think the standard mechanisms for storytelling in games would necessarily work. After all, there is a hidden agenda of actually teaching something specific. Once we figure out the secret formula for how to weave learning into a game in a way that is both fun and effective, it makes sense to create tools that help others get the same good results.
To tie it all together, I wonder if the techniques Dan uses can inform or influence how we tell stories with educational games. Something to think about the next little while.