Alphabet Soup: Developing game mechanics as open education resources

Dana Ruggiero
Bath Spa University
Bath, England

Newly developed university programs in the United Kingdom are focused on creating links between industry and academia. The games industry is one of the strongest in the United Kingdom with both AAA games studios and Indie start-ups working with university programs in games technology. To create more instances of widening participation in a growing creative technological program, Alphabet Soup was designed to introduce more dialogue between content, game mechanics and topics under contention in the games industry. Using short-form game design with rapid prototyping and design-based research, 26 month-long challenges aimed at exploring new technologies in games have been constructed. These challenges are constructed as prize fights with multiple contenders vying for each challenge title. Thereafter, the mechanics developed are made available on creative commons for the challenges.

The aim of this presentation is to discuss the benefits and demands in making game mechanics open access and the process for creating evolving procedures to mitigate any intellectual property issues. A discussion of the Alphabet Soup project will be the focus of the presentation, with key points emphasizing the ADDIE model used to develop and disseminate information to the stakeholders at each stage. The evaluation of the project is ongoing with a design-based research methodology supported through a community of enquiry framework. Given the overlap between industry and academia in games technology, a community of game developers from across the world, a core group of academic advisors, and computer science staff form the project team. This integrated approach is the justification for using a community of enquiry framework and the 26 month-long challenges allow a design-based research methodology to develop naturally through the use of designer- developed mechanics. Alphabet Soup is in the final stages of planning and will be launched in February 2014. The results of the planning and challenge constraints will be the final part of the presentation.