Ranulf’s talk

This afternoon I will be speaking about iGame in scouting. Before, we
had the same presentation for the workshop group, and they expressed
very interesting ideas. I will also be sharing some ideas based on the
results of the workshop.

Let’s define two terms, digital and game. For digital, it doesn’t have
to be just software. It can be hardware. I traveled around Shinjuku
area yesterday evening and I saw a soccer game that’s
remote-controlled. That is also somewhat digital. Game and watch—even
though you don’t install the software, it’s still digital. The nice
thing about digital is that it’s user-controlled. When you say it’s
user-controlled, you can decide when to use the software or not.

The next is game. Games are a part of our lives, and games are usually
interactive and fun. We’ll talk about the interactive aspect later.

Now we go into the high level design. Why do we actually make the game
in the first place? We have to answer three questions. Who will play?
Why would they play? What would they play? These three things are
important even before you design or write code in making a game. These
three questions are answered when you identify these three things: the
target players, the main objectives, and the game types. In our
workshop, we identified our target players as age 12 to 16. Most of
the groups’ main objective is to give learning and information
regarding scouting. The game types they have suggested are RPG,
adventure and simulation. We’ll discuss these further later.

In making a game, you have to focus on checking which is your target
player. Actually, we have three easy categories to divide the players.
First, by age. Kids 7-12 who like simple, very graphical, cartoonish-type of
games—Pokemon and something like that. Teenagers 13-18 have a more
mature mindset and the normal games that are simple may not be enough
for them. Complexity has to go up. Adults (19 onwards) have a
different mindset. Most of them are not just in school but already
working, so this is a different set of people.

Also, we can categorize the target players by the language. It’s very
important to make sure that you know the language that your target
player is very familiar with.

Last is the level of game time. Casual gamers—when I want to take a
break for 15 minutes. Hard-core gamers—something that takes a long
time.

That’s how you can classify your gamers using these three
classifications.

What are the three objectives for making games? The first and most
important point is that games provide fun and hidden learning for
target players. When you say fun—when they play the game, they should
be satisfied. They should be happy. Hidden learning means there is
information they pick up from the game itself. Another point is to
showcase technological and art capabilities of a company. I think most
of you are familiar with the Doom game? Their latest version showcases
their technical ability. … profitability and brand marketing. You
can put more advertisments there and other items.

You have two types of advertisments. Active: you have to buy this
item, you have to use this software. Passive: simulation car game,
when you go along the road, you can see the billboards to the left and
right.

Games can also be used to create specific tournaments. For a company,
instead of raffling off prizes to someone, they can use tournaments to
advertise their companies and give their prizes or their products.

Lastly, it is also used for community building. Particularly online
RPGs. The communities also build outside the game.

We’ll briefly tackle the different game types. We have a simple puzzle
game. We have adventures, games like side-scrolling games. We have
sports/action games like basketball and football. We have shooter
types of games like Doom or Quake. Also, we have educational games,
like for the kids. Strategy, like Warcraft or Starcraft. Role-playing
games. Fighting games, which I’m really fond of. And also simulation
games. The simulation workshop said they wanted to produce a hybrid
RPG/adventure/simulation.

Detailed design process. The components of digital games, progression,
and game designer specializations. The three main components of a
digital game is that it should have a main objective. The
representation of a player should be there—what the player is going
to control. Obstactles, and performance feedback. These four elements
are very important.

The flow is here. The initial part is to make a good representation
inside the game. You should make a character the player can relate to.
Different levels, they have different minor objectives, and ther have
their own obstacles. As you go to different levels, the obstacles
become harder. Check for performance feedback, how the game says if
you can go forward or not.

Objective. The main point of having an objective is to provide the
player, through story-telling, the reason why they’re playing the
game. I think you guys are familiar with Star Wars. At the start of
the movie, there’s text scrolling up. That was an innovative way to
tell the story. Also, you can use pictures and full-motion videos to
portray the story of the character and his or her objectives inside
the game. It should be creative and evolving. The story should not be
boring.

Characters or units controlled by the player should be relevant to the
player or configurable/creatable. Should be the main character in the
story. Most of you are probably familiar with Streetfighter. Some of
the characters are representative of different countries. They have
diverse story backgrounds, which also entices people to play the game.

Representation also includes attributes displayed either graphically
or numerically. It also has a set of controls that can be changed by
the player or due to attributes. (Example: screen with icons,
explanation of health score.)

Obstacles prevent the character from achieving the objectives in the
game. It could be a character against another character (player versus
player). Artificial intelligence could control the other character.
Also, you could have puzzles you have to solve before you get to the
next level. Time, where you have to finish a test within a certain period.
Also, lose conditions which will force you to lose the game.

Performance feedback. (Example: map) You know where you are in the
story. You can identify increase or decrease in attributes. Also
includes decision results. If it’s an RPG and you decide poorly, you
get demerited. You have cumulative scores and cumulative ranking.
(Example: arcade)

Progression focuses on the advancement of game components and provides
feeling of achievements to the player. Provides feeling of getting
nearer to the girl.

Character progression. Initially, characters start off with the lowest
abilities, but … Actually, I have in this sample, I have Mario. When
you start of with Mario, it’s a small Mario. When you get a mushroom,
you increase in size. When you get a flower, you get the ability to
throw fireballs. When you get a feather, you become a raccoon-Mario.
This is a classic example of how a character progresses from the the
start to the end.

Story progression. The story initially introduces the character and
what are their mane objectives. (rest of slide text, Final Fantasy.)

… Level progression. (Sorry, I was fiddling with my translator.)

In the first screen, you can see a screenshot from Castlevania at a
very easy stage. Now, you go to the right screenshot, and now the
character is on a different level. His opponent is Dracula, and
Dracula is throwing fireballs at the character. Comparing the first
screenshot to the right, it becomes harder. As levels increase, the
difficulty increases. The obstacles themselves increases. Some other
notes about obstacles. (slide text)

There are some design flaws where you make a level so hard that
characters can’t actually finish.

Let’s now focus on game designer specializations. First is a
scriptwriter. He or she focuses on portraying the main objective or
story of the game. Character designer, those who are really good at
drawing figures. Level designer—scenery, background, level obstacles
and objectives. So we’ve finished the detailed design process. Next
step: simulation games for learning.

There are some games with a very good impact on player learning. I
will show you two samples, which is America’s Army and Shenmue. (slide
text for AA). It was developed to advertise the American Army, and
makes full use of whatever’s available now. If you use the game, you
can virtually use American equipment, and see how their training is
done. Next is Shenmue, a very well-designed game. This is an adventure
game, actually, but it simulates real-life setting in Japan and Hong
Kong. I played this game personally and I learned what pachinko was. I
never went to Japan or Hong Kong before, but I learned pachinko in
this game. This is a good example of a game that uses real-life
settings in the game.

(Screenshots for AA and Shenmue.) (AA obstacle course.) Shenmue is a
game. The first screenshot is the character. The character is very
detailed, almost like a real person. There’s also the element of time.
The game simulates time. In the lower right side, you can see the
character and the environment. If you look at the environment, it
looks like a real place. It gives the character a sense of immersion
in the environment. In this game, I learned how to play pachinko, and
a number of other things about Japan and Hong Kong. The important
thing here is that I learned something as I played the game. You can’t
go to the next level without learning something about martial arts.

Summary.

Feedback. Good input. Not sure how many out there are games
developers, but it is quite a difficult subject, and Ranulf has
managed to condense it very well into 30 minutes and make it quite
simple. You might be pleased to hear that the teams working in the
workshop did fantastic work on devising ideas for simulation games
such as how to run a weekend scout camp and other things, things that
reflect real-life scouting. … observation about gaming in a scouting
context, sometimes in games there are winners and losers, and in
scouting, we try to accommodate everyone. We need to find some way of
ensuring that when people lose a game, they don’t feel negative about
it, and they don’t take that into their real scouting. I think also
with passive advertising, which you mentioned and which can sometimes
be a commercial opportunity to offset development costs, we’re a
values-based organization and we have to be careful about aligning
advertising with our values as a movement. Game development seems to
be quite a big exercise. In relation to scouting again, we need to be
clear about the aims without overcomplicating things. Sometimes the
beauty of things is in their simplicity.

I think those were the main points.

Something about shoot-them-ups. Violence that accompanies such games.
We need to be careful about ourselves as a movement.

I think this is extremely useful for learning scouting skills. What is
the dangerous element in activity, how to do outdoor cooking, how to
teach… This is very useful. My concern is, is there any automatic
generator after you develop the storyboard? We don’t have expertise of
developing the games itself. After you develop the storyboard, is
there any automatic generator to make the game? I would like to open
up the open forum. Anyone who has a question or comment or whatever,
raise your hand.

Q: When I saw iGame scouting, I was very moved. It was wonderful. In
April, my troop, the scouts, I asked them what they would like to do
and we talked about this. There were about 40 opinions that came up,
and one of them was “Hijack!”. I complimented this person. “If you can
figure out how to do it, and come up with a plan, that’s good, but
please don’t actually do it.” … creating… that kind of thinking is
something we can use in the scouting movement. Something I am
concerned about—maybe this is unique to Japan—has a lot of Brazilian
immigrants. Late at night, it’s a bit dangerous. In such a community,
games allow you to experience things that you might not be able to do,
like go somewhere you can’t. This gives you a sense of “I can do it!”
I think that’s great. But for someone who hasn’t done it offline—for
example, how to use a saw—may actually do that in the game, but they
do that offline, they may actually cut their hand or something like
that. Without that kind of accident, with only the image they have of
the game, it could lead to some kind of criminal act. It’s not just
something that hurts, it could be a lot more serious than that. How
can we relay this kind of danger to the scouts? To create a
game… When you’ve experienced that on the game, what do we do
afterwards if there are any kinds of examples we could make so that
the scouts don’t apply what they learned in the game to real life to
the game in a negative way?

Response: Actually, there are some games that give very detailed,
important steps. I’ll share with you one of the simulation games I
played before. (Hospital). If you don’t follow the steps, procedures
and safety requirements, you won’t pass the level. I learned to be
very careful, and make sure everything is in place before I do an
action. In games, when you repetitively do something, directions you
need to follow, rules you need to follow, then it will be implanted
into the player that you also need to keep them in mind. …
Everything that would be a safety hazard in real life would also be a
hazard in the game. What they do virtually, when they go out, they
also remember.

I think the typical simulator is flight simulator, which airliners use
for training the pilots because flying an airplane is expensive and if
you crash it… There’s no how-to-use knife simulator yet. You can
develop how-to-use-knife simulator if you want.

C: Nature is our teacher, that is a saying. Nature itself is our
teacher. We educators in youth programs can learn much from nature,
and that is why we do youth programs. ICT is done in doors, but school
teachers are more adequate for teaching ICT. For example, game program
development. Is this something that is suitable for us to teach? Even
if we are not suitable, should we teach it?

We’re not denying the importance of nature. Scout methods is the
basics. The world is changing rapidly. We are not living in nature.
It’s been a hundred years since scouting began, and there’s less and
less nature. Technology has come into our lives. We don’t need to buy
an airline ticket, we can do it online. We need to think about the
objectives of the youth program. We need to attract and retain
membership. We want to make it possible for scouts to stay in the
program until they finish their education. Nothing outside of the
outdoors is not adequate. If we have that kind of head, we cannot
retain members. The principle is still nature and the outdoors, this
has not changed. But if we focus on just that, we cannot keep their
interest. We need to broaden our activities in order to incorporate
IT. Let’s accept that way of thinking. We don’t necessarily have to go
against the basic principles of scouting. That’s something I don’t
want you to misunderstand.

C: Just to highlight a point about gaming, particularly for the youth.
We are trying to take the element of gaming to maximize the reach to
the youth. In Singapore, the educational system is like Japan, very
intensive, focused on getting results. Recently they are looking at
changing the system to make learning more fun. How do they do that? We
are starting to teach mathematics by playing games. There is already
in the market a keyboard that shoots space invaders. By shooting, you
are reading the notes of a musical page. It’s been proven that they
can read the piece and play the notes as fast as they can shoot space
invaders. This is a tool, this is a learning tool, and it is effective
for the kids. How we make use of it is what we have to figure out.

Ranulf: Also, I’d like to comment. You can also show the player or the
scout that being outdoors is actually a fun activity. America’s Army
is done outside, so they see the trees, the plants, so they want to go
out and check out these things so that they find out what these things
look like in real life. Games is a good way of advertising outdoors.

In fact, there was one comment someone told us when we were organizing
this workshop. Why do you want ICT for scouting? Through these things,
we want them to come out of the computer room. If you can do that,
that’s one thing for scouting. (Always an argument.)

To do and to make game, there are two aspects. The children are very
good at playing games, but making, they haven’t done that, for the
most part. So planning, designing, I think they can do that.
Unfortunately, they can’t do the program. In that case, they cannot
make the game, or it is very difficult. If that happens, they designed
it, but it cannot be realized. I think that’s questionable. They tried
very hard, and there are children who will give up without learning
how to program. Is there any good solution for this? Automatic coding
would be very good.

Ranulf: First of, in this workshop a while ago, starting Thursday, one
of the objectives was actually to get raw data from the scout leaders
in the workshop. So actually, they were able to present well some
ideas they wanted to implement for the game. You can also provide
information, input, on what scouting input or information you want to
place into the game. As for game development itself, I think real
professionals will do it. As scouts, you can have input into how you
want the game to be, so that when scouts play the game, they’ll learn
a lot and experience more things. Developing a game will be done by
a different set of people.

Yes, we are not talking about putting game design into the youth
program. We want to make use of the game as a tool to make scouting
attractive and for them to learn something through the tool. It’s not
part of the youth program or youth activity. The exercise the other
group is doing is an an example. As scout leaders, they are coming up
with ideas of what a scout game could look like.

In this game, we are talking about values. We should have a very clear
vision and mission. How can we put these things into consideration in
our games?

Ranulf: You mentioned three things. For knowledge, you can place
inside the game some things that are information, but they always have
to make good use of that information or else they will get lost and
not be able to go to the next level. For example, making use of a
virtual compass. Next is attitude. There are some games (especially
RPGs) where your attitude toward someone will get different results.
This can reinforce the right attitude for the player. Third is
practice. In the game, (example: compass). When the player actually
uses a compass, he will already be very familiar with it.

I think that’s very true. Co-values. We have very very definite values
we stand for. Whatever trend we adopt can never go against these
values. (Example about violent game.)

A while ago, we talked about outdoors. In the future, let’s say that
the telecom in the future, we’ll be able to go outdoors and play
games. If that happens, then our range of activities, what we can do,
we can use games. We can expand our activity range. Is there a new
game we can do outdoors? Is there a game we can implement and promote
to the scouts?

I would encourage you later today to make contact with the
participants from Hong Kong, who gave insights into very practical
outdoor activities they had, combining orienteering with GPS. They
gave a very good presentation showing how technology can be combined
with scouting.

I think a few countries have used such technology, specially in
hiking. It’s becoming more and more popular in countries. Time for
break until 4:30.