Wednesday, August 4, 2010

3D Resources for Game Prototype Finished

Fall semester will be starting in a few weeks, so I have been working like mad to get as much finished on the game as possible. Experience has taught me that, despite best intentions and wishing otherwise, the start of every semester brings with it the inevitable distractions and game development generally tends to suffer during this period. The hard work on long summer hours in the office finally paid off, and just this morning I put the final touches on the door handles to the museum. What better way to celebrate than to make a screen recording?

Actually getting the screen recording made was an odyssey in itself. I've been using Camtasia in the past to make the recordings, but I wasn't happy with the frame rate and choppy playback. Doing some research online, I discovered that the other people soled this problem by running Camtasia with the DivX video codec (which is lossy, compared with the standard lossless Camtasia codec that ships with the software). In other words, no choppy playback. This solution did not work, so ended up saving my Unity3D game as an .exe file, running that file in a smaller windowed screen, and using FRAPS to record the results. A lot nicer solution!

The video shows all the models I created in Blender and GIMP for the game so far, talks about my plans for testing the game prototype, and even outlines some of my ideas on why 3D digital game-based learning environments would be good for second language acquisition. Basically, my hypothesis is that such video games lead to more efficient and effective learning by helping students perform better on assessments in certain areas, retain what they learn longer in their minds, and develop mental schemata that can more easily be transferred from simulated virtual environments into real-world environments. I'll be using Fall Semester to polish the game interface and program player interactivity and, in Spring Semester, I'll go live with the software in a beginning German class to see what aspects of the hypothesis can be supported by experiment. An article will follow shortly thereafter. In any case, should be a lot of fun.

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