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Steps in Building a Simulation or Serious Game

I have been working on a new book, currently in draft mode, on the process Clark Aldrich Designs uses to build simulations and serious games for our clients. (This is being released as part of our own commitment to growing the Serious Games industry.) It is currently available for free, here. This version (0.76) reflects some slight shifts, so please replace any earlier version with this one. This new eBook significantly augments Chapter 26: Educational Simulation Creation and Milestones Part 1 in The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games, my definitive guide to the grammar of games and the gamification of media.

Summary of Steps (and page numbers in the document)
  • Step 1.01: Identify and Build Buy-In for the Broad Need for Sims p11
  • Step 1.02: Identify the Area of Need p14
  • Step 1.03: Assign the Early Roles p17
  • Step 2.01: Identify Learning Goals and Program Goals p23
  • Step 2.02: Rigorously Identify Target Audience p25
  • Step 2.03: Create a High Level Budget and Time Frame p27
  • Step 2.04o: (Optionally) Bring in an Outside Vendor p29
  • Step 2.05: Produce Concept Document p30
  • Step 2.06: Produce Rough Schematic/ Walk Through p32
  • Step 2.07: Set up Sharing Infrastructure and Meeting Schedule with Stakeholders p34
  • Step 2.08: Review Existing Training Materials p35
  • Step 2.09: Research, including outside research p36
  • Step 2.10: Interview Subject Matter Experts p37
  • Step 2.11: Build out the Simulation Model p39
  • Step 2.12: Identify Genre, Platforms, and Techniques p44
  • Step 2.13: Synchronize and Mesh the Content Model p49
  • Step 2.14: Bring in the Final Programming Talent, if not yet done p53
  • Step 2.15: Bring in the Lead Artist p56
  • Step 2.16: Finalize Budget and Project Plan p58
  • Step 2.17: Establish Scenarios, Story, Characters, and Settings p59
  • Step 2.18: Break out Levels and Level Designs p64
  • Step 2.19: Create List of Needed Art p66
  • Step 2.20: Produce Proof of Concept p67
  • Step 2.21: Produce the Design Document p68
  • Step 2.22: Finalize Assessment Strategy p70
  • Step 2.23: Develop Architecture, including Content and SCORM and LMS Integration p74
  • Step 2.24: Finalize Key Simulation Actions and Mechanisms p78
  • Step 2.25: Meta-Code Algorithms p80
  • Step 2.26: Create all of the Final Illustrations p82
  • Step 3.01: Prototype in Code Each New Segment/Genre p84
  • Step 3.02: Complete all Dialogue and Pedagogy Text p85
  • Step 3.03: Build Out the Various Content Engines p87
  • Step 3.04: Create One Complete Level p88
  • Step 3.05: Finish the Separate Self-Contained Engines Pieces and Fill in the Level Details p90
  • Step 3.06: Combine Different Pieces into Seamless, Rough Whole p93
  • Step 3.07: Translate the Text p95
  • Step 3.08: Step Bring in the Final Acting Talent p96
  • Step 4.01: Pilot for Usability and Learning Objectives p100
  • Step 4.02: Rerecord talent where necessary p102
  • Step 4.03o: Find the Right Content (Optionally, if using third party sims) p103
  • Step 4.04: Package Any Support Material p108
  • Step 4.05: Create and Present Marketing Material p111
  • Step 4.06: Put on Final Server p112
  • Step 4.07: Chunk Content (for class use) p113
  • Step 4.08: Test Sim with a Subset of Final Population p116
  • Step 5.01: The Set Up (for class use) p120
  • Step 5.02: From Real Life to Simulation (for class use) p122
  • Step 5.03: Teaching the Interface (for class use) p124
  • Step 5.04: First Public Simulation Play (for class use) p125
  • Step 5.05: Putting together participants for Multiplayer or Team Based Sims (for class use) p126
  • Step 5.06: Coaching During the Student Use (for class use) p127
  • Step 5.07: After Action Reviews (for class use) p129
  • Step 5.08: Off Ramp from Simulations Back to Real Life (for class use) p130
  • Step 5.09: Gather Metrics around "Simulation Use and Effectiveness" in Full Population p132
  • Step 5.10: Create the Final Report p134
  • Step 5.11: Patch and update the Sim p137

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