The story behind the Professor Rob and Professor Tibia Gameplot narratives….
From July 2018 to January 2019 the Coventry University BEACONING team worked with two students from Coventry University Faculty of Art and Humanities: Vytautas Vasiliauskas, recent graduate in Fine Art & Illustration, and Rachael Till, first-year undergraduate in Animation and Illustration, with additional input from other staff at the University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL). The DMLL team have extensive expertise in innovation for playful and gameful learning and the process of game creation.
Working collaboratively and co-creatively, the students have produced a series of artwork narratives from which to build gameplots for use in the BEACONING gamified lesson plans as authored by teachers using the platform. The Coventry University BEACONING researcher leading on the artwork production created a series of gameplots using the artwork developed.
The aim of this activity was to produce a model of practice whereby students are actively involved in the creation of gameplots for the BEACONING platform, with the intention of creating engaging plots with peer-created artistic and narrative content, thereby attractive to student players.
As the next-generation of artist-illustrators, the students are important co-creators who bring a fresh perspective to gameplot design, potentially increasing appeal for younger students. This peer-created design can help to break through barriers that can obstruct access to innovative teaching and learning, and increase adoption of the BEACONING solution.
The initial Basic Narrative gameplots featuring ‘Professor Rob’ and ‘Professor Tibia’ have become popular with BEACONING partners in the small and large-scale pilots. As a result, new versions of the gameplots have been created offering play in Spanish, French, Turkish, Romanian and Italian in addition to English language.
Character artwork has been adopted in promotional materials for BEACONING and used at exhibition stands at the European Parliament exhibition Technology and Innovation for Social Good, Brussels and at ICT-2018 Exhibition, Vienna.
The gameplots developed have had a significant impact on the pilot delivery, as they provide ease-of-authoring and quick-play alternatives to the longer, more complex 3D gameplots. Initial feedback is that the gameplots are well received by players, in particular the younger students taking part in the pilot.
Impact for future application of this co-creative model is high, given that both teachers and students taking part in the pilot have expressed a desire for themselves or their colleagues to be able to create or edit their own gameplots in the future, should further features be developed for easy-authoring of metagame narratives.