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Hellink: a video game for education

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Presentation of a video game designed to teach information literacy in the Sorbonne university group.

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Hellink: a video game for education

  1. 1. Hellink: the project • Hellink is an educative game developed by the Teaching Department of the Pierre et Marie Curie University Library for Sorbonne Universités. Its goal is to raise awareness of information literacy among students: researching, criticising, exploiting and quoting reliable sources, especially in the context of a scientific research work. • The game’s structure is an alternation between narrative phases and gameplay phases. For short courses, it is possible to directly access a given level.
  2. 2. A « Serious game »? • Hellink is an educative game which aims for coherence between storytelling, gameplay and teaching. • This game is… a game => It’s a real game, with an original scenario, its own gameplay, and a global setting with the quality standards of the indie game scene. • The target audience is the bachelor students. It can be used beyond the bachelor’s degree to review the basics of this domain.
  3. 3. Hellink – Use There are two main modes for the game: Seminar (15mn): • Information literacy tutorials usually last for 2h. • Depending on the seminar needs, the teacher can use one precise level of the game themed around one notion to talk about it. • Each level revolves around one precise notion. At the library or at home (5-10h): • The student plays alone on a computer. • Linear story mode, with phases of narration and gameplay. Total play time: 5-10 hours. • The game will be freely available online for everyone.
  4. 4. Hellink – Educational goals The educational goals are: Define a research subject: Define the required level of what one wants to publish, how to structure one’s research, how to find pertinent keywords on a subject. We focus on 2 main aspects: 1) Keyword research: Once the subject is defined, the student must look for relevant keywords to use in their research. 2) Level of complexity: Selecting the right level of complexity for the keywords and sources depending on the type of work (bachelor, PhD…).
  5. 5. Hellink – Educational goals Understand what is a scientifically valid document: Know the difference between publication formats (book, scientific journal, thesis, researcher blogs…). Reliability: Know the questions to ask in order to keep a critical eye on any piece of information, and know which factors can harm its credibility. Quote one’s sources: Avoid plagiarism and respect quotation rules for one’s own information sources to make one’s publication usable by others.
  6. 6. Hellink – Educational goals • Goal : not giving a thorough technical training, but raising awareness about those notions. • The precise technical elements are for the teacher to explain. • The game makes those notions appealing and makes the player practice them in an entertaining way through its gameplay.
  7. 7. Hellink – Training in the humanities Beyond the use of this analytical eye in the sole scientific context, the game aims for formation to the digital humanities and popular education: • Practicing one’s critical sense beyond the scientific context, but also in the player’s everyday life and their relationship with society. • Understanding the need for precise and complete information in our complex period of time to go beyond appearances and understand our society’s mechanics. • Showing fictional situations in a sci-fi universe echoing our reality, to invite players to question it.
  8. 8. Basic information • Platform: PC (+ tablet/smartphone) • Development: Unity • Number of players: 1 • Genre: Reflexion • Target : Bachelor students at Sorbonne Universités
  9. 9. Essential points • Goal : strong gameplay and narrative values, close to an indie game. • Gameplay-theme coherence: • The gameplay offers a real challenge to the player. • The gameplay is not an excuse to talk about educational notions through storytelling, but it makes the player directly practice those notions. • Adaptation to the audience: • The game will be played during university tutorials, hence by gamers and non-gamers alike. • It avoids being punitive to avoid rejecting non- gamers. • It offers optional challenges to give gamers the challenge they like.
  10. 10. Gameplay: Dialogue • 3 gameplay phases: • 1/3 : Dialogues for story development. Fixed screen, characters talking in the foreground.
  11. 11. Gameplay: Keywords • 2/3 : This gameplay phase focuses on defining the subject and understanding research tools: the player must find several keywords linked to a particular subject and assess their complexity level by browsing a corpus of text as quickly as possible.
  12. 12. Gameplay: Source reliability • 3/3 : Inspired by Papers, Please. Practicing the critical eye on an information source. The opponent presents a false assertion and several sources backing it up. The player must find the errors in the sources and link them with the publication rules they break to point the inconsistencies.
  13. 13. General tone and artistic direction • One main inspiration: Ace Attorney ! • Emphasis on elaborated narration served by the gameplay. • Omnipresent humour to lighten the mood and make the game immediately attractive. • Strong and more serious emotion moments at key plot points. • Exaggerated and off the wall situations in a manga/cartoon spirit.
  14. 14. The game’s world • Atmosphere: Science-fiction. • Place/Time: Paris, 2044. Université Pierre et Marie Curie. • Protagonist: A female expert in cybercriminality and data security. • Pitch: An investigation in the university about a large-scale hacking, leading to a murder and the revelation of a worldwide plot. • Appealing representation of the universe of information: – Exaggerated representation of virtual worlds (VR, hi-tech, etc). • References : Ghost in the Shell, Matrix, Transistor…
  15. 15. Characters (WIP): hero, sidekick, mentor
  16. 16. Characters (WIP): hacktivist, Pr. Beaver, Winter salesman
  17. 17. Characters (WIP): Augustin Barruel, Pr. Rabbasch, Criminologist
  18. 18. Setting: The Server Room
  19. 19. Setting: The Atrium
  20. 20. Setting: The Mentor’s office
  21. 21. Setting: The Basement
  22. 22. Setting: The Jardin des Plantes
  23. 23. Setting: The Bachelor Library
  24. 24. Setting: The Last Floor
  25. 25. The team • Myriam Gorsse : Head of Information Skills Training in the University Pierre et Marie Curie, Executive producer on Hellink. • A video game professional team: • Thomas Planques : Creative director, producer, 10 years of experience in the video game field. • 2 game designers • 1 assistant producer • 1 environment artist, 1 character designer, 1 UI artist • 1 developer • 1 sound designer and composer • 1 dialogue writer et 1 script doctor
  26. 26. Summary • A game in a sci-fi universe with a humorous tone, inspired by Ace Attorney, teaching information research and critical analysis. • An alliance between the best aspects of entertainment (compelling fictional universe and audience implication) and teaching (focused learning applicable to a more global apprehension of the world). • Contacts : • Myriam Gorsse – Executive producer myriam.gorsse@upmc.fr • Thomas Planques – Creative director thomas.planques@gmail.com

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