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					Rethinking the Library Game:
Creating an Alternative Reality with Social Media


                                        Jason J. Battles
                                       Valerie D. Glenn
                                       Lindley C. Shedd
                             The University of Alabama


       2/26/2011
Libraries and Gaming


 • Gaming in Libraries
       • Wii, DDR, Rock Band, board games


 • Libraries in Games
       • Second Life


 • Library Games
       • General focus on information literacy




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Libraries and Gaming


 • Why create a library game?
       • Promote information literacy
       • Highlight library resources
       • Engage users


 • Don’t we need a programmer?
       • No. You just need creative staff
         members, clear game objectives, and
         web skills.




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Learning Objectives of the Game

 • Highlight resources and collections
       • Special Collections
       • Electronic Journals
       • Online Course Reserves


 • Initiate students on how to access and
   search these resources

 • Encourage critical thinking of
   participants



2/26/2011
What Will Engage Students?

 • “Academic Games Are No Fun”
       • http://games.slashdot.org/games/07/12/05/13023
         3.shtml


 • Games they play
       • Halo and Call of Duty
       • MMOGs like World of Warcraft
       • Guitar Hero and Rock Band


 • Online sites they use
       • Facebook
       • YouTube
       • Twitter


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Finding the Right Game Format
 • Libraries cannot directly compete with
   most commercial games

 • Determine your available resources
       • Financial
       • Human

 • Incorporate popular social media sites
   to engage students where they are

 • Develop manageable game objectives
   and a strong concept to keep players

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Alternate Reality Games (ARG)

 • Web-based and story-driven design

 • Disguises the fact that it is a game at all

 • No defined rules

 • Runs over a fixed period of time

 • Player reveals the plot and goals through
   interacting with game components


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Alternate Reality Games (ARG)
• http://www.argn.com
• This is Not a Game by Dave Szulborski

• Internet-based and story driven
• Examples:
      • http://www.massivedynamic.com/
      • http://www.marevitreum.com/
      • http://www.tracesofhope.com/


• Indiana University’s ARG work
      •     http://www.argn.com/2008/09/indiana_university_combat
            s_the_freshman_fifteen_with_skeleton_chase/




2/26/2011
Why an ARG?

  • Non-traditional approach that is more
    engaging for players
  • Does not require large budgets or a
    team of programmers
  • Social media sites are natural locations
    for game components
  • ARGs have been successful in
    marketing movies, television shows,
    and video games
  • Why not libraries?



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 Our Game - Project Velius




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Considerations in Building our ARG

• Development directed by diverse team of
  library personnel with limited resources
     • No additional funding
     • No team of programmers
     • Limited student work allotment


• Game must be completely online

• Game should be accurate representation
  of how library resources are accessed
  and used


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Building an ARG

• Story creation is the most important
  element of ARGs, but it is also the most
  difficult

• The story plays out like a screenplay

• The creation of game assets is
  dependent on the creation of the
  storyline




2/26/2011
Project Velius Storyline

 • Developed over several months by
   three committee members

 • Main character and her boyfriend work
   at a biotech company

 • He goes missing

 • She uses clues found in library
   resources and social media venues to
   find him


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Our Game – Project Velius
  • http://www.projectvelius.com

  • Library Resources
        • Unique historical collection
        • Electronic journal article
        • Online course reserves

  • Social Media Components

  • Web sites



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Social Media Components

   • Facebook group
            • Served as the hub of the game
            • Facilitated player interaction


   • Twitter accounts

   • YouTube video

   • WordPress blogs




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     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
     =WJwnsWaBpCc




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Web Sites

   • www.projectvelius.com
            • Main gateway for the game


   • www.yenosresearch.com
            • Fake biotech corporation involved in a
              questionable research program

   • www.knowgarden.org
            • Student homework site that was only
              discoverable through game clues




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            Running the Game




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Running the Game


 • Ran over a six week period from
   September 17 to October 22, 2009

 • Blogs and Twitter were the main tools
   used for character interaction

 • Members of the development group
   took on the roles of the characters




2/26/2011
Running the Game - Continued


 • These puppeteers made blog posts and
   tweets timed by a detailed script

 • They also built the story’s alternate
   reality through backdated blog entries

 • One person served as a game master to
   help players via the Facebook group




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Marketing

 • No carrot

 • Flyers, news ad, web ad

 • Bibliographic Instruction sessions

 • Freshman compass courses

 • English 101




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Assessment


 • Web stats
       • Google Analytics
       • WordPress


 • Survey of players

 • End of game event




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Lessons Learned
 • Start with a bang!

 • Keep them interested
       • Resist controlling the tempo or gating
         player progression
       • Consider the length of the game


 • Build something you can easily replicate

 • Find collaborations to help with aspects
   of the game that are not your strength


2/26/2011
Lessons Learned - Continued


 • Understand the limitations and use
   policies of any social media tools you
   intend to employ

 • Think about the need to track players

 • Create buy-in among the campus
   community




2/26/2011
 Next Steps
 • Follow advancements in technology,
   gaming, and instruction

 • Continue to examine what motivates
   players in games

 • Find ways to include students in the
   creation and development

 • Consider external collaborations



2/26/2011
 Contact Information


             Jason J. Battles
            jjbattles@ua.edu

             Valerie Glenn
            vglenn@ua.edu

              Lindley Shedd
            lcshedd@ua.edu




2/26/2011

				
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