Monday, August 25, 2014

Case Study No. 1528: University of East London Librarian

The Library Game Walkthrough
This is a walkthrough the game that me and Raph build for the University of East London.
Tags: Clemnet Clemente Guerra CGNetwork Library game Uel
Added: 6 years ago
From: clemnetg
Views: 284

"The Library Game"
UEL (University of East London)
LLS (Library and Learning Service)
SCOT (School of Computing & Technology)

Developed by: Clemente Guerra, Raphael Courtenay
(c) 2007

Movement control
Move the cursor to either side of the screen to rotate the camera left or right.
Hold down the spacebar to move in the direction the camera is looking. Release spacebar to stop movement.

Look out for new messages. These will tell you which tasks you need to complete next.

Completing tasks
To progress through the game, each task needs to be completed. Successful completion of each task will lead to the next. Look out for the red target zones for the location of the next task.

[scene opens with an alien (green bald head, dark jacket, white t-shirt, blue jeans, single gold earring) inside the University of East London Library, as he approaches the female librarian (African American, floral print shirt) standing at the helpdesk]
PLAYER: Hello.
HELPDESK: Hello, welcome to the library. Feel free to ask me for help at any time.
[the player heads for the red circle surrounding the computers, as "The online catalogue holds information about every publication in the library. You will need to enter your user number then the key words associated with your book to search for it." appears on screen]
[cut to a representation of the UEL online catalogue, as the player enters user number "0795097"]
[the screen changes ("Logged on as Afiijes Quasgao" appears), then the player searches under "Keyword" for "shockwave 3d"]
[the catalogue displays two books ("Director's third dimension" by Paul Catanese and "Macromedia Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio for 3D" by Phil Gross), so the player selects "director's third dimension" and returns to the help desk]
PLAYER: I found the book in the catalogue. What do I do now?
HELPDESK: Use the reference number and match it to the shelf number.
[the player heads for the red circle surrounding the stacks area, as "Move the mouse over the books to find the correct reference number." appears on screen]
[cut to a shot of three rows of identical blue books, as "Find this reference number: 006.693" appears on screen]
[before the 20-second time limit expires, the player finds the correct book, as "You got it!!" appears on screen]
[cut back to the alien, who heads for the red circle surrounding the copy machine, as "The photocopier is very simple to use. Click on the lid to open or close it. Correctly position the document. Close the lid to start copying. Take your new copy of the document. Press Enter to continue." appears on screen]
[cut to a closeup of the copy machine, as the player makes a copy, then returns to the help desk]
PLAYER: Hi, I would like to take this book out please.
HELPDESK: Sorry, I'm quite busy at the moment. You can use the self checkout machines behind you. Just swipe your card and enter your PIN.
[the player heads for the red circle surrounding the self checkout machine, as "Swipe your card." appears on screen]
[cut to a closeup of the self checkout machine, as the player moves the card over the scanner]
["Now enter your PIN using the numpad then press Enter. The default PIN is 0000" appears on screen, and the player types it in]
["You entered the correct PIN. Wait for your receipt then press Enter." appears on screen, as the "virtual" receipt prints out of the machine]
["Congratulations, you have successfully checked a book out of" appears on screen]



The project presented here evolved at the same time as we opened our wonderful new library at our Docklands campus. We sought new ways of promoting these splendid new learning spaces and the services they contain, and we identified games technology as having the potential to pro-vide an innovative and enjoyable way of learning library and information skills. An entertaining and enticing game could replace the rather tired and ineffective library tour often provided at the start of each semester.

We approached Elias Pimenidis, a national expert in gaming software in our school of computing and technology, who thought that teaching library skills would be an interesting application for games technology.

Developing the information literacy of our users is one important aspect of our contribution to our university's learning and teaching strategy. The university's learning and teaching committee encourages bids for projects that will enhance the learning and teaching experience and promote students' success. Such projects are normally awarded to our academic schools, but we took the bold step of making a joint bid with the school of computing and technology to develop 'The Library Game'.

We produced a briefing document outlining the need to develop a library game to introduce our diverse student population to library services. We envisaged a game that would be fun and interac-tive for both novice computer users and mature gamers. If successful, it might attract more stu-dents to use the library facilities and even interest other university libraries in using this approach.

Our bid for some £10,000 for an eighteen-month project was successful – a small sum in view of the ambitious nature of our project, but at least we could experiment with enhancing the experience of learning library skills.

Our partnership approach was crucial. The project team consisted of two library staff – the director of service (Andrew McDonald) and the academic services and skills manager (Simone Okolo) – and Elias Pimenidis, a senior lecturer in the school of computing and technology. The director of library and learning services provided the vision and impetus for the project, guiding and supporting its progress. The academic services and skills manager was responsible for managing and deliv-ering the project, and acted as the library contact for the game's developers. The senior lecturer in the school of computing and technology provided expert academic leadership and support, guiding four of his students through the design, develop-ment and testing of the game in relation to our specification. This gave these undergraduates on a computer games programme of study valuable first-hand experience of developing a game in response to customers' requirements. Developing the game using commercial software specialists would have been way out of our financial reach.

The development team faced a number of chal-lenges. They had to capture a real library environ-ment in the game and concentrate on the peda-gogic challenge of ensuring that players under-stood how to use various library services rather than simply playing the game itself.


Academic gaming can provide the social and con-templative counterpart of sensual video gaming while maintaining the elements of fun that make games so attractive to a wide range of people. It is these features of the computer games used in academia that inspired the project discussed here.

In designing a computer game developers have to establish the objectives of the game by identifying its desired impact: here for helping library users navigate new library services. This influences the gameplay, especially the motivational elements of the game design. They also need to consider what will make the user continue to want to play the game until the objectives are fully achieved. The impetus to explore the use of games technology in our information skills work lies with the fact that as librarians we continuously seek new and inno-vative ways of teaching students library skills.

Acquiring library skills as early as possible in their learning careers is essential for students to enjoy success in their academic work. Library skills are about learning how to learn, are part of being an educated person and are valuable lifelong and employment skills.

Learning these new skills is not always easy, and creating effective library induction programmes that enhance the learning of library skills offers several challenges. It is these challenges that the game discussed here aims at overcoming.


The challenge for the project team was to offer the experience of a virtual-world learning envi-ronment to university students. The aim was to present a game that would enhance their experi-ence of gaining library skills, sometimes regarded as a rather tedious and unexciting experience, particularly amongst a student population charac-terised by wide cultural and educational diversity. In doing so the developers had to overcome the strict training environment of academic gaming, introducing gaming elements that make the game attractive to this diverse student population and, at the same time, maintaining the educational focus.

The game starts on the main floor of the library – the most important part of the library – where librarians, the main helpdesk, self-service machines, online catalogues, photocopiers, printers and binding machines can all be found. The story is of an alien who crash-lands at City Airport and who surfaces in the university library nearby and realises he has to learn how to use our services to survive.

Players are presented with an easy-to-use inter-face. For each stage of the game the interface presents a set of instructions and this provides continuous guidance for the player throughout the game.

The game is subdivided into a set of mini-games. Starting off, the player is required to find a book situated on a particular shelf and, once located, the player will have to pick the book off the shelf and borrow it, using the self-service machines. Each mini-game presents the player with a par-ticular interface, and once completed the game reverts to the initial interface.

There will be five mini-games at the end of the current phase of development. They cover:

* finding a book on the online catalogue
* finding a book on the shelves
* using the self-check machines to borrow a book
* asking a question at the helpdesk
* photocopying a chapter of a book.

The game also features a scoring system to deter-mine the winner and the relevant reward.

The development team initially comprised four students who produced a design specification for a very early 'pre-alpha' version of the game. The team was subsequently reduced to two students, who continued with two revisions of the original design and, almost fifteen months after the initia-tion of the project, completed a competent beta version of the game. It is this beta version that is due to be tested by a wide audience of users, comprising students from different schools across the university.

A questionnaire has been developed that aims to capture feedback from all participants in the evaluation release phase of the game. The pur-pose of the feedback is two-fold: firstly, to provide an analysis of the educational impact of the game on users and, secondly, to allow the developers to identify improvements in the technical and game-play features of the game.

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