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Uncharted Depths: Serious Games For Scientific Inquiry

Uncharted Depths - Also Dubbed The Game Of Scientific Inquiry
What if the educational objectives of a game are about exploring rather than formally assessing? What if a game is designed to help a player form an opinion rather than be told an answer?
These sound like Holy Grails for Serious Games, but Filament Games has tackled these issues head on and found out that designing around less explicit objectives actually requires a different kind of game experience. …

Via: Filament Games

About the Studio

Filament Games, LLC is a game production studio dedicated to creating next generation learning games that combine best practices in commercial game development with key concepts in learning sciences.

Filament's core directive is to create educational experiences that spark inspiration through interactive exploration and discovery. Secondarily, they seek to help teachers and parents excite their kids about learning, track their progress, and assess their performance.

Filament's development team represents expertise in game design, programming, art, sound, quality assurance, and learning sciences. The titles in their portfolio, including both 3D Torque games and 2D Flash games, cover a diversity of STEM, literacy, and civics education topics. Every game make is subject to an extremely high standard of quality, extending to often overlooked areas like accessibility, usability, efficacy, and visual/auditory fidelity.

Filament's recent clients include National Geographic’s The JASON Project, Florida Virtual School, the University of Wisconsin, the Smithsonian Institution, Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's iCivics Inc. They are also proud to have received grant funding from the MacArthur, Kauffman, Annenberg, and National Science Foundations.

Their methodology starts by identifying the core learning objectives. Based on those objectives, they design custom-tailored gameplay mechanics, or "verbs": actions the player can take in the game environment that scaffold them from understanding the learning objectives to internalizing them.

Filament Games Philosophy

• All games are learning games...
• Games are not a good fit for all learning goals.
• Learning is naturally pleasurable. There is no reason to awkwardly sandwich learning content between mechanics designed solely to be "fun" or otherwise divorced from learning objectives.
• Good games embrace experimentation and, by extension, failure. They prioritize inquiry over right versus wrong.
• Rather than focus on content, good learning games focus on building problem spaces in which content has authentic utility

About Uncharted Depths Game

Uncharted Depths (also dubbed “the game of scientific inquiry”) is designed to teach the practices - both procedural and cognitive - by which science professionals form questions, collect data, compile data into defensible theories, articulate said theories, and participate in scientific communities of practice.

In the game, players conduct lab-based controlled experiments and field-based measurements/observations in order to develop, refine, and defend a scientific theory.
“It is the distant future. You are a scientist; a prominent inter-planetary researcher known for your pioneering efforts to understand the fabric of life's tapestry on remote, uninhabited worlds.”

“A mobile research station grants you access to mysterious, unexplored sea-escapes, and a submersible equipped with tools for collecting data (EG phosphorous readings) and capturing specimens allows you to investigate and decode complex alien ecosystems; specifically, creature relationships (EG symbiosis), population dynamics, and water quality.”