Meet Joshua: Chief Game Designer

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Here at Experiential Simulations, there are a lot of diverse talents and backgrounds. Today, I’d like to introduce you to our Chief Game Designer, Joshua Kitz. 

1. Tell us about yourself! What do you bring to ES?
I consider myself a gamer as well as a game designer. I’ve played my fair share of computer and video games but I also have a keen interest in boardgames and tabletop RPGs.
I’ve created a game RPG called Simple Superheroes (which you can find out more about at www.composedreamgames.com), and now I have been designing several games with ES.
I’ve worked in data intelligence and business intelligence so I also contribute some analytical expertise to ES. My primary hat at ES is “chief game designer.”

2. What is your stance on simulation based education?
Simulations provide a fantastic way for students to learn what it may actually be like to be embedded in an environment. They provide a depth of experience that book learning can’t match.

3. What is the next game from ES?
The next game from ES will be “Ethos.” This will be a multiplayer business ethics game. Ethics games in other fields will likely follow using similar mechanics.

4. Any new features?
Well, this is the first multiplayer game that we have done. It is a 4-player semi-compeitive game. The players will actually be actively debating with each other and working at cross-purposes. Which will be quite exciting. This is also the first game where we’ll have a fully integrated chat.

5. What were some of the design challenges?
Ethics is a challenging area to design a computer based simulation for. This is because you want to avoid simply saying that “y” is the correct response; this would ignore the great deal of debate that can go into any ethic dilemma. There are a host of differing theories on what might be the most ethical response to any given situation.
Our solution was to give each player an ethical perspective that they should follow and to make the game as interactive as possible between the players.

6. So what will the game look like from a player perspective?
They’ll receive an ethical objective. They will not know what other students they are playing with. They’ll receive an ethical dilemma and must deduce which response best aligns with their objective. They’ll then try to convince the other 3-players (4 player game) that their preferred response is the most ethical. They’ll back up this debate by spending influence.
The game will consist of a variable number of rounds, and sometimes they’ll need to solve more then one dilemma at a time.

6. What will a instructor be able to do and see?
Instructors will actually be able to configure the number of rounds the game plays for. They’ll also be able to set a few other modifiers, as well as set up a specific schedule if they wish.
They’ll be able to review all the recommendations made by students and if they wish can review the chat discussions.
Once the game is complete there will be points and a recommended grade for each student. The professor will be able to tweak the recommended grade to be more or less based on participation points.

7. Upcoming projects?
We have two other projects in early phases of design and development. One is about the management of the IT infrastructure of a large company. This is meant for business students. The working title of this game is “Agile.” This is a co-operative three player game.
The other game is a “Project Management” simulation. One of the exciting things about this game is the design will support a whole host of different scenario’s (projects) which we plan to expand over time.

Thanks, Josh! Look for the Ethos game in the new year!

Have any questions for Joshua? Leave them in the comments below.

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