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Computer games and simulations can be valuable teaching and communication tools, and they are a powerful form of self-expression. Unfortunately, creating games requires programming, and programming requires time and skill. Some tools facilitate game creation to motivate novice programmers, but programming is still necessary. Other systems require less programming, but they are narrowly focused. To enable faster, simpler, and more expressive tools for professionals and amateurs, we have explored the processes and tools used in the early stages of game and simulation design. Interviews with educators clarified the uses of simulations in the classroom, while interviews with professional game designers uncovered a need for a new medium for prototyping interaction. We also conducted a study that observed seven groups of children designing games with words, sketches, and animations, finding significant advantages to sketches and animations. Finally, we refined an interface optimization design technique and applied it to this domain as a first step toward a new game and simulation prototyping tool.


Games, simulations, design, animation, prototyping


Software Engineering

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Software Systems

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University of Washington, Computer Science and Engineering Department

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Seattle, WA, USA

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.