This website is building an inclusive gaming community to play, analyze, create, and showcase digital games.
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README.md

MSTU 5003 Design Document

Write a design document where you explain your project. You should clearly explain the problem you're trying to solve. Be sure to describe the domain you're working with and the users you're trying to target. Remember that the point of your design document is that you can hand it off to any developer and theoretically they would be able to understand and build the program.

Topic

This website focuses on game design and game development of digital games, which includes a deeper understanding of technology like coding, graphics, animation, and design. This site applies to broader fields, mainly computer science education, technology accessibility to women and girls, and gaming industry. This website would essentially build a novice user in the game world to become immersed in the world of gaming and technology. It can be used as a resource for women and girls to build their knowledge of games and eventually create games to showcase their technical skills and showcase their final products on our website.

Problem

Entertainment Software Association’s Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry found that 44% of women are game players but only 12% of women make-up the gaming industry. Female game designers still do not have a voice in this mega billion dollar gaming industry. Our society needs more female game designers and developers to create different perspectives and tell different stories. It’s not only the gaming industry that needs to change, it’s all STEM related fields. Only 25% of women who were in the computing workforce in 2015 (NCWIT, By the Numbers), 5% Of African Americans and Latinos make up the Technology workforce in 2015 (Ethnic Diversity in Tech), and 1% of Hispanic women were in the computing workforce in 2015 (NCWIT, By the Numbers).

Game design is the gateway to learning essential 21st century skills like story-telling, collaboration, critical thinking skills, coding, and problem-solving, to only name a few. Research shows that children who play video games are much more likely to want to learn software engineering and computer programming than children who do not (Egenfeldt-Nielsen, 2006; Overmars, 2004). This site encourages girls and women to play and create games. Young girls and women have a right to code, design, and create games. This site will be a learning resource for girls and women to learn about game design and development.

Target Audience

The target audience of this website are children ages 10 and up, specifically girls. This website is designed to appeal to girls to encourage their involvement in technology, product design and development.

User Stories

User Story 1:

Hi! I'm Tina and I'm 10 years old. As a novice gamer, I want to learn more about types of games. At school, we make games using Scratch and other game engines. We have Internet at home, which means I can play games at home. I know how to use the computer and understand a little bit of coding because I played LightBot! I like playing and making games but I have no idea what the difference is between games like Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong. I play Angry Birds but I don't even know what type of game this is. I wonder if I can make one like it one day. I think it's a mobile game? They all seem the same to me. I love playing games. It is so much fun and I want to play more games and learn more about games. I Googled, 'I want to learn about games' and came across this website called code GameJam. I took the gamer quiz and found out that anyone can be a "gamer"! Looking back at the quiz, I found that I don't know a lot about games. I asked my mom if I could join code GameJam. I got all of my friends at school to join it to and showed my teacher. My mom was able to quickly sign me up and I joined the community for free! It's so much fun. Now, I get to play games, like, and share all of the games others created. I didn't know girls my age know how to code games!

User Story 2:

Hola! My name is Marcelo and I'm 13 years old. I would consider myself a gamer. I play all types of games from Halo to Candy Crush. I play a lot, like 15 hours a week. It's almost like a part-time job. I find that I'm not an expert at analyzing games. I don't know who to ask. I feel like my friends who play games aren't really knowledgable and I want to learn more. I could be an expert at analyzing games. It would be cool to join a group online where I can talk about games and break a game down into parts. I always wonder what draws me to keep playing and I want to ask others about the same. One of my friends shared a game he created on his Facebook account and I had so much fun playing it. I clicked on his game and it took me to a website called code GameJam. It was so cool to see that other kids my age were creating and analyzing games. I got to see comments from other kids, boys and girls, about his game mechanics, dynamics, and the aesthetics of the game. I quickly signed-up but found that I'm not an expert and I don't know any game mechanics, so I asked my mom if I could take the P.A.C course. She paid for my P.A.C. subscription.

User Story 3:

Hi there! My name is Louise and I'm 17 years old. As an avid gamer, I build games using Unity and Animate CC. I love visiting Gamasutra.com to stay up to date with all of the gaming news. I love showing them to my friends and having them play it because I think it's awesome. They tell me if the game stinks and what I should change. I want to be able to share them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more feedback. Eventually, I want to become a game designer. I need a place to showcase my games to colleges and companies. My goal is to get an internship at a gaming company. It's going to take too much time to build a personal website and showcase my games. I need to show colleges and companies what skills I have and show them the games I built. There's no place on the web where that I can do this. Well, there is LinkedIn but I don't really like using it. I feel like it's outdated and only old people go on there. I want something more creative and fun! It's really frustrating because I feel like all of my projects are all over the place. I Googled 'Gamer Profiles' and found that there is a website called code GameJam where I can showcase my skills, add all of the games I created and style my profile page the way I want. I can also share my knowledge with other game designers and people in the field. It's cool to see other girls my age and older creating games.

Strategy

Site Objectives:

Our product objectives are very different from user needs. This section is broken up into code GameJam's needs and user needs. The goal of this product is to build a large community of inclusive and diverse users, educating them about the design and development of digital products, specifically games. We are striving to drive a high volume of traffic to the website by on-boarding users to join the code GameJam community. Users can sign-up to the website and join the community for free. Our business goal would be to make money off of the P.A.C program. By enrolling in P.A.C, these users are part of an inclusive and exclusive community.

Users will be able to learn about the design and development of digital games. Users will be able to easily navigate through the P.A.C course, share the games they have created, and build a game portfolio.

Success Metrics

There are three subsets of users, which are no subscription, free subscription, and P.A.C subscription. Success will be measured by how many users clicked on the button "Click here to see your results". This will measure the engagement factor on someone who has not signed up yet. It will also be measured by how many no subscription users subscribe to the free version of code GameJam. Once they are free subscribers, we can measure the amount of time it takes them to get from free to P.A.C users, which includes the premium profile. Success will also be measured by the number of times, free users login to our website, how many times P.A.C users login to our website, and the amount of time each subset of users spends on the website. The number of users who subscribe to P.A.C. will measure the success of our business model.

The P.A.C. program includes the P.A.C course and premium user profile access. P.A.C is broken down into three levels. Once users complete level one, which are the pre-assessments, we will measure the success of this level by the level of completion. Formative assessments are covered in levels two and three, which are analyze and create in P.A.C. The success will also be measured by level of completion.

The scope of this project is large. The scope of the initial version of code GameJam 1.0 is below:

  1. Create game design curriculum for each level: Play, Analyze, Create (May 2017)
  2. Develop initial on-boarding experience (June 2017)
  3. Structure P.A.C user profile - premium (August 2017)
  4. Structure game feedback system (September 2017)
  5. Map course structure (September 2017)
  6. Build website (August - October 2017)
  7. Beta date (October 2017)
  8. Iterate: make improvements based on user feedback (November 2017)
  9. Release Date: Version 1.0 (December 2017)

Functional and Content Specifications

Structure

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Skeleton

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Comment: I really like the wireframe of the main page. You ask readers essential questions that help them refine their understanding of what gaming is and who can be a gamer and lead them right into "P.A.C" button, not giving them a chance to get lost or lose interest on their way. It's very a very smart and effective way.

Reflection

After this experience, I feel like I went from web development and product development 100 to 200. It is a very difficult process to ideate, design, and build a program. There are so many factors to take into account when trying to build a well-designed program and build a business strategy for it. I've learned that you can't build something unless you go through the 5 S's, which are Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, and Surface. Without this plan, what you ideated in the beginning completely changes when you go from plane Skeleton to Strategy. It just doesn't work. This process is very time-consuming, the planning piece. If your product is not planned properly, it means that the ROI is very poor, which was totally my case. I only built one HTML page of the 20 I would ideally have wanted to build, since I didn't have a clear plan.

Building webpages takes time, a keen eye for detail, and patience. One experience in particular has really struck me and I find this is the most important part about web developing, layout. I think one of the most difficult skills to master is laying elements on a web page the way you designed them to be. Creating the mock-ups is simple, it's actually taking the elements that you created and organizing them on your webpage using CSS that's the hard part. Understanding which properties to define to fix the layout issue was the most difficult to understand. Not to mention, the breaking points. It was very frustrating and time consuming. I must have spent hours using trial and error to figure out the issue and fully understand how columns work in Bootstrap.

Lastly, building a product is not a one person show. It is difficult for one person to play every single role. I understand and value the importance of having a whole team to build a product.