Using Articulate Storyline to Create Business Simulation Games – Part 1
Serious games in eLearning usually take the shape of branching scenarios. These are games where learners read a scenario, case study or question and are required to choose from a list of pre-generated options. Based on the selected option, learners are routed through different paths and in the process gain points and badges. Good examples of such types of simulations can be found here:
- Connect with Haji Kamal: http://www.worldwarfighter.com/hajikamal/activity/
- Kognitio Demos: http://www.kognito.com/demos/
There is another class of serious games that is based on mathematical models. In such games learners are not presented with static choices but can take decisions that control quantifiable variables like price, quantity, speed, investments etc. These controlled variables are linked through uncontrollable or environmental variables like market size and inflation to measurable outcomes, like sales and profits. These links can be expressed using mathematical equations. Such games are also called business simulation games as they are dynamic and attempt to simulate a thin slice of the real world. A simple simulation game can be constructed using the following two formulas:
- Sales=No. of customers * (price index * quality index) (where price and quality index is the relative price and quality of the product in comparison to competition)
- Profit = Sales – Cost of Production
We can now ask players/learners to design their product (which impacts the quality), set a price and see how sales increase or decrease and how that impact profits. The popularity and quality is calculated by the software by comparing against a fictitious set of competitors generated by the software or can be based on decisions of other players in a multiplayer game environment. This means that unlike branching scenario games, which are almost always single player games, business simulation games can be single player or multiplayer. They can range from simple games that require only one or two decisions to be taken to complex games that require learners/players to take multiple decisions. Here are a few examples of business simulation games:
Using Articulate Storyline Articulate Storyline is our favourite tool for creating interactive self-paced learning and we have created hundreds of hours of learning using this tool. However, we had never created a mathematical model based simulation in Storyline and decided to see if this is possible.
The game we decided to create is a classic business simulation game used in schools and colleges across the world – The Lemonade Stand. You can play a version of this game here – http://www.coolmath-games.com/0-lemonade-stand Articulate Storyline allows the use of variables to track on screen events and to store values. This is a great starting point as data from user inputs can be stored and processed. You can learn more about variables in Articulate Storyline here – https://community.articulate.com/series/5/articles/working-with-variables
In the following parts in this series, I will get into the nuts and bolts of how this game was created and also share a framework for designing other such games. Meanwhile, please let me know your feedback about this simulation game. Did you make profits?