E-polis: An Innovative and Fun Way to Gamify Sociological Research with an Educational Serious Game – Game Development Middleware Approach

Authors: Alexandros Gazis, Eleftheria Katsiri

Abstract: E-polis is a serious educational game that uses gamification to study young people's opinions about their ideal society. Our game consists of a digital city where players navigate to complete quests. The answer to each quest changes the shape of the buildings and thus, after completing the core quests, the game world will create a unique neighborhood. In this way, we visualize the consequences of players’ actions and simulate how their answers impact our urban society and environment. As such, E-polis can be used as a tool that based on some predefined inputs (quests/questions) can evaluate and log young people’s views on the ideal society. Our serious game uses the Unity Game engine, and it can be used in various socio-economic case studies such as exploring civic engagement and social justice. Specifically, our article reviews the literature on game engines and defines how an educational serious game can gamify a learning experience. Then, we present in detail the software architecture design principles of our game and suggest a new generic middleware for digital game developers. Moreover, we expand on a new transition mechanism in Unity to re-use graphics dynamically using some pre-render real-time scene game objects. Our mechanism allows for better execution times of digital games in less resource-intensive computer systems when players transition through different scenes. The authors suggest that the technical novelty of this game lies in its middleware software entities' separation of concerns and this transition mechanism as a way to assist in game development and deployment. This is because it can provide game developers with several pre-built services and a generic scene transition mechanism, thus helping game developers to be more productive, reduce their costs, and improve the quality of their games.

Pages: 20-32

DOI: 10.46300/9109.2024.18.3

International Journal of Education and Information Technologies, E-ISSN: 2074-1316, Volume 18, 2024, Art. #3