Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Electrical Engineering
Darius Jefferson - Norfolk State University
Video games have become very popular in recent years. According to the Entertainment Software Association, about 155 million Americans play video games regularly. This statistic makes using games in education an ideal opportunity to improve learning. Serious (educational) games have also become popular and exist for different subjects. Some people have created applications and tools for chemistry education, however, this review found no actual serious game created for the subject. Many apps are available for the Periodic table but are less interactive, informational in nature, and do not incorporate gameplay to be identified as a game.
KemQuest is a 3D educational adventure game for chemistry developed at the Creative Gaming and Simulation (CGS) Lab at Norfolk State University using the Unity 3D game engine. The game uses original 3D game assets also created at CGS. KemQuest was designed to improve students’ understanding of basic chemistry concepts and assess their knowledge of the periodic table in a fun and interactive way. The main objectives of this research were to complete the development of the current version of KemQuest by including challenges for the original three activities in the game as well as refine gameplay through adding challenges and enemies.
The focus and results of this research was game design and literature review to add new capabilities and confirm originality of the game idea. The game’s heads-up displays (HUDs) were revised and components, such as volume controls, were added to the HUDs. Challenge questions and enemies were also included in each of the three activity areas. A functional checkpoint system was created, allowing the player to respawn at designated locations that s/he had already visited in case of death. Additionally, random spawning for power ups was included. Finally, an objective system was added which describes the player’s current and completed tasks.
This research continued the development of a serious game and added new design capabilities to it including enemies and challenges/assessments to improve gameplay. KemQuest promises to be a good contribution to the gaming resources for chemistry, which are currently very minimal.
Future work for the game includes adding more enemies, levels, and assessments, designing and implementing gameplay for the fourth activity, and converting the game into a mobile app so that it can be tested by users whose feedback can be reviewed to ensure its usability.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the STARS Undergraduate Research program, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Washington, Baltimore, Hampton Roads-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (WBHR-LSAMP) for funding this research under NSF Grants #F2040013 and #P2040007.
Faculty Advisor: Rasha Morsi,