Main Article Content
At Play in the Cosmos is a game for University-level Astronomy courses. Designed as a collaboration between the Games + Learning + Society Center, an academic center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Norton & Company, Cosmos is intended to support a “game-first” model of curriculum in which students play the game before engaging in other activities. Cosmos includes about 4 hours of game play and spans the entirety of course. It includes over 25 embedded simulations that are also used for homework, lectures, and demonstrations. The design process and resulting artifact was colored by institutional constraints, specifically a lengthy pre-production that demanded extensive documentation. The subsequent development process followed a relatively linear, waterfall process and resulted in linear game. Designers attempted to mediate this linearity through a crafting system that enabled players to explore the Universe and mine celestial bodies for resources. As a game intended to compete in the market, Cosmos included a relatively high production quality led by a team experienced in AAA development processes, and the chapter focuses on the development of art styles, interfaces, and fitting voice overs in on a constrained budget and timeline.
Copyright © 2012 by the International Journal of Designs for Learning, a publication of the Association of Educational Communications and Technology. (AECT). Permission to make digital or hard copies of portions of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that the copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page in print or the first screen in digital media. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IJDL or AECT must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. The IJDL site and its metadata are licensed under CC BY-NC-ND. A simpler version of this statement is available here.