Authors: Helena Song Sook Yee and Dr. Lee Chien Sing
This paper presents a case study on children and their teacher’s perception of fun and usability towards games developed from a game engine and the implications of findings to design principles in developing educational computer games for children. Activities for the children aged 4-6 were pictureword matching game and number-shapes shooting game. Findings indicate that children liked the games and that the design of the graphical user interface concurred with most of the existing general design principles. However, we observe that some of the children encountered some problems in identifying some pictures as these images were illustrated in the word matching game. The teacher commented that it would be more appropriate if real-life photos of the objects were used. Also, the alphabets used should correlate with their level of cognitive development such as the preference for small caps over capital letters in terms of word recognition. The size of the shapes used for the shooting game was also found to be slightly too small. The shapes were moving too fast and the “kill area” was too small. This study also found that there was no gender difference. Overall, the teacher found the games useful, interesting and helpful to the children. She was also impressed with the ease with which elements of the game could be reused. Significance of the finding lie in the customization of the existing design principles, particularly in the area of graphical user interface, for children ages 4-6.
Keywords: Game engine, fun, usability, learning through play, design principles for children ages 4-6