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311 BYOD: Create Your First Learning Game in 60 Minutes

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Wednesday, April 20

Tracks: Games & Gamification

Series: BYOD

People learn best when they are solving problems. They actively seek  knowledge and immediately put it in practice. Games offer this proven path to mastery. You may be ready to try game-based learning, but how do you create a game without software developers and a big budget? What tools will allow you to make real games without complex technical skills?

In this session, you will make a digital game you can share with anyone. We will each make an interactive fiction game using TWINE, an open source tool that is completely free for all uses. You’ll learn to think like a game designer as you master the three or four simple codes that turn plain text passages into the waypoints of an adventure game. We’ll start with a quick discussion of how games can promote effective learning. Then we’ll get to work. We’ll start the game together, all typing in the same opening scene and first interaction. Then you will use the same technique to invent your own creative ending for the game. I encourage you to work in pairs or groups of three, but work alone if you prefer. We will learn how to share TWINE games, and we will play each other’s games. We will wrap up the hour with an introduction to the rich resources available to the TWINE community.

In this session, you will learn:

  • To assess opportunities for game-based learning
  • How to transform learning objectives into game challenges
  • How to structure your game for playability
  • To use flowcharts to design gameplay
  • To build your game in TWINE

Technology discussed:

TWINE 2 [Open Source Game Development System], Twinery.org [Free Cloud Platform for TWINE development], Harlowe, Sugarcube II, Snowman [TWINE engine variants, we’ll use Harlowe], Git Hub [Version Control Repository], Google Drive [Simple Game Hosting Solution], Glitch [Full Game Hosting Platform], Cloudinary [Image hosting site], Pixlr [Cloudbased image editor]

Participant technology requirements: Any device, but a laptop is highly recommended. A simple Chromebook is sufficient.

Dov Jacobson

Managing Director


Dov Jacobson launched his career at the videogame arcade, where his games competed for quarters. He led game teams in LA, DC, and NY before building Ted Turner’s game studio in Atlanta. Jacobson taught game development at NYU. He is an established innovator, practitioner, and thought leader in game based learning, publishing frequently and speaking around the world. Now, at GamesThatWork, the studio helps people discover knowledge, exercise judgement and achieve mastery. He makes games for DARPA, Boeing, ODNI, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, National Institutes of Health, Acton School of Business, National Science Foundation, and the US Army, Navy, and Air Force.