KnowledgeWar: Implementation and Evaluation of a Face-to-Face Mobile Knowledge War Game
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Powerful smart phones are bringing computing power, high resolution screens and internet connectivity to the pockets of rapidly increasing population. This enables the users to perform more and more of their daily internet and computer needs away from their desktop. Applications for email, fullfeature web browsing, music and video players are standard if you pick a smart phone off the shelf today. The vendors are pushing development of 3rd party applications by providing better development tools, monetization options and simpler methods for the user to browse and install you application. Mobile telephones have been used as game platforms since they became common more than a decade ago, with the rapid improvements in hardware and the application environment the games can be made easier, have better graphics, more content and communication needs. Utilizing mobile platforms are familiar for the research groups, both at Department of Computer and Information Science (IDI) and Department of Telematics (ITEM), behind this project. With iPhone emerging as a major actor in the smart phone market it is natural to explore this platform, this was done by creating a game that could be used in an educational context. Exploring the platform demanded a practical approach to get proper hands-on experience, a game, KnowledgeWar, was created with a client/server architecture and device to device communication. The design and implementation process of the server was performed with emphasize on best practices and the use of leading 3rd party libraries and open source projects to save time. The evaluation of the technical parts of the project was based merely on the subjective experiences. In addition to the exploration of the platform, it was of interest how the end users thought of such a game in this format. An usability experiment was conducted on a number of students to support the discussion of whether this was something that was desirable and could be used as a lecture quiz game. The iPhone platform, and the entire application environment, proved to be of better quality, easier to use and more extensive than the perception before starting the project. KnowledgeWar was under test for usability with a method called System Usability Scale (SUS) where it scored fairly good on the ten usability statements. An additional questionnaire on the use of mobile games in an educational context were filled out by the subjects. A positive trend in the desire for such a game and an optimism to its potential was evident. The results of the project were encouraging for further studies which could detail some of the aspects of especially the educational effect of such a game.