View Poll Results: Would you like a video game to help you study English?

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985. This poll is closed
  • Yes! This would be a fun way to learn and comunicate with other learners/teachers

    914 92.79%
  • Not sure/ don't care

    27 2.74%
  • No. Video games are for fun, not education

    44 4.47%
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  1. #1
    A.Russell is offline Member
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    Video Game for Learning English

    This might not be the right place to post this, but since it is the most active forum, I hope to get someone other than Red and Tdol to reply (not that I don't enjoy chatting with you two).

    As learners of English, would you be interested in a multiplayer video game in which you could chat and collaborate with other users in English and improove you english skills through performing quests in a 3d game world?

    More info here: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=11640

    Your replies will help me decide if such a project is worthwhile or not.
    Last edited by Red5; 04-May-2005 at 18:12. Reason: Changed link to point to the thread, not an individual post. ;-)

  2. #2
    Tomasz Klimkiewicz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Video Game for Learning English

    I've just voted (1), and not without reason.

    Many games (especially of the RPG genre) provide lots of excellent material. Some can actually be pretty difficult for a beginner, if no translation in one form or another is included in the version published in a given non-English speaking country. Most of the games launched here in Poland are published as the so-called 'movie' version, i.e. with original dialogues and subtitles in Polish, but there have been many with no translation whatsoever, coming with just a simple installation / keyboard control manual. The latter can pose substantial difficulties (the excellent Ultima series being a good example), and I personally know more than one teenager who decided to take English classes more seriously, or even do some studying on their own, because of the game they were exploring.

    Since the time I caught interest in military aviation simulators, my range of related vocabulary has expanded enormously. I wouldn't have gained so much from any formal course, I daresay.

    An interesting topic in its own. Let's wait for more users' input.

    Regards

    TeeKay

  3. #3
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    Re: Video Game for Learning English

    I am a bit lost as to how that works. I think the old "Wheel of Fortune" with Pat and Vanna is still going strong in the on line version. It's sooo popular with kids, teenagers as well as us old foggies. Vanna looks great and Pat's handsome as ever. All you've mentioned in your game is here: different levels of difficulty, an excellent chance to build your vocab based on phrases, idioms, cliches, famous people, before and after and a gazillion of other categories. The game's got beatiful graphics, you get to spin the wheel and the only thing that's not real is the big $$$$ that's dangling in front of your nose like a wiener in front of a rottweiler... Oh well, it's still fun. It's very simple ( I love simple) and wouldn't trade it for anything else.

    Good luck with your game!
    Last edited by Marylin; 05-May-2005 at 01:20.

  4. #4
    A.Russell is offline Member
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    Re: Video Game for Learning English

    Wheel of fortune is a fun family game, and is a good idea for a quick shareware title, now that you mention it.

    I don't want to offend you about your age, Marylin, but I think you'll find most young people these days are familiar with role playing games. They have been around since the seventies, and started out as simple text games and pen and paper games like Dungeons and Dragons. Fantasy RPGs are one of the most popular genres of PC gaming. They inherently involve a lot of reading and interacting with other characters, and so were my choice for an attempt at an educational title with mainstream popularity -which is the future according to what I learnt at the Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco. If you like simple, maybe you'll like my pachinko simulation (http://www.pahcinkoagogo.com) though it's aimed at men. Still, it certainly is simple, and your significant other might like it ! [end_shameless_plug]

    Thanks Tomasz. The US military agrees with you in a big way. They are throwing hundreds of millions into video game simulations for every aspect of training and recruiting. They even design some of their hardware around Playstation controllers so it'll be easier for the kids to adjust to. I know someone at a studio in India who does the same thing, but they don't get such massive budgets. Anyway, it certainly looks like games are making headway into training and educational arenas.

    Thank you both, and looking forward to more replies.

    EDIT> @Admin -Thanks for making this a sticky!
    Last edited by A.Russell; 31-May-2005 at 16:34.

  5. #5
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    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
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    Cool Re: Video Game for Learning English

    I've also voted [1] - I myself picked up English and Japanese mostly by means of fun - video games, anime, movies... you name it. Many English-translated playstation and computer games, such as Final Fantasy series, helped me learn (about?) English. The only thing I've wished those games had was the English voice that you can turn on or off by choice. (Many of today's games seem to have implemented such measure)

    I've read your plans and concepts for your educational game, and they sound pretty good although I wouldn't know for sure before I actually see the game.

    I'd like to put some opinions on it.

    I don't know how my attachment will show in this post but take a look at it. If you have to download it to see it, you may want to do so.

    This is a screenshot of a Japanese Ero-geh, or 'love affair simulation game for adults'. Some of you might be laughing by now, and yes, it is despised by many sane people, but has its niche in Japan. (and exclusive in Japan!)

    The game comes with full voice for almost every dialog, and one very neat thing about the game is that it comes with this 'history' feature, where you can browse through previous dialogs and when clicked on the small voice icon you can listen to it as many times as you need. I'm guessing the same thing could be applied to the video games meant to teach English.

    By repeatedly listening to parts of dialogs on which learners want to focus they can not only improve their listening comprehension but their overall pronounciation also. I got little carried away and went sort of off-topic but I thought I'd give my two cents on this as an ESL student.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails history.jpg  
    Last edited by HaraKiriBlade; 05-May-2005 at 00:34.

  6. #6
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    Re: Video Game for Learning English

    You are not offending me one bit. All of you guys will get to my stage sooner or later. Just think about it. Doesn't that make you feel good?
    Now...about role playing: yes and no. I am all too familiar with Play Station and Game Cube. My daughter having brothers was raised watching her brothers play those games. And yes, you are right, role playing is a big part of it...from Sim City (non violent) to espionage games - "007" with scenes that would make the real "007" look like a romantic comedy. I have seen those dudes being shot, blown up to pieces, dissected, drunk, stoned, you name it. Blood all over the place.
    However, based on what I know, role playing (violent or non v.) is definitely more for guys. I don't know of too many girls that play video games myself (well, there is a Barbie game where girls dress (and undress) Barbies all day long and have a blast doing it.
    Personally, I think that while trying to learn a new language, you already have enough on your plate to worry about without adding extra off topic interactivity. That would not be my choice..
    But again, you have attended the conference in SF, not me, and I am too old to be taken into account seriously so it shoudn't really matter what I think.

    I hope you can invent something that will outlast The Wheel of Fortune or The Price is Right. Good Luck!
    Last edited by Marylin; 05-May-2005 at 01:27.

  7. #7
    A.Russell is offline Member
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    Re: Video Game for Learning English

    However, based on what I know, role playing (violent or non v.) is definitely more for guys. I don't know of too many girls that play video games myself (well, there is a Barbie game where girls dress (and undress) Barbies all day long and have a blast doing it.
    You are absolutely right. Most games appeal to boys (and are made by boys for that matter). Dress-up games and sim type games are popular with girls. Take a look at Second Life (http://www.secondlife.com). There is a game that is popular with women. The demographic for second life conists of an unusually high number of ladies in their 20's and 30's for a role playing game. Then take a look at the type of role playing it is. Players get to fiddle with their appearance, change their clothes, go shopping, decorate houses, go to dance parties and chat with people. Everyone is outrageously dressed and always having conversations while dancing with each other. I met a lady there who called herself "BloodlustErotica", who appeared in an outfit that looked like she had wrapped herself sparsly in electrical tape. After talking in dance mode with streaming 80's music in the background (a typical way to have a conversation in Second Life) she excussed herself because in the real world she had to go and pick up her kids from Sunday school. A lot of ladies love that sort of role playing! Perhaps some of the quests could be to decorate a house, or find a dance party? Or to get some gold coins to go shopping for a new outfit? What do you think? Orc bashing for the boys and dressing up and shopping for the girls?


    This is a screenshot of a Japanese Ero-geh, or 'love affair simulation game for adults'. Some of you might be laughing by now, and yes, it is despised by many sane people, but has its niche in Japan. (and exclusive in Japan!)
    Japan is quite open with such things. They don't censor a lot. This is something I like about Japan. This issue about what I can show in the way of violence wouldn't be such an issue in a country with Power Rangers on TV. North Americans are less thick skinned than Europeans and Japanese, but it pays to cater for them since that is where the biggest market is. A lot of video games that are exported to America from Japan have to go through a face lift first, to cover up scantily clad lady models and remove all the stuff that might offend American sensibilities.

    The game comes with full voice for almost every dialog, and one very neat thing about the game is that it comes with this 'history' feature, where you can browse through previous dialogs and when clicked on the small voice icon you can listen to it as many times as you need.
    I like this idea very much. Are the voices in this game recorded or synthetic? My game will use both, however it will make heavy use of text to speech, as a lot of the dialogues will be arbatrary.


    By repeatedly listening to parts of dialogs on which learners want to focus they can not only improve their listening comprehension but their overall pronounciation also.
    I will also provide listen and repeat practice for pronunciation.



    I really want more votes as to who thinks this game is useful. Let's try to get at least 20!
    Last edited by A.Russell; 31-May-2005 at 16:42.

  8. #8
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    Re: Video Game for Learning English

    Just answering your question, (Mister?) Russell.

    Are the voices in this game recorded or synthetic?
    All the voices in the game are recorded, acted by different people for each character.

    My game will use both, however it will make heavy use of text to speech, as a lot of the dialogues will be arbatrary.
    I know you have to resort to using text to speech plugin. The only problem with that is you can't convey any emotion of the characters in the game. Do I think it matters while the prime purpose of the game is to learn English? Absolutely!

    When the voices are recorded, you have many ways to suggest the emotional state the character's supposed to be in, by voice tones, speech speed, placement of accents, pauses and etc.. students will learn to choose words befitting to certain situations. They will also learn to effectively convey how they feel, not just what they mean.

    But the nature of the video game you're planning makes it difficult to implement such measures, because, as you said, a lot of the dialogues will be arbitrary.
    Last edited by HaraKiriBlade; 06-May-2005 at 07:14.

  9. #9
    A.Russell is offline Member
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    Re: Video Game for Learning English

    I know you have to resort to using text to speech plugin. The only problem with that is you can't convey any emotion of the characters in the game.
    Not yet, anyway. There is currently text to speech being developed that does convey emotion.

    However, I see your point. Unfortunately, in order to have good speech AI in the bots, it is not possible to use recorded speech. If the AI is capable of something like 16,000 responses, sometimes inserting data from earlier in the conversation, there is no way I can get voice actors to read every possible sentence.

    The game will have recorded speech in it, but in order to give learners the most exposure to the language, TTS is neccessary.

    All speech will also be written in a chat box.

  10. #10
    A.Russell is offline Member
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    Re: Video Game for Learning English

    Good to see some more votes coming in. I'd like to hear reasons from the people who voted against as well.

    I am still working on the initial design document, but I hope to be able to show you all a more complete plan and some preliminary artwork soon.

    I would very much like to hear more about features you would like in this application -both gameplay and educational.

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