Exploring a New Approach to Visual Asset Design

This paper will present a tool and a method to help game developers make decisions about creating visual assets such as game characters. It will also present results from a series of studies. The first study utilized this research tool to investigate middle school students’ attitudes toward sixty game characters in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in commercial games. The second study used the most liked and disliked characters (by gender) determined by the first study in an educational game as science mentors. After presenting the effects of using these characters in motivation of students towards the game, the paper will conclude with research-based implications for educational game designers wanting to maximize motivation through the use of game characters in STEM-related educational games. Readers will also be informed about a method useful for developing visual game assets, and insight about creating characters for STEM educational games.

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