Ellie, a Near-Life team member, describes how she used Near-Life to create a fun, interactive game using VYOND’s gamification template, which can be directly shared or embedded on a website.
To make a game, it’s essential to make a thorough plan before getting started. The last thing you want is to create a concept you love only to realise that you won’t be able to accomplish it in the way you want and have to start over. I knew I’d have to put my thinking cap on for this and make sure that what I was aiming for would be engaging and fun, but not take too long for me to create. After all, why make something more complicated than it has to be?
Know what you can achieve:
First off, I had a look through VYOND’s Gamified Learning template, which I already knew I would be using as the basis of my game. This gave me an idea of the type of storyline I would go for and what I could actually achieve. I also knew I didn’t want to copy it exactly, so I made great use of their ‘replace’ feature to make character and prop changes easily.
Write it down:
Next up, I wrote out my game plan. This was a scene-by-scene rundown of roughly what text or speech I wanted to appear as well as the interaction. I knew I wanted to use hotspots. This is because VYOND had button animations included in the game, and I wanted to stick with the overall theme of their template.
Make the scenes:
Next, I went on to VYOND to make an outline for each scene. I chose to do this before making a storyboard in Near-Life since I didn’t want to spend too much time on planning if there was a chance I would run into limitations. However, there really wasn’t anything I had planned to do that VYOND couldn’t achieve. If you’re able to think creatively, there’s pretty much no limitation to what you can do.
Add the audio:
I made all the scenes and interactions and added audio, most of which came from VYOND’s library. This helped really add that feeling of gamification. If there’s any audio you can’t find, from music to sound effects, I recommend Pixabay. They’re completely free, require no signup, and have so many samples to choose from.
Check with the team:
After I was happy with all the scenes, I checked the plan with the rest of the team for their approval and feedback. I’d recommend anyone working on a project like this to check in with your team for their thoughts wherever possible. It’s easy to get caught in your own bubble and forget about others’ perceptions of content. When it comes to a game, the end-users’ experience is all that matters.
Download your media:
I then downloaded each scene from VYOND individually. This can take a bit of time, but with shorter or simpler scenes, it can be just a matter of seconds. Top tip: it’s important to name each scene appropriately, as this helps with putting things in the right place later on.
Then I moved on to Near-Life to start storyboarding. If you’re more of a visual person with your planning, Near-Life’s storyboarding ability is perfect. It’s essentially a flowchart that will build the interactive video’s skeleton, to which you can later add your media for the game.
Here’s a quick example of how you can make a storyboard (remember, if you have any questions about how Near-Life works, you can book a free demo with the team, who will be happy to walk through it with you personally and address any questions).
After the storyboard was built, I could add in all the media and refine the interactions. I uploaded it all – which you can do in the node or on the main canvas – and put it in the right place. This is why those scene names are important!
I previewed the game a few times with each piece of media in its proper place and each interaction exactly how I wanted it. If your preview option is not working, this means something isn’t right with your game. Go back to your first node and see if there are any floating or unattached nodes around that may be stopping the game from playing. If you don’t need that node, delete it, and this should allow you to preview it.
Once I was happy with how it was playing, I shared it with the team again for feedback.
For anyone unsure about how to get started with gamification with Near-Life and VYOND, here’s a quick demonstration:
If you’re wondering about what features Near-Life has for gamification, how about checking out our blog on using inventory and scoring?