Inform Simulation Assignments and Rubrics

© 2005,2006,2007 Jeremiah McCall – permission is granted for non-profit educational reproduction. Please credit the author. Feel free to link to this page but do not reproduce the contents on another webpage

Simulation Project Rubric

GRADE KEY
  • A+ Absolutely superlative = 100%
  • A Outstanding = 95% (Outstanding other than 1 very minor problems—or a couple of minor typos—and no major ones)
  • B Good = 84% (a few minor problems or perhaps one major one, but the sim is well beyond the minimum expectations in this area
  • C Adequate = 74% (meets the minimum requirements stated in the category)
  • D Needs more work = 64% (does not meet the minimum requirements stated in the category)
  • F Unacceptable = 50% (substantially does not meet the minimum requirements stated in the category)
SIMULATION GRADE CATEGORIES
  • ______ (10 points) Is largely free from typographical and grammatical errors.
  • ______ (10 points) Orients the player to the situation at hand and attempts to immerse the player in her role through detailed description and/or other devices.
  • ______ (10 points) Provides meaningful descriptions of each area of about 2 sentences minimum length. Unless there is a valid reason to hide them from the player, the clearly visible exits need to be noted.
  • ______ (15 points) Immersive and Interactive Environment – Allows players to interact with and explore the environment in depth. All items and characters should have meaningful descriptions of about 2 sentences each. Items can be used and characters can be interacted with relative ease—i.e. player is not left guessing due to an inability to come up with unreasonably picky commands.
  • ______ (15) Logical consistency – game behaves in a reasonable manner. Player cannot activate events out of logical order
  • ______ Useful help section
  • ______ (20) Meaningful Dialogue – The simulation has at least 3-5 topics of conversation (more is better) and every character in the simulation has some historically reasonable and detailed response (2 sentences on average) to each of these topics. Characters can also be questioned and respond meaningfully to their immediate surroundings.
  • ______ (10 points) Handles a variety of synonymous inputs for the player. Player is not left guessing exactly how to phrase a topic.
  • ______ (15 points) Requires at least five minutes to play at its longest reasonable play time.
  • ______ (15 points) Non-linearity – The player has the ability to make different meaningful choices and the game simulates the effects of those meaningful choices in ways that do not always immediately end the game or result in immediate failure. In other words, the outcome of the simulation is not pre-determined, because there is more than one method for achieving the main goal.
  • ______ (20 points) Historical validity: Player is placed in a valid historical role, locations, items, and characters are appropriate for the time period and scenario, options available to the player are historically reasonable.
  • ______ Total Points (out of 120)
  • ______ Grade
  • ______ Major errors (errors that stop progress in the game or distract the player) in the game: -1 to -5 per error.

Simulation Assignment Specifications: First Round Assignments

These represent the earliest Inform projects I assigned to students in 2008. The assignments themselves are sound, but the specifications improved with the second round of assignments

Roman Women Protest the Oppian Law – Historical Simulation Exercise

The purpose of this exercise is to practice the discipline of the historian by creating a historical reconstruction of Roman women protesting the Oppian law. To do this effectively and validly requires a solid grounding in the evidence. The evidence is always incomplete, however, and a working interpretation must move beyond the evidence to “fill in the gaps”. Filling in the gaps means drawing reasoned inferences from knowledge of the surrounding circumstances and evidence. Your final simulation project must:

  • Include a historically reasonable layout of the forum and historically reasonable placement of historical figures
  • Allow the player (taking the role of a protesting Roman woman) to ask historically reasonable questions to the figures in the game and receive reasonably historical answers. History is not pre-determined, but figures should act in plausible ways.
  • At the minimum allow the player to explore the forum and understand the motivations of different characters. If possible, allow the player to achieve a goal.
  • Include a written or recorded design document that meets the following criteria.
    • You will have to back up your choices with evidence and argument and must provide a written or recorded design document with the simulation that.
    • Explains why you designed the simulation the way you did.
    • What you think its strengths and weaknesses are as far as historical validity. Doing this requires reference to the evidence.
    • Includes a bibliography

Tips:

Be sure to read and know very well Livy’s discussion of the repeal of the law and the speeches he attributes to magistrates. Research the forum in the Republic (not the Empire). Remember the year is 195 BCE. Many buildings that would later be added to the Forum had not been built. Use accurately identified figures for magistrates when possible. 195 was a reasonably well documented year in Roman history. Whenever Livy or another reasonable source (research!) mentions an official by name rely on them. If you are unsure on a detail of accuracy, make a note of it and either research the answer or make a plausible assumption.


Industrial Revolution Historical Simulation Project

The purpose of this exercise is to practice the discipline of the historian by creating a historical reconstruction: of a 24 hour period in the life of a British textile worker in the year 1830 (you choose gender and age).
OR
of a Luddite raid on a factory in 1811-2.

To do this effectively and validly requires a solid grounding in the evidence. The evidence is always incomplete, however, and a working interpretation must move beyond the evidence to “fill in the gaps”. Filling in the gaps means drawing reasoned inferences from knowledge of the surrounding circumstances and evidence.
Your final simulation project must:

  • Include historically reasonable geography and historically reasonable placement of historical figures
  • At the minimum allow the player to explore and understand the motivations of different characters and the limits of his/her situation. If possible, allow the player to achieve a goal.
  • Include a written or recorded design document that meets the following criteria.
    • You will have to back up your choices with evidence and argument and must provide a written or recorded design document with the simulation that.
    • Explains why you designed the simulation the way you did.
    • What you think its strengths and weaknesses are as far as historical validity. Doing this requires reference to the evidence.
    • Includes a bibliography

Simulation Assignment Specifications: Second Round Assignments

These represent the second round of Inform projects I assigned to students in 2008. The specifications improved with the second round of assignments

EMA Germanic Settlement Simulation

Examples of completed assignment, 2008The purpose of this exercise is to practice the discipline of the historian by creating a historical reconstruction of: An Frankish/Anglo/Saxon settlement/village (not a city) from the early middle ages (c. 500 – 800 CE) that includes the following elements:

  • The structure/relationships of the warband
  • Elements of everyday life for different members of the settlement
  • Elements of the geography and physical layout of the settlement/village
  • The blending of Christian and Germanic cultural elements.

To do this effectively and validly requires a solid grounding in the evidence. The evidence is always incomplete, however, and a working interpretation must move beyond the evidence to “fill in the gaps”. Filling in the gaps means drawing reasoned inferences from knowledge of the surrounding circumstances and evidence.

You will begin your simulation design by creating a detailed outline of the rooms, characters, events, and discussion topics. A template will be provided to guide you in this process. It is critical that you decide how your simulation will look first before you begin writing the inform instructions. Remember, I can help with you with Inform instructions much better when you have established an overall blueprint.

Your final simulation project must:

  • Immerse the player in a historically valid layout of a Germanic settlement.
  • Include characters that have historically valid and detailed descriptions
  • Allow the player to ask historically reasonable questions to the figures in the game and receive reasonably historical answers.
  • At the minimum, allow the player to explore and understand the motivations of different characters and the limits of his/her situation.
  • If possible, allow the player to achieve a goal. Note that you may choose to shape this goal in any historically valid fashion you choose. You get to decide what the main goals for the player will be in this simulation.
  • Include a formatted bibliography in the code.
  • Include a recorded design document that meets the following criteria.
    • You will have to back up your choices with evidence and argument and must provide a written or recorded design document with the simulation that.
    • Explains why you designed the simulation the way you did
    • What you think its strengths and weaknesses are as far as historical validity. Doing this requires reference to the evidence.

The sources from which you must draw

Specifications

  1. The simulation should take at least five minutes to play through the longest path.
  2. Descriptions of any characters and items are very detailed. These details are based on valid evidence and cited within the code. Player can receive helpful information by looking at the characters and items.
  3. Graphics are included to illustrate important sights
  4. Player can interact with characters on multiple of valid topics.
  5. Code has clear citations of evidence
  6. Historical situations are either directly supported by the evidence or reasonable based on the available evidence.
  7. Videotaped debriefing shows a clear familiarity with the evidence, the simulation, and the strengths and weaknesses of the simulation in relation to the evidence.

World War I Trench Warfare Simulation

The purpose of this exercise is to practice the discipline of the historian by creating a historical reconstruction of: A section of the trench system along the Western Front, including the front lines and no man’s land.

To do this effectively and validly requires a solid grounding in the evidence. The evidence is always incomplete, however, and a working interpretation must move beyond the evidence to “fill in the gaps”. Filling in the gaps means drawing reasoned inferences from knowledge of the surrounding circumstances and evidence.

You will begin your simulation design by creating a detailed outline of the rooms, characters, events, and discussion topics. A template will be provided to guide you in this process. It is critical that you decide how your simulation will look first before you begin writing the inform instructions. Remember, I can help with you with Inform instructions much better when you have established an overall blueprint.

Your final simulation project must:

  • Immerse the player in a historically valid layout of a section of trench system.
  • Include characters that have historically valid and detailed descriptions
  • Allow the player to ask historically reasonable questions to the figures in the game and receive reasonably historical answers.
  • At the minimum allow the player to explore and understand the motivations of different characters and the limits of his/her situation.
  • If possible, allow the player to achieve a goal.
    • You will have to back up your choices with evidence and argument and must provide a written or recorded design document with the simulation that.
    • Explains why you designed the simulation the way you did
    • What you think its strengths and weaknesses are as far as historical validity. Doing this requires reference to the evidence.

The sources from which you must draw:

Specifications

  • The simulation should take at least five minutes to play through the longest path.
  • Descriptions of any characters and items are very detailed. These details are based on valid evidence and cited within the code. Player can receive helpful information by looking at the characters and items.
  • Player can interact with characters on multiple of valid topics.
  • Code has clear citations of evidence
  • Historical situations are either directly supported by the evidence or reasonable based on the available evidence.
  • Videotaped debriefing shows a clear familiarity with the evidence, the simulation, and the strengths and weaknesses of the simulation in relation to the evidence.
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  1. October 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm
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