Showing My Work: Step 1 – Hatch an Idea

posted in: Show Your Work | 1

I’ve got an idea for a new elearning game about surviving in the wilderness. Prompted by the looming deadline to apply to DevLearn’s DemoFest and by Captivate 2019’s new 360/VR features, I’m imagining an Oregon Trail-type of game where you have to pack your backpack and then survive an overnight wilderness backpacking trip.

I’m an avid wilderness backpacker and am active in several online hiker forums (hey, built-in subject matter experts and testers!).

Showing My Work Developing a Wilderness Survival Game

I was delighted to present a project at last year’s DemoFest, my APA tutorial/games, and I would really love to share and get feedback on a project that shows off Captivate 2019’s fancy new 360 and VR capabilities!

If you haven’t been to DemoFest, it’s SO FUN. Imagine a huge convention center room filled with cocktail tables. Each table features a developer/creator showing off some sort of elearning project. As an attendee, you get to try out the project and also learn firsthand how the creator made it happen!

I had a BLAST as a presenter last year showing off the games I created in Storyline and chatting with attendees.

I’m definitely attending DevLearn this year (the instructional design program I teach for is hosting a booth!) and the deadline to submit a project to DemoFest is this Friday. Which I just realized yesterday. No pressure!

So, while I don’t have a readymade project to submit, as an academic I’m well-practiced in the art of Let’s Submit Something And If It Gets Accepted That’s Great Motivation to Finish It!


I’m also inspired quite frequently by Show Your Work blog posts, so this is also a great opportunity to show my own creative process, especially because this is a project that I’m doing Just For Fun! (But really to learn Captivate 2019!)

Step 1 in my creative process is to have an idea, often an outlandish idea, and then spend a lot of time daydreaming about what I want it to look like. Usually I annoy my partner with verbally planning it and bouncing ideas around.

So, dear reader, here I am now bouncing my ideas around with you!

Don’t Die Out There: A Wilderness Survival Game

This game/educational experience will be a virtual experience planning and embarking upon an overnight wilderness backpacking trip. I plan to use a new 360 camera (coming in the mail tomorrow!) to create my own original images. The camera in question is only $100 and takes fairly low-resolution images, but I’m hoping it’s good enough to create a game for smaller devices, like phones, tablets, laptops.

The experience will begin with a 360 image of my garage, which is where I keep all of my camping gear. I want this whole experience to be relatively short to allow for a concise demonstration at DemoFest, so the game will begin with your backpack partially packed already. You’ll have to review what’s already packed, and choose three more things to take with you on your trip. Keen eyes will spot a backpacking guide that you can virtually open for a guide on what to take with you.

Once your bag is packed, you’ll be magically transported to the trail! I’m planning to take more 360 images in the Mammoth Lakes area. Based on what you packed, and based on a (hopefully) randomized algorithm, you’ll encounter obstacles on the trail like seeking water, treating an injury, or outlasting a storm. You’ll have to make decisions on what to do, and each scenario will depend on what you decided to pack as well.

Spoiler: Most every scenario is going to end with “YOU DIED” as an homage to Oregon Trail. Where you pretty much always died.

This game title is based on this really neat wilderness survival deck of cards my sister gifted me. Each card gives tips on surviving difficult situations in the out-of-doors. And you can play card games with it too!

Stay tuned – I’m going to continue thinking out loud and showing my work on this project. Next up is Step 2: Sketch It Out. I’ll do a brief needs analysis/audience analysis, and then start collecting and organizing content and a basic flowchart of the game itself.

My Creative Process

Step 1: Hatch an Idea
Step 1A: Proof of Concept
Step 2: Sketch It Out
Step 3: Develop It
Step 4: Test and Revise