Compared with traditional eLearning, the faster pace of games requires information to be ‘chunked’ into smaller, more digestible pieces. This means being efficient not just with the content, but screen real-estate and the way it’s presented. The user interface (UI) went through a number of iterations to accommodate contextual information so learning is conveyed at the point of action rather than in abstracted menu systems.
When an outbreak is triggered, it’s accompanied by a real world example, key features of the outbreak and the best way to defeat it. Zero Threat employed the simple but effective method of drip-feeding content over a number of seconds to encourage players to read.
Scrolling over an action card gives information about that action, then after a delay reveals the numerical gameplay attributes, encouraging players to process the narrative content and build connections around strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately players are invited to make strategic choices designed to correspond with real-world cyber defence strategies.
The huge range of content was integrated in various formats
Originally, action card headings were based around job titles to make the game more personable and show that people are the key – i.e. ‘Junior Technician’ or ‘Secretary’. However, we settled on titles that link directly to the action that card performs – i.e. ‘Report suspicious email’ or ‘Change password’. This surfaced the learning content more effectively and encourages players to consider their actions in the real world.
In card games, players tend to develop strategies around preferred cards, so we reduced the range of cards over time to create distinct gameplay options. To reinforce key gameplay – and learning – moments we created a narrative log. The effect each action has on the network is recounted in the log, providing extra context.