Canada Association of Tourism Employees

eight Tricks to Efficiently Design Critical Video games

Here’s how to successfully design serious games based on your business goals

The theory behind serious games is that they secretly impart knowledge and skills that your employees need in the real world. They have so much fun interacting with the characters and facing the challenges that they forget they are learning. However, all of this is for free if your employees are not getting the results they want and improving their performance. The main goal is to use training games to align your business goals so that employees live up to company standards. So that they are equipped to deal with customer complaints, make more sales, and comply with regulations. Here are some top tips for successfully developing serious games that hit the three Ps: Profitability, Productivity, and Performance Management.

Top Tips for Designing Serious Games to Help You Achieve Your Goals

1. Clarify your goals (and the training goals behind them)

The goal of the serious game is to achieve your business goals. But first you need to define what they are and how your training goals will support them. Create targeted, objective statements and determine how they relate to performance behaviors or skills that you need to improve. For example, the game needs to fill loopholes in the anti-harassment policy so you can create a more supportive workplace and avoid compliance penalties.

2. Find the right rapid authoring tool with built-in assets

A rapid authoring tool can lower costs and shorten development time. Your team doesn’t have to be professional game developers who can program every line. The authoring software offers templates, characters and interactions with which you can create engaging serious games. Take a test drive to see if the tool of your choice has an adequate asset library. This also gives you an opportunity to ensure that your team is master of its functions (rather than grappling with a large learning curve).

3. Focus on behavior changes rather than backstories

The mistake many organizations make is focusing so much on character development and story that behavior changes fall out of the window. Remember that the purpose of your serious games is to meet the business goals by filling in the gaps and enabling real-world experiences. Involved background stories or complicated acts for entertainment only serve as a distraction. That said, you should include an underlying act to tie it all together and create an emotional connection. Just don’t dwell on what the main character had for lunch or delve into their full professional history.

4. Turn everyday challenges into gamified obstacles

The beauty of using serious games based on your business goals is that you can subtly facilitate change and close performance gaps. The secret is to turn everyday obstacles and sticking points into playful challenges. For example, your employees have problems increasing these customer satisfaction values. As a result, your game could have a disgruntled consumer wanting to return an item. The trainee must overcome the hurdles in the game by showing their service skills and identifying the client’s needs.

5. Integrate multimedia wisely

It’s tempting to incorporate as many dazzling effects as possible to get employees excited to participate. However, there comes a point where multimedia becomes another distraction. It can even lead to cognitive overload. Because of this, you have to be selective about which interactive elements you include. Every component has to serve a purpose. A rich soundtrack, advanced special effects, and complex interactions can add more immersion. However, they can also make things complicated for mobile learners who need a compressed gaming experience.

6. Incorporate game mechanics to increase motivation

Another valuable addition to your serious games are rewards. In particular game mechanics that offer the players (AKA employees) an additional incentive and increase their motivation. Aside from the usual levels in the game, you can give them a chance to earn badges and points. Or move up a spot on the leaderboard if you get a high score. But there is also an interior motif. These mechanics give employees subtle feedback that they can use to improve. For example, if they don’t get the minimum score, they know there’s still room for growth so they can meet company standards.

7. Develop a rough sketch to collect feedback

Feedback is a one-way street. You can also use it to enhance your serious game design so that it better fits your business goals. Develop a rough sketch or prototype. Then invite a group of co-workers to try it out and do their part. You may find that the game controls are too complicated. Or that it doesn’t emphasize skills associated with the task. Even a storyboard shared with your team can alert you to behaviors, skills, or gaps that you are missing in the game.

8. Follow with immediate results and recommendations

Serious online training games facilitate error-oriented learning. However, you should also follow up on specific results in order to point out errors and potential for improvement. In addition to resource recommendations, employees can fix the problem. For example, a simulation that can help you hone your communication skills. Or a video demo walking them through the work-related task. Your serious gaming performance will determine which items on your resource list require attention so they can focus on personal sticking points. Instead of giving them general recommendations that focus on common weaknesses.


Serious games are often misunderstood. Companies struggle to reconcile how a fun gaming experience can support their business goals. But it’s all in the design. Set your goals ahead of time and determine what behaviors you want to encourage (and deter). Then turn those everyday problems and situations into an immersive gaming environment with a rich (but not distracting) storyline. You should also be careful how you incorporate multimedia and wrap-up to make sure the information sticks.

You need an authoring tool that will make serious game development easy and allow you to easily update your design. Our directory has the leading software on the market to help you find the best platform for your budget (and goals):


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