Video games have always been and still are something that I love playing. The movement and design of objects are very captivating and keep me entertained for hours on end. That is why many developers and presenters put serious time into the graphical representation of their message. This approach is most often applied to quizzes (whether SCORM compliant or not). Most people don’t think that PowerPoint was built for or even allows you to build quizzes (let alone a gamified quiz) without using macros. You can, and I did. Here’s how.

What is the Purpose:

How you are going to use the game and how others are going to use it can drastically change how you will develop its content. For example, if you are building it to be used only by you, you can create some amazing effects and visuals for your game on the presentation side but look insanely messy and discombobulated on the back end. And then on the other hand you might be developing it as a template or something to be re-used by others on a regular basis. If that is the case, the back end needs to look just as good as the front end. The content that will change from one presentation to another needs to be easy to locate and be very simple to modify. The Quiz Game I created was built as a template, so the back end needed to be simple and streamlined even if I have multiple slides and functions per question.

Understand Your Limits:

Even though you can build a PowerPoint game without macros, a game like the one I built will not hold its own when compared to a PowerPoint game built with macros. When building a game you have to account for all possibilities and outcomes and/or limit the possibilities given to your audience (be careful about doing this as you can destroy a lot of what a “game” is by setting too many limits). Plan big, adjust, and re-evaluate when necessary. Just make sure that you are, to the best of your ability, giving the user the feeling that they are controlling whatever is on screen. Doing this will give them the greatest sense of “gaming.”

Think Outside The Box:

When developing a game on a platform such as Storyline, Lectora, and Captivate, the back end is always more complicated than what the user will see. The same is true when developing a game in PowerPoint (with or without Macros). For example, in the Maze Master game I created in PowerPoint, I have 5 slides per question. I need each of these slides to run the process and animations that are needed to give the user the feeling that they are choosing their own “fate.” I could have had more slides that would have made things more streamlined for the user experience, but I wanted the user to be able to edit the template with ease. The process to figuring out how to create a looping game (for when they get the answer wrong; how do you get back to the question slide in a simple yet elegant way?) took some thinking out of the box. Here is a diagram of how the process works in the Maze Master Game.

Processes and Slide Structure don’t necessarily need to be linear on the back end of games. Most of them aren’t. Use Hyperlinks, transitions, and animations to get clean looking effects and visuals. If you have any questions on how I set up and created the game, let me know in the comments section below and I can talk you through it in further detail.

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