Creating compelling experiences with positive influence
GAME DEVELOPER RESOURCES
Interested in exploring the intersection of game development and mental health? iThrive’s resources are for developing games that are both compelling and meaningful. These tools are created through a process of collecting
Use these free resources to discover concepts, curate a lens through which to view design questions, and develop new and interesting ways to think through design challenges.
How have these resources been helpful in your practice? What would you like to see more of? What is most useful for your design work? We welcome your feedback on all we have curated and created!
These free resources are created through a multi-stage process;
A team of social scientists, mental health professionals, and game developers collect, curate and disseminate the most compelling research and findings on a focus topic.
A think tank made up of game developers and scholars identifies games that exemplify a focus topic, pinpoints common themes and/or mechanics, and recommends methods of expressing these common components.
A RESOURCE IS BORN
The recommendations from the Hive are used to create design tools, frameworks, and other resources.
When appropriate, the new resource and items made with the help of the resource are subject to testing.
As the science evolves & game development approaches advance, new information and upgrades are incorporated into the resources.
The information presented here is not intended to be prescriptive, but rather, is presented as food for thought and inspiration towards making games that support social and emotional learning. These are recommendations pulled from the latest scientifically vetted research, industry professionals, and other experts.
iThrive Games develops tools to support game designers in crafting design experiences which complement and support players’ strengths and abilities. Encouraging creators to take a strengths-based approach to design generates games that focus on and encourage positive practices and skills rather than focusing on fixing problems or changing behavior. . .
It’s important to give players the tools to arrive at solutions for themselves: a kind of co-authorship of the game experience between players and designers that helps unlock abilities and potential already existing in players, and supports a journey of self-discovery and personal insight rather than pushing a specific agenda.
Things To Keep In Mind When Using A Strengths-based Approach:
- It values the potential, intelligence, skills, and capacity of the individuals the work is targeted toward. (Reference: Carol Dweck)
- Focusing on strengths is not the same thing as ignoring challenges, turning struggles into strengths, or failing to acknowledge basic inequalities present in society.
- Focus on a whole person, not on “the broken part.” Respect your players and think of them as capable and knowledgeable rather than as people who need to be taught a lesson.
For more on strengths-based approaches:
Principles of Strength-Based Practice http://www.ayscbc.org/Principles%20of%20Strength-2.pdf
Kids do well if they can: a strength-based approach https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/kids-do-well-if-they-can-strength-based-approach
WHERE TO START
Video games are rich, immersive, engaging, and motivating — and they’re where people spend a lot of time. Browse these highlights for an overview of iThrive’s game development resources and processes.
iThrive’s game development tools support developers in creating compelling experiences with a focus on social and emotional learning and positive outcomes.
A list of commercially available games & their potential applications in the classroom
A printable handout on using the science of adolescence to create better spaces for teens.
Details on how we connect developers from professional, college, and high school spaces to collaborate on short game design sprints — centering on themes like empathy, cooperation, optimism, and gratitude.
iThrive and our partners in game development explore how and why games advance us and how we can advance games in return.
iThrive Design Hives are annual retreats with veteran game developers and scholars in the field. The iThrive team, along with these folks, works to identify best practices in game design, on various topics, after we review the scientific literature around components...
As a Software Engineer and former Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, I often have people -- sometimes parents -- ask me how I got my start in technology. The truth of the matter is, though I’ve been inspired by a lot of different sources over the years, my biggest...
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“How can a game change young people’s minds in a positive way?” There’s a hopeful idea underneath this question. It’s hidden beneath the words, and it’s one any parent would recognize: “I believe that my message to my children will be heard.” Certainly, parents’...
Editor's note: This guest-authored post was inspired by a panel discussion called "Find the Kind" at MagFest in January of 2018. The panel was led by Heidi McDonald and Sean Weiland of iThrive Games, James Portnow of Extra Credits, and Dr. Shaun Cashman of Pfeiffer...
iThrive hosts idea jams, paper prototype jams and 48-hour digital game jams at universities, organizations, and regional game festivals, with the goal of bringing together professional developers, game design students and high school teens to build games together...