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they wish to develop a marketable application. Before beginning work on a game, the
following issues should be carefully addressed and contemplated:
- How clear is the game concept? How much background work remains to be done
on the interface, content, and development environment?
- How clear is the incorporation of historical details into the game, and if it involves
presentation of a building or a collection of items, what preparatory work has already
been done? How familiar is this topic to the target audience and will the `Help'
information and accompanying documents be sufficient to foster an understanding
of the cultural setting? Would they point the way to further study?
- What distinguishes this game from other products from the same genre?
- Is the underlying technology clear?
- What is the platform PC, console, or some other device? Would this game be used
in the cultural institution only or would it be widely sold or disseminated? Bear in
mind that heritage software is likely to be a niche market with a narrow potential
user base although this may reflect the fact that the heritage sector has not yet
addressed the marketing issues.
- How is your development team composed? Is the team experienced, or will this be
the first time they have worked together? Have its members got all the necessary
skills?
- What is the highest graphical standard realistically attainable? Modern quality is a
crucial factor for widespread acceptance of a game.
- Are there copyright or intellectual property rights (IPR) management issues?
- How intuitive is the proposed user interface?
- What sound effects and audio will be used? Are these consistent with the historical
period?
During development
Since most cultural heritage institution are likely to work with external developers,
there are key questions which should be clearly communicated to the developers, negoti-
ated in detail, carefully tracked during development, and monitored for compliance and
rigour afterwards:
- What exactly must be done? The game has to be defined in detail, including the
number of levels, storyboards, menu screens, sound effects and other factors.
- One specific feature for cultural heritage related games development is the presenta-
tion of artefacts and historical background.What innovative ways can be used to
incorporate these into a game? How will the historical facts be put across if the
game involves unexpected events? The study of primary sources could be a time-
consuming and labour-intensive task.
- How will the team be organised and what is the overall timeframe? How many
artists, designers, programmers, historians will participate? A formal presentation of
their tasks such as a Gantt chart or Pert diagram will be necessary. All team members
will need detailed schedules for their work.
- What digitisation work will be necessary for presentation of the historical artefacts?
- What resources are needed? Does the game developing company or the organisation
have all of the necessary equipment, including the hardware and software necessary
for digitisation?
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