Philip Mildner, Generation of Effective Serious Games with Static and Dynamic Content, 2016, Mannheim.


With video games being a huge market, attracting and engaging millions of players, it is tempting to use these motivational aspects not just for entertainment. After all, play as the basis of games has inherent learning aspects, for example seen at the way how children play and learn. The serious games movement that took off at the beginning of the 21st century wants to achieve exactly that: provide playful learning environments and utilize the motivational aspects of games to transport serious content to players. Getting from such an idea to an actual game, however, is far from trivial. A fundamental problem is how to integrate serious content and game parts. Finding ways how to improve the game creation process to produce applications that are both fun to play and effective in delivering a serious content is the main focus of this thesis. Therefore, the problem is approached in two ways: by providing best practice tips for the creators of serious games and by presenting results of different practical game implementations and studies.

Two sets of serious games — seven in total — have been developed within the course of this thesis. The first set comprises games with static serious content. These games depict the regular development approach. Here, a static game concept is created and implemented by professional game developers. This approach allows for a high degree of freedom in the game creation process. Nevertheless, emphasis has to be put on combining serious content in the right way to produce effective and fun serious games. Best practice tips are given along with presenting results from user studies that are based on the implemented game prototypes. The second set of games features dynamic learning content. In contrast to static variants, these games support changing the learning content at runtime. This allows for more accessible creation methods: Once created, any domain expert can create own custom games without the need for expertise in game development. On the other hand, special emphasis has to be put on designing the frameworks in a manner that game scenario and learning content are well integrated, despite not having a thematic connection. Different approaches are examined by developing games with dynamic content. The games are evaluated in terms of their usefulness. Different user studies look at the motivational aspects as well as at the learning outcome. Furthermore, the effect of not having a connection between game scenario and learning content is examined to compare the effectiveness of static and dynamic variants.

Book Chapters

Philip Mildner and Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, Design of Serious Games, in Serious Games: Foundations, Concepts and Practice, R. Dörner, S. Göbel, W. Effelsberg, and J. Wiemeyer, Eds. Springer International Publishing, 2016, pp. 57–82.


Philip Mildner, Oliver Beck, Marcel Reinsch, and Wolfgang Effelsberg, The Influence of Learning and Gaming Coherence on the Effectiveness of Serious Games, in The Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Games Based Learning, T. Connolly, L. Boyle, Eds. Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, 2016, pp. 452–460.
Philip Mildner, Nicolas Stamer, and Wolfgang Effelsberg, From Game Characteristics to Effective Learning Games, in Serious Games, vol. 9090, S. Göbel, M. Ma, J. Baalsrud Hauge, M. F. Oliveira, J. Wiemeyer, and V. Wendel, Eds. Springer International Publishing, 2015, pp. 51–62.
Philip Mildner, Benjamin John, Alexander Moch, and Wolfgang Effelsberg, Creation of Custom-made Serious Games with User-generated Learning Content, in NetGames ’14: Proceedings of Annual Workshop on Network and Systems Support for Games, IEEE, 2014.
Philip Mildner, Christopher Campbell, and Wolfgang Effelsberg, Word Domination: Bringing Together Fun and Education in an Authoring-Based 3D Shooter Game, in Games for Training, Education, Health and Sports, vol. 8395, S. Göbel and J. Wiemeyer, Eds. Springer International Publishing, 2014, pp. 59–70.
Philip Mildner, Christopher Campbell, Mark Himmelsbach, Christoph Malassa, Marko Miczka, and Wolfgang Effelsberg, A Serious Game for Architectural Knowledge in the Classroom, in E-Learning and Games for Training, Education, Health and Sports, vol. 7516, S. Göbel, W. Müller, B. Urban, and J. Wiemeyer, Eds. Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2012, pp. 72–77.