Documenting Ivanhoe

In preparation for our launch, Stephanie and I spent some time documenting Ivanhoe to help users navigate our site. For inspiration we visited Neatline’s website because we felt that their documentation process was spectacular! Doing this was much more difficult than anticipated because I was trying to see the game from a person who had never heard of it before. While the technology is fairly intuitive (i.e. filling out fields is rather easy for most people familiar with WordPress) why they want to fill out the fields gets back to the theoretical underpinnings of our game.

For example – Starting a New Game is pretty easy. Click “New Game” and fill in the blanks (very similar to writing a post for those familiar with Word Press). But when you start a new game one of the fields is “Add Media/Content.” Now what you do with this field is much more complicated than a simple “how to” might entail. Therefore, we felt it was important to add more than just “fill in the fields.” Here is some supplemental information regarding Add Media/Content field that we created.

Add Media/Content: Arguably one of the most important aspects of the game, the Add Media/Add Content feature allows you to shape the structure of your game. In this field we suggest listing the objective of your game (What do you want players to achieve? Do you want to have rules? Is there a way to win?). There are many ways you can play Ivanhoe. You can start with just the objective of the game and see where players take it. You can insert an image, a video, a music recording, or text and have people make new connections. You can start with a suggested list of roles or have players invent them on their own! The sky is the limit in terms of creativity and functionality so be sure to take some time to think about how you want to play the game before completing this section. 

Hopefully our documentation eases users into Ivanhoe and facilitates an environment that is easy to feel comfortable in! That being said, we plan on providing access to our GitHub account so that users can constantly provide feedback for how our documentation process could improve.

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the Sociology Department and am interested in the intersection between media and society. My specific sociological interests are media (as culture), gender, and inequality.

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