Draft: Overview of Simulation Workflow Model

I recently drafted a document to give an idea of the (very) basic overall process involved in a simulation project. While I gloss over many of the more detailed processes the document provides insight into the mechanics of SIM creation, in simple terms. This document is focused towards an academic environment, but could easily be modified for other fields.

Feel free to enhance and improve this document with your comments.

Pre-production (5% of total Project)
Simulation Concept

In the initial stage, SMEs will meet to define a basic outline (vision) of the simulated environment. SMEs may include faculty, specialized trainers, staff, or others.

Overall Vision

SMEs will meet and establish an idea of what the sim does. There are several elements that must be hammered out before any progress can begin. Such elements include:

  • identify best resource for sim
    • tabletop
    • case study
    • scenario
    • other

  • basic idea of the overall scenario
    • “nutshell” version of expectations

  • number of levels
  • gameplay description
    • strategy
    • “interactive” movie
    • shooter
    • puzzles
    • hybrid
  • sim environment description
    • 2d
    • 3d

  • delivery mode
    • CD-ROM
    • downloaded via internet
    • “in-house” only (i.e., training room with moderator / instructor)

  • audience identification
    • students
    • faculty
    • trainers
    • nurses
    • first responders
    • emergency managers

Project Timeline (Milestones)

Based on the Vision, a rough project Timeline can be generated to define the work and establish Milestones.

Sim Concept Document

After SMEs establish Vision, a Sim Concept Document will be created that outlines the Vision and any initial concept art sketches or other images, if applicable. This document will be distributed for comment / revision among the SMEs and will represent the working “blueprint” for the overall sim.

Sim Concept Document contents the following sections:

  • Mission / scenario
  • Sim features
  • Brief Overview (Genre, Target Audience, Time)
  • Basic concepts (Gameplay: characters, “bosses,” puzzles, controls, etc.)
  • Mini games brief description
  • Levels brief description

Production (30% of total Project)

Overall Production of the sim will require a large portion of the project’s timeline. From an artistic / creative aspect, all assets (characters, models, environments, etc.) within the game must be created or otherwise acquired. From a technical standpoint, there are many considerations, including programming language, presentation mode, graphical choice, and creation / acquisition of audio files, animation sequences, and user interface must be occur during this time.

Analysis & Design

Analysis & Design elements:

  • Graphical Considerations; creation of
    • game characters
    • assets, environments
    • objects
    • user interface
  • Technical Considerations (2d, 3d, graphics engine, user interface, delivery mode, etc.)

In Game Text

SMEs will need to develop overall script, dialogue, and/or narrative elements for game. This includes any specific curriculum, technical terms, or other supplemental material(s) to include. A final version of In Game Text will be implemented in the Development phase.

Conceptual Design:

  • Foundations (Features, Essence of the Gameplay, Characters, Gameplay Elements, AI)
  • User Interface (Navigational Chart, Functional Requirements, Objects of the User Interface)
  • Graphics and Video (Graphics and Animations, Animated Insertions)
  • Sounds and Music (General Description, Sound Effects, Music)
  • Conversion of plot / case study / tabletop exercise
  • Level Description

Technical Design:

  • Technical Specification
  • Platform and OS (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.)
  • Code Objects
  • Data, Related to Data Objects
  • Data Formats
  • Graphical Engine
  • Technical Description of the Graphical Elements
  • Sounds and Music

Development (40% of total Project)

Final Design Elements

This milestone includes all final artwork concepts to be approved before its implementation:

  • environment concept art
  • concept art of environment objects for the game
  • concept art of main characters and NPC (non-player characters)

In Game Text Implementation

At this stage all game text should be provided and approved by SMEs for implementation into Sim.

Testing (20% of total Project)
Testing takes up a large portion of the overall Project timeline. This is due to the constant testing and revision of code, technical aspects (see above), and implementation to delivery mode.

Initial Programming Code Tests

Code will be tested for viability and critical bugs.

Alpha Version

Alpha version implements 1 or more typical playable, full-functional levels with a full set of animations and effects. Non-critical bugs and errors allowed. Alpha versions of the sim will be distributed to all SMEs for commentary.

Beta Version

Beta version implements all full-functional levels of the sim. Non-critical bugs and errors allowed. Beta versions of the sim will be distributed to a selected test group for feedback before Final Release.

Final Release (5% of total Project)

Finished product release to established delivery mode.

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