Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Gilbert L. Peterson, PhD


The field of Serious Games (SG) studies the use of games as a learning tool and it has been in existence for over forty years. During this period the primary focus of the field has been designing systems to evaluate the educational efficacy of existing games. This translates to a lack of systems designed to aid in the creation of serious games, but this does not have to remain an issue. The rise in popularity of games means that there is no shortage of ideas on how to methodically create them for commercial production which can just as easily be applied to SG creation. However, showing a clear linkage between a game’s components and its learning objectives is a primary difficulty. Created by Hunicke, LeBlanc, and Zubek, the Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics (MDA) methodology is an understandable and robust construct for creating commercial games using mechanics to produce an intended level of aesthetic appreciation from its consumers. However, an educational Serious Game (SG) must not only be fun, but through experience it must convey the intended learning objectives to its players. This thesis explores utilizing the MDA methodology, with Bloom’s taxonomy, to create and evaluate a game to meet two learning objectives for a Cyber focused class. The created game CyComEx, was designed to teach cyber students to identify tradeoffs between security and mission execution, and to explain how policies can impact cyber mission areas. The game was evaluated to have conveyed these objectives during a playthrough and that it was sufficiently enjoyable to students participating in this case study.

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