Mission Possible

I was tasked a few weeks ago with creating a software training for our staff. It’s basically one of the most boring topics ever – completing and submitting timesheets.  It just so happened that at about the same time a lot of great ideas were being posted on the Articulate weekly challenge (for which I made the Cards for humanity game).

I started thinking about how I could make this timesheet snooze fest a little more game like.  Enter, Operation Right on Time.  Here is how it all came together.


Game Design:

Two submissions in particular on the weekly challenge inspired me – a detective game by Nancy Woinoski and a spaceship building game by Charles Hamper. I decided to create a detective-like game where you use clues from your calendar and notebook to complete a series of challenges.

Your mission is to “get paid” – simple, but effective.  I mean, who doesn’t want to get paid? In order to complete the mission, you have to complete 5 challenges, 1 for each day in the game.

directions  Challenge-1

Rather than a long explanation of how to complete each of the 5 tasks, learners are instead given all the resources they need and then simply asked to complete those tasks.  Each challenge is a screen recording of me working in the software, set to test mode. I also use the same screen recordings in view mode as associated demos for each challenge. Learners are given some fake time codes and hours worked for each “day” and can access these tools right from the challenge through lightboxes, so they never have to lose their place in a challenge if they get stuck.

challenge-screen notes calendar

I also took some inspiration from mobile games.  There several levels which you have to unlock. You can open up resources and instructions and switch levels using small buttons at the top of the screen.


Visual Design:

This was a little secondary for me this time around, but I decided early on that gray and black needed to be key to the color scheme.  I also wanted to make an office setting where you could explore your surroundings for clues. It’s a mostly static scene where you click on the calendar and notebook for information and on your laptop for the challenge. But on each day I threw in an easter egg for either more information or a little fun.  On Friday, you get to play darts.

Office  easter-egg   darts

For the font, I wanted something that looked like a typewriter.  I searched for a free font on dafont.com and used Underwood Champion (since I just finished watching the second season of House of Cards).  I dropped all of the “o”s just a bit so it looked a bit like a typewriter.

Obviously, I needed to visually tie in the mission of getting paid.  So, at the end of each challenge you earn a few $1000 bills, because who doesn’t want to get paid in $1000 bills?  And at the end of the game, once your mission is complete, a bunch of $1000 bills fall from the sky.  Yes, I make it rain.

challenge-complete   mission-complete

Nerdy Details:

I had to use a few work arounds to get some of the animation to work right in this game.

Unfortunately Storyline does not have an animation that mimics typing so I had to create each letter separately and time them to enter as if they were being typed.  An easy, but very time consuming solution.

I also wanted to create a pause button on several slides so that things would enter and exit correctly.  See my Cards for Humanity post for an explanation on how to make that happen.

Overall, i think this turned into a much more engaging way to get people to learn this information than a boring ol’ Power-Point-slides-converted-into-click-and-reveals type training.  I will be posting a working sample soon, but in the meantime, what do you think?  Do you like this approach?  What would you change?



Here is the link to a working demo of the project.  Since the blog post I had some fun adding sound effects and let me tell you, they really give the project a little something extra.  Several came from eLearning Brothers, a few from SoundFX Now, and some I created in my office using Adobe Audition and a headset microphone. Enjoy!

I also created a conclusion slide for another Articulate challenge.  I haven’t added it to the demo yet, but you can check it out once you’re done.


  1. This sounds very interesting and fun. Please post a summary of the feedback you receive. . .what worked? what didn’t work? Looking forward to more dialogue about this project.


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