Brian Marchini

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.

Project Info

Escape: An education game

Brian Marchini

Continuing Education/ Collegiate

Introduction of SQL

Brian Marchini is a software developer, data scientist and educator who believes in using science and technology to improve education and accelerate innovation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s in business administration. Professionally, Brian works at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA as an IT administrator and part-time instructor.

End in Mind

Escape is a multimedia, simulation game using the Twine platform that promotes learning through application of concepts to solve problems and progress the story using immersion in order to increase engagement. It promotes exploration and creativity by offering several different ways to complete this simulation successful. Once the learner has completed their first run through, they are challenged start again trying alternative approaches to gain in-game rewards.

Content Standards

No specific standard being used

Key Skills

  • Computer Skills
    • Structured Query Language
      • Data Manipulation Language (DML)
      • Data Definition Language (DDL)
      • Data Control Language (DCL)
    • Data Analysis
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

In-Depth Inquiry

Students may inquire on the nature of the simulation including background stories, personnel profiles and simulation history. These will be accessible using SQL commands which will further increase user familiarity with key skills. By applying these skills in a game environment, they will need to gain a higher level of use in order to apply relative concepts to task completion as this is a simulated situated learning environment.

Driving Questions

  • How can we use SQL to find solutions to real world problems?
  • How can we pull data using DML?
    • How do we use the SELECT statement?
    • How do we use DELECT, INSERT and UPDATE statements
  • How can we change data structures in a database using DDL?
    • The effects of DROP and CREATE?
  • What tools can you use to analyze this data?

Revision & Reflection

The simulation is designed to be replayable with accumulation of badges or finding creating solutions to problems. Save points will allow to user to go back if they feel a mistake is made. The goal here is to use failure as a learning step rather than a summative assessment.

The simulation will ask for feedback from the user at the end of the simulation. Given the nature of the simulation and replayability, there are no set limit on iterations.

Public Audience

This project is designed to be an accessory to a standard SQL course curriculum, but can be adapted for creative uses beyond SQL. The target demographic will be students who have a basic understanding of computer science concepts.

PBL Essentials Check

Driving Question

  • How can we use SQL to find solutions to real world problems that require use of a database and IDE interface?

Driving Question Check

Given that this question is being applied in a situated simulated environment, we can expect increased levels of engagement. This is similar to how people learn to master SQL as they progress as a SQL developer or analyst.

Plan Assessment

Types of formative assessments:

1.            Multiple choice Assessments – Stored as inventory reward

2.            Picking up of badges as simulation progresses

Types of summative assessments:

1.            Escaping ship requires using data using SQL throughout the simulation.

Entry Event

Game Overview:

You find yourself on an IA prison transport on your way to the Delphi prison colony on Erebus Delta. Your mission in this simulation is to escape this prison ship before reaching the colony to deliver the intelligence you recovered on your last rebel mission, before being caught by the IA police.

You will be provided with a scenarios and multiple choices. Some choices advance the story and allow you to explore this simulation while others are meant to gauge your understanding of the learning material. In order to escape the prison ship, you will need to gather a variety of items in your inventory as well overcoming challenges presented in game. Direct links will be provided to resources needed to complete the adventure.

Character Awakening and creation:

Map the Project

Step 1: Objectives

Students will need to understand basic use of the SQL database language in order to manipulate the situation and complete the simulation successful. It will draw up basic commands such as:

  • DROP
  • JOIN

Step 1 Check

Do the products and tasks give all students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned? Yes. We are taking a scaffolding approach to learning SQL. In order to complete the final challenge, learners will need to have a strong understanding of basic SQL commands.

Step 2: Calendar

Estimated time need to complete the simulation will be 60 to 300 minutes with save points allowing the simulation to be spread out over several weeks or a semester.

Step 2: Check

What challenges or problems might arise during this project?

  1. Loss of saves or technical issues
  2. Inability to follow plot

Process Management

Learning walk-throughs will be automated with guides included through the simulation allowing them to seek answers directly out of the simulation.

What tools and resources will you or your students need during the project?

•             On-site people: Instructor or lab assist to help as needed

•             Technology: Browser access with internet connectivity

Process Check

Many computer science principles are taught in abstraction or complete free form with little compromise between. This approach offers a degree of creativity while ensuring that students stay on task.

Public Audience

Given that this is a simulation, there will be no long lasting product for this simulation other than, perhaps, fond memories.

Student Reflection

How will you and your students reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of the project?

End of simulation feedback form

Script Overview


I knew that I wanted to do something computer science related using game theory. Developing immersive game environments can be challenging, and their portability and reuse is often limited at best. My hope is to develop Escape using Twine and then modify the project to allow instructors across a variety of subject areas access for customization. 

I was exposed to Twine when working on the Tech simulation project, and immediately realized that this could possibly be the technology that I was looking for. As it using HTML5 as its core language, the modifications are potentially endless.

I see this as an accompaniment to a course and not a replacement.

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