Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SLF 2010: Computer Games

{Live blog...}

Why games development in schools?

First, games a everywhere: desktop, mobile, consoles. Also, in the current economic downturn, the gaming industry is one if the few areas of growth, e.g. out grossing film. Games are clearly embedded in Curriculum for Excellence but there was a gap after S2, with no obvious games qualification available.

So, Computer Games Design awards were developed. Each level has the same three module areas.

Design: Gaming technologies - looking at hardware, control devices and storage etc. Also running through is a study of the gaming industry.
Design: Design Elements - including iciness, graphics, narrative etc.
Design: Plan and build a game.

Media Assets: Assets in existing games - Identifying and analysing.
Media Assets: Plan media assets - Capture, select and produce assists.
Media Assets: Produce media assets - can produce themselves or as part of a team, commission someone else to produce them.

Development: Create a working game: Programming couldn't be the core of all the units. Also, wanted the modules to be flexible enough to allow a variety of development tools to be used. For example Planet Kodu on the XBox or Little Big Planet (?) on the playstation. Also, complexity of games developed will be influenced by tools available and the descriptors a broad enough to allow for this.
Development: Evaluate a computer game.
Development: Promote a game. Packaging and promotion. Again, this can be completed in groups, multiple-level groups possibly.

Development Environments

  • Unreal Development Kit - freely available professional development environment.
  • Quake 3 Development environment.
  • Planet Kodu
  • Scratch - Well suited to creating games.
  • Gamemaker
  • Microsoft XNA


Ongoing portfolio of work created, paper or electronic, which must be maintained and developed over the period of each unit.

Students can progress to the NC in Digital Media Computing or NC in Digital Games Development.

Questions (From audience)

Is it expensive? Development environments and software a free. To play the games, they can be played on PC or Mac. Also, experience of developers is that children bringing their own game consoles!

How do parents view it? Generally very positive because their children are very positive. Also, it is made clear that it is not about playing games all day.

Does it take pupils away from Higher? Does not seem to as it is a different market. Attracts children who would otherwise have been lost to Computing departments.

Will slides be made available? Will probably put on Slideshare and will post via SQA blog.

Katie will be talking in discussion area about Digital Media Computing tomorrow.

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