Thursday, September 23, 2010

SLF: Games - Creation Not Consumption

{Captured live...}

Charlie says, "On your next CPD day - play games!"

Games Design Initiative. Not just for Computing Departments - it is truly inter-disciplinary. Games design is clearly in the Technologies outcomes but there are outcomes throughout the outcomes across learning. Apart from these obvious links, the game context can be linked to many different curricular areas.

Literacy and Game Design

Story telling has structures that can be linked to game design, for example key narrative points. Also, most games come with additional material give the back story for the characters and to set the scene.

Development Environments

2DIY from 2Simple is a great environment for supporting creativity. A simple drag and drop sorting exercise game created with 2DIY was demonstrated. A tool that makes it easy for even very young children to create games. (Various examples are shared on Glow.)

Scratch: Probably the most popular development environment in use in schools. Example was shown of a game where the sprites were created in plasticine and brought in via a photograph. A robot was a cardboard model that was also photographed and brought in. Other ways the learning was extended was the backstory and narrative in the game, the music, the background images... Real inter-disciplinary work for teams of children to collaborate on and draw on different skills.

Kodu: Free PC Software that works with an XBox controller to create XBox games. Charlie did a live demo and created a game world in the environment to show how easy it is to use. Good that the environment can be used in a straightforward manner to create simple games but can be extended to use complex and sophisticated programming projects. Can get started with some pre-written examples but very soon children begin to explore and discover what can be done. Example from Girvan Primary school of Primary 7 children acting as mentors and training up Primary 4 children. The Primary 4 game creation grew out of literacy (story telling ) work.


Games Design Competition

The finalists from this year's competition were shown. Great Scratch game from P5 was shown - developers enjoyed so much they kept working through the summer. Immersive 3D, first person game produced by a 15 year old. Secondary winner came from a large team of pupils who all developed different aspects. The game development was not led by a computing teacher but an English teacher who was interested in the literacy skills.

3D Environment tools

Unreal engine made use of Google SketchUp created 3D models. (Both free tools.)

Glow resources

Loads of good resources in the Consolarium Glow group. Games design is one of the few genuinely inter-disciplinary activities available to schools and one that motivates and interest most children.


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