Using Videogames in education Brent Silby: Game Designer and Programmer; and Teacher UPT (Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti) [email_address] <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Types of games </li></ul><ul><li>Make & Play </li></ul>In the early 80’s I had a love affair…
My friends from the 1970s and 1980s I spent as much time as possible in arcades. Was that a problem? Nah! I turned out fine. Older generation always used to complain about “young people and their games”. Little has changed. Would people complain about young people developing skill in playing Chess? How ‘bout spending lots of free time reading books? What about spending Saturday’s playing rugby?
Misunderstood game players Older generation only seems to have a problem with leisure activities that involve a videoscreen and CPU. Why? Perhaps because they perceive games as violent But then, why are they happy for kids to play rugby. Personally I’d rather have kids playing videogames where no-one gets hurt than teach them how to play a game that involves real violence.
Misunderstood game players Interesting point: Are games actually violent? People complain that games involve shooting people. But do they really? Game characters are very flat. They are not real people. They are not even simulations of real people. They are mere target shooting devices. Game players know this.
Misunderstood game players There is no difference between shooting at this:
Misunderstood game players and shooting at this: or this: or this:
Misunderstood game players Or even this: Its all the same thing. These are not people, they are icons that are used in a gameplay mechanic.
Despite opposition from older generation, I continued my action research into games. My obsession was not simply about playing the games. I wanted to know how they work . Could I make one? How?
Computers at School I got involved in the school “computer club” In 1983, school had 4 of these Apple II computers We were NOT ALLOWED to play games! But, we did anyway. And, I needed to. I never would have learned how to design games if I was not allowed to play other people’s games.
Computers at School There was no-one at school who could teach me how to design games, so I had to teach myself. Parents bought me 2 home computers…
Computers at Home First was this…a Sinclair ZX81, featuring 16k memory expansion
Computers at Home Then they got me this: An Acorn Electron with 32k Ram
Computers at Home It was with these home computers that I taught myself how to design games and write computer programs I was not achieving at school, because much of it was not relevant to me. But it didn’t matter, because the stuff I was working on was light-years ahead of anything going on at school.
Life Long Skill I still design games to this day My games are based on arcade formula and are playable on Internet My games have been played by several million people now. Check them at www.def-logic.com !
What about kids today? Not everyone wants to make games, but lots of people want to play games. Should we use Educational games? Be very careful…they are like “chocolate covered broccoli” My focus is on helping kids learn how to make games
Very difficult and time consuming to learn how to write code. Not everyone wants to be able to write code. Other ways to create games. In these 2 sessions you’ll learn how to design a game with a html editor, like Dreamweaver. Making games
Adventure games Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, created by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson in the 1980s. Anyone remember these?
Adventure games Generally written in first person perspective. Player chooses a path through the book to a predetermined ending. Read through some…
You can play these online too at: www.ffproject.com Adventure games The good thing about adventure games is that they can appeal to males and females. Girls make games about things they like, and boys make games about the things they like. I wrote one once…
Concept planning You need an idea of what the story is going to be about, for for example: Pretty standard type storyline… You can get your students to develop anything that fits with the context of your class. The land is in darkness! People are being captured to become slaves. The only way to restore freedom is to find a magic sword and destroy the evil sorcerer, who lives in the dark palace at the top of Mount Sodor.
Map it out Draw the map of the adventure, and write descriptions for each “ encounter”. Ensure that you place a number or identifier at the top of each encounter.
Map it out  You leave your village by the main trail. As the warmth of the village fades into the distance, you start to feel cold. The sun disappears behind a dark cloud. After an hour’s walk, you arrive at a fork in the road. The left branch heads towards a forest. The right branch heads towards the coast. Will you head towards the forest (2) or head towards the coast (3)  As you enter the forest, you realise that all is quiet. There are no birds. You walk further into the forest until eventually coming across a clearing. There is a statue in the center of the clearing. Will you examine the statue (4) or move passed (5)  Eek, it’s a statue of you. It has a clue on it  You move passed, and back into the forest…  Death  Coastal town
For the rest of this session, you have the chance to develop a concept and map out a short Adventure Game. Work in pairs, or groups of 3, or individually…up to you. Next time, we will turn your planning into a playable game