Middle School Game Design 1a: Introduction

Course Overview

Units at a glance

What’s your favorite game? Even if you aren’t much of a gamer, you might remember board games or outdoor games that you’ve played with your friends. Games have been with us ever since, well, since we’ve been human! You might think the bow and arrow in your video game is just a cool weapon to have in your arsenal. But going way, way back, people played archery games to see who was the best shot. Sometimes whole cities would play games to decide disagreements instead of going to war! Ever since the beginning, games have been a lot of fun, and so much more.

Why do some games hold our attention for hours, while others get boring after five minutes? We’re going to look at how design elements like color and sound affect our mood as we play. We’re also going to look at the code blocks and instructions that make the game work. Get those creative brains firing on all cylinders because we are going to start building our own programs using Scratch!

So far, we’ve learned concepts about game design as well as what we can do in Scratch. Now it’s time to connect those two and get to work! First, you’ll explore conflict and how to apply it to different gameplay styles. Then you’ll look at game mechanics and use them in Scratch to create certain aspects of games, like jumping and leveling up. And for the grand finale, you will make your very own shooter game!

So far, we’ve talked about how solid game mechanics, a unique narrative, and challenging opponents are all parts of making a great game. As important as these things are, the interface can make or break the player’s experience. We will look at good practices for interface design and try some of them out in Scratch. You will also be starting your Game Design Document, where all of the elements of your game will finally come together in one big plan!

Course Highlights

Discover the elements that make games so addictive to play.
Create mini games that show off your skills making sprites, platforms, rewards, feedback, and more!
Learn how to use Scratch, a block-based programming tool, to design your games.
Consider what you want people to feel while they play your game.

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