Game Design Page
Young students become actively engaged in the Game Design process when they are exposed to software that is appropriate to their level of experience.
Students who have never tried game design or animation before will enjoy Scratch, a free program developed at the Media Lab project at MIT. This program introduces several key computer programming concepts, in the form of graphic ‘puzzle pieces’, which, if assembled correctly will instruct graphic objects to move, sounds to play, etc. There are many other options. I recommend testing several to find out what you are comfortable with.
With some experience in Scratch students are able to move to Unity, Gamemaker or Flash to create 2D games. These platforms require more extensive programming. Most beginning students are only able to create games based on existing scripts with some minor modification.
The next area of exploration is three dimensional gaming. We explore the Unity 3D game engine and Cinema 4D a 3D modelling program. Unity3D is free if you run a BYOD classroom, but not if you run school licensed software, Cinema4D is not free, but in my experience students are able to work with the Cinema 4D interface faster than Blender, Maya or 3DS Max. Unity3D allows students to create games utilizing many prefabricated game elements and scripts, and has an extensive library of tutorials and supports. The professional version of Unity3D is used extensively in games for the iPhone and for web browser based games, and is expanding into console based gaming. See the Unity3D page (link on the right) to see more specifics and examples of what we do.