CUNY Games Network

Public Group active 4 months ago

A tool for teaching game making

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  • #37140
    Ethan Ham
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    For many years I struggled to teach my students how to make the leap from designing tabletop games to designing video games. In particular, students without a programming background would consistently have problems defining a video game design as a series of concrete steps that do not leave gaping holes in the game algorithms.

    Then one semester I taught my students flowcharting and had them create a flowchart that could play a simple game theory style game that I had designed. As if by magic, these students had no problem creating video game designs. Ever since that semester, I have always introduced students to video game design by starting with flowcharting. It has become my magical “turn you into a game designer” wand.

    I wanted to share The World’s Most Boring Tower Defense Game, which is one of the tools I use to demonstrate how a video game’s “real time” action actually takes place over a series of discrete turns (what programmers call “ticks”). The game is also a useful example of what a digital prototype might entail.

    The World’s Most Boring Tower Defense Game can be played as a turn-based strategy game (i.e., the player manually advances the turns by pressing a button) or as a real time strategy game (i.e., the turns advance automatically).

    Conway’s Game of Life (which I posted in this forum about a month ago) also provides another example of how “real time” is in actuality very a series of very rapidly occurring turns. As with The World’s Most Boring Tower Defense Game, Conway’s Game of Life can have its “generations” (aka turns) advance either manually or automatically (using the “step” and “run” buttons, respectively).

    #37141

    Very cool, Ethan. If you’re interested and have time, please consider submitting an extended version of this post to the _Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy_ in our Assignments (http://jitp.commons.gc.cuny.edu/category/assignments/) or Tool Tips (http://jitp.commons.gc.cuny.edu/category/tool-tips/) short-form sections.

    (and that invitation is extended to others on this forum, as well!)

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