High School Summer Scholars

Category: Teaching

In the summer of 2014 I taught the course “The Art of Game Design”. During it, I worked with 12 high school students (9 male, 3 female) during this workshop on game design. After some introduction games, the workshop started with the students playing games from indiestatik, Gamejolt and Venus Patrol. This was a very good start to the workshop, as students were unfamiliar with these sites and the underlying scene. Next, I ran the students through a couple of tutorials aimed at teaching them to become self-sufficient in using the documentation of a game engine (Game Maker Studio) to solve programming problems. After they were proficient enough in this skill and had first-hand experience with collision detection, masking, physics, sprite animation, pathfinding, etc., we moved on to ideation techniques and paper prototyping, and ended week 1.

During week 2, the students were instructed to turn their paper prototype into a digital prototype using the skills they learned along with the documentation and the Internet. I took on the role of more knowledgable other, helping them to push themselves further and further. The method proved to be succesful, as all students ended up with a proof of concept for their game idea. Below you will find some screenshots of the games they made. The games themselves can be downloaded here. I am personally tremendously happy with the result of the workshop as the students (who had little to no prior programming experience) managed to make games that are genuinely fun in less than 20 hours.