This is the outline of a course in game-making delivered to 11 and 12 year olds in Melbourne, Australia. It uses Disney Infinity as a tool to support students in their game making pursuits. The sessions were only one-hour long over six weeks.
Week 3 – Making Games
It is the third week. We have discussed what makes a game and have thought about and created some simple games, but more importantly stories and mash ups and storyworlds and goals for our Disney Infinity Characters. Now it is time to gets making.
Step 1: The Challenges of Making
The greatest challenge for making when it comes to Disney Infinity in this series of workshops has been access to the game and learning environment that is Disney Infinity. We only have one console, and one Disney Infinity Game. We are working with 30 students. Even when we break them up into groups of 3 to work on their game ideas, we still need 10 consoles and ten Infinity Starter packs to get us going.
So, the first lesson if you want to run a program like this, smaller groups is better.
However, we found some solutions. During week three we had three groups using the Disney Infinity Toy Box App on iPads to design their game ideas and mash ups. We had two teams each have 30 minutes each on the XBox we are using as out Infinity console. Other groups were able to sketch out ideas, they even looked at MIT’s Scratch and designed a version of the programming environment so that they knew how they were going to use Creativi-Toys in their games and how they would connect them.
Anyway – in this lesson. We start with inspiration.
We looked for inspiration and learning. So, we turned to the excellent Toy Box demo’s of Chad Liddell. These demos are excellent for introducing one item, as lots of games were interested in how to introduce enemies to fight, we chose his video on the enemy generator. This allowed students to see how it could be used, adjust their games around it. But, also got them thinking more and more about logic programming.
Chad’s collection of video instructions on Creativi-Toys are excellent. We have provided a link to the students so they can refer to it when required. We often have them watching his videos on the iPad with a console in their hands and other students shouting instructions and directions as building takes place.
Get building. Make sure you divide time and whatever consoles or devices you have evenly. The work in facilitating here is not to take the controller and show students what to do, sometimes they may need support in finding the right toy, but that is it. Let them play and experiment with what can link with what – we find that games change and evolve as students immerse themselves more and more in the learning environment.
Sharing. At the end of the session it is great to get one or two students to share what they have done, talk about what they hope to do and what they have learnt. This then turns into further discussions and learning about logic programming or character development. Or “how cool would it be if we could have Sully racing on Bullseye?” – Yeah, lets do that.
Finding a way to make the students stop. When the bell goes, they really don’t want class to end.