My students have been working on the National STEM Video Game Challenge in pairs and it's been great, but I really wanted them to have access to experts beyond the classroom. To this end, I invited guests from a Women in Computing organization from a local university to visit. Wow! What an incredible time. We talked about the internet of things, women in CS pioneers, and much more.
Here's a video of our time:
Following their talk with the class, they went around and worked with groups of students. The conversations were amazing as they guided my students through thinking about their game creation. They really led them to reflect more deeply on the player and how they would experience the game. Would a player find this interesting? Challenging? How can you add more challenge?
Look forward to future collaboration with this amazing group.
It's time to MYOVideoGame (make-you-own-video-game). I was inspired by the National STEM video game challenge. More about that here:
The best part about this project is the opportunity to integrate so many skills and practices across the curriculum. First off, came the two-pronged approach to brainstorming. Since there are two aspects to this project, it required thinking along two tracks. One was the STEM content where I had students identify and research a topic on the central theme of explorers/exploration. There was some useful information on National Geographic on this topic. The other track was that of the video game design itself. They had to plan out how the game would run and how the player would experience their game. These two tracks were then put together into their game design document. I provided an authentic game design document example from a team of video game developers for them to reference. Based on the National STEM Video Game Challenge website, I also provided them with a bank of options to choose from as they code their game. One group actually used Gamemaker and taught themselves C in the process!
Here's the Google Doc I used to introduce the MYOVideoGame challenge, adapting material found on the website. Their final assessment will be using rubrics to evaluate their Game Design Document and actual video game (with much of the criteria based on the user experience and functionality of the game).
Here's an example of a group of students' game design document, colored fonts and all!
Our game will be about exploring the ancient continent of Pangea and learning about multiple dinosaurs along the way. You will get to choose whether to be a herbivore or carnivore and will collect leaves or meat accordingly on your journey in order to restore health. Your goal is to learn about as many dinosaurs as possible before the meteor strikes. The game will be a scrolling platformer and you will fight dinosaurs as you try to reach the end of the level. There will be nests throughout the levels with information about dinosaurs that you meet along the way. You will have a time limit on the levels and if you don’t finish the level in time you lose.
This game is meant for children 8 and up, and is made to help learn about dinosaurs. This is an educational game that will give kids a greater understanding about different types of dinosaurs and their surroundings. Children and teens of many ages can enjoy this fun game and the well researched information provided. Both girls and boys can enjoy this game equally and learn, as long as they like dinosaurs. This game will hopefully be used as a classroom tool since technology is being rapidly introduced into the school system.
Dino Dynasty is a scrolling platformer that will start off as an web game. Hopefully later the game will be expanded to console (Xbox One and PS4). This game also may be made available on iOS and Android sometime in the near future. We will make this game 2D with simple controls that can be understood by anyone. But also fun and entertaining.
Dino Dynasty is an exploration based platformer game. In the game you explore many different types of dinosaurs/plants on a scrolling platformer. The dinosaur based game is sure to capture a younger audience’s attention and the educational portion will allow children to play it in school.
Core Game Mechanics
The gameplay mechanics will be really simple: you will be a velociraptor trying to gather information about dinosaurs while unlocking the corresponding characters. You will go through different levels fighting other dinosaurs and gaining information on them, you will try to escape the meteor coming to Earth and try to survive. You will explore the 2D prehistoric world by running, walking, and jumping from place to place, battling other dinosaur or eating prehistoric plants, gaining information on them along the way.
The goal of this game is to eat to survive and gain as much information as possible before the game ends. To achieve this goal you must battle other dinosaurs, scout dinosaur nests, or examine plants. Some nests and plants will be hard to reach, and some dinosaurs battles will be harder than others. Being defeated in battle will delay the player in their mission, but they will be able to respawn close by. Once the game is completed, there will be a secret level and the player can then explore without a time limit.
There will be food that will restore your health throughout the level, but must be earned by battling other dinosaurs, scavenging, or finding plants. There will also be an array of dinosaurs that you will need to battle in order to reach the next level. There will also be eggs on the levels, and when you walk over to them you will learn more about the dinosaurs inside, and how close they are to hatching.
The left and right arrow keys will be used to to walk to the left or right, the up arrow key will be used to jump, and the spacebar will be used to attack.
Dinosaurs and Info
Spinosaurus: Also known as the spine lizard, which lived during the cretaceous period. It was bigger than the T-rex and Giganotosaurus, making it known as one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs that ever roamed the Earth. This dinosaur had long spines sticking out of it’s back known as a “sail”, that could be up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) long. There has been recent evidence that this dinosaur was the first to be able to swim. Spinosaurus had short hind limbs, dense and compact bones, wide and flat claws and feet, and a long and slender snout. Since this dinosaur most likely spends most of it’s time in the water, and has a long and slender snout with conical teeth, it probably eats fish. Based on the size of this dinosaur and the fact that its size doubled with its sail fully extended, it did not have many predators. The sail had ball and socket joints, allowing for the dinosaur to arch its back.
Stegosauria: (Stegosauridae) was alive during the Late Jurassic Period, between 150 and 155 million years ago. Stegosauri were herbivores and it is believed that the allosaurus and ceratosaurus were its predators. The ste
Dimetrodon: The dimetrodon lived during the Early Permian period nearly 295-272 million years ago. The dimetrodon is known for the large sail on its back and large spines protruding from its back. It was found mostly in Southwest America and fourteen different species have been discovered. Its name meant “two measures of teeth” and it was more closely related to mammals than reptiles, contrary to popular belief. They had a sail on their back and were one of the largest known land species of their time. Their diet includes freshwater sharks, amphibians and reptiles. They were most likely cold blooded with a low metabolism.
Pterodactyl: Commonly thought to be a dinosaur, but really is its own species with different sizes, diets and some had teeth and others didn´t. The Pterodactyls being linked to dinosaurs is just popular imagination, though dinosaurs and pterodactyls were around the same time period.
Tyrannosaurus Rex: One of the most fearsome animals of all time. Its powerful jaw had 60 teeth, and just one of them had a bite with a strength of 3 lions
Procompsognathus: Also known as a Compy these dinosaurs are scavengers
Velociraptor: (Velociraptorinae) Velociraptors lived in the later part of the Cretaceous period. Their name derived from the latin terms velox (speed) and raptor (robber or plunderer), which perfectly describes the agility and carnivorous diet of this dinosaur. Velociraptors are the most bird-like dinosaurs, they are small and fast, and have a sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each foot, along with a bone in the wrist allowing for the dinosaur to snap its arms forward, swiftly grabbing its prey. Scientists have discovered that velociraptors were roughly the size of a small turkey and had feathers, yet couldn’t fly or glide due to their small arms. There is a theory that velociraptors had ancestors that could fly. They had fairly large skulls with widely spaced teeth, along with a long and narrow snout. The tail was inflexible with hard, fused bones that helped the dinosaur balance on its two hind legs. They had three hooked claws that kept their prey from escaping. Velociraptors hunted and scavenged for food and usually ate small animals.