Week 2 of my student’s game design development project went pretty smoothly. Students spent most of their time exploring the boundaries of the micro:bit platform, and sorting out the core concepts to their games. Most of the teams strayed away from their original idea, as they started thinking about the potential interactions of this hardware device. I’ve generally found that to be a perfectly natural part of mid-scale classroom projects. Though my initial projection was for them to have draft diagrams of the core mechanic this week, I’m letting them push those deliverables out until just before the holiday next week.
Group A has taken a very narrative approach, where each player is a characters that must negotiate or fight with others to obtain assets. The assets (potentially food, water and some sort of money) will go toward survival as they reach their goal. A lot is still being sorted out with this idea, but they were able to start testing the compass as a technological driver in the game.
Group B has moved away from their “assassin” idea, and created the framework for a medieval-era strategy game based around attacking and defending with a small army. They spent a great deal of time play-testing their ideas on paper, which gave a clear understanding of how it would translate to a digital platform.
Group C spent a bit of time testing the radio module on the micro:bit to see if it would work for their game (now dubbed a “cat and mouse” game). After some testing, it seems that the lower power radio ranges cover large distance that would make a game in the “tag” or “hide-and-seek” genre require a great deal of space. The idea was that a “cat” player would need to find the “mouse” players and some sort of play-off would happen to determine if the mouse escaped or not.
Power level 1 (the lowest setting) seems to be reliable until about 10-15 ft. Level 2 gets to the 20-30ft range. I believe they were hoping to use a classroom as the arena, but these distances would force things to a large outdoor area.
Their new idea is to do exactly the same thing in a virtual space, where the micro:bit’s LED array works as a near-field map. Their description suggests something like blind Pac-man where players use the tilt-functions of the accelerometer to move around a virtual room.
Next Week, I hope to see more complete diagrams of the core mechanic in each game, as well as some consideration of the description sheets that will go with the final releases of the code.