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Gamestar Mechanic Instructions

I pretty much got all of this information off of the Gamestar Mechanic site and I have used it to create a hodge podge of an instructional guide for my students when creating their video game

James Gorcesky

on 14 July 2011

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Transcript of Gamestar Mechanic Instructions

What are some of your favorite Board / Video Games?
What about the rules? Gamestar Mechanic Go to
Login to your account To understand the start of a game we will play Red Light/Green Light or Musical Chairs

And to discuss.... Click on worksheet 1.1 (on Edmodo) and analyze this game to
what makes a good ? Rules Engagement Win/Lose Conflict Challenge Now to play! On your main page click
Complete Episode I
With each episode, you unlock Sprites and items to use in your own game

And wrapping it up..... Help me make a list of what
makes a great game great?
Can we group ideas under headings?
Let us try to create games based on this criteria: MODIFYING GAMES Turn to a partner & play
or Groups of 4 will play

And to change it.... Come up with 2-3 ways to
change your game: a. Change one rule.
b. Change a material used to play the game.
c. Change the core mechanic, or play pattern of the game. Type your changes on
Worksheet 1.2 on Edmodo Share your Changes with another group
Your changes were based on the six core elements of game design—
Components, Space, Rules, Goal, Core Mechanics, and Choice

Think about these Design choices and
features when you go to QUEST and
Complete Episode 2

Closure..... Once done... What kind of modification created the largest change in play? Why do you think this was the case?

Did you have to change any of the other elements as a result? How did you know when to do this?

Which new game was your favorite? Why? Do you think it is better than the original version? If so, why? If not, why not?

What was challenging about this design activity? Understanding Game Design For Episodes 1 and 2, how do you think designers created these games?

Imagine where the game designer came up with the idea and what series of steps they might have taken to create the game?

As you play Episodes 3 & 4 under Quests, use the Worksheet 2.1 on Edmodo and to the best of your abilities, describe what process a game designer might go through to create a game.

And for closure..... 1. Come up with 10 game ideas within 5 minutes. An idea might look something like, “An alien goes on a trip around the galaxy,” or “Mas- sive treasure hunt for lost gold,” or “Monsters invade an underground cavern in search of magic cookies.”

2. Write down ideas on index cards or post on Edmodo. Once time is up, have the students post all their cards on the wall.

3. Share out ideas, as time allows. Playtesting and Feedback Check out my game: Mr G Death Maze

We are going to have an official playtest session in order to get feedback on the game from players (like you), in order to improve my game.

One half of you will play, while the others will document what the tester is going through by using worksheet 2.2

Testers start to player, partners make notes on their “player observation worksheet” on what they see happening during the playtest session
Is the player getting stuck? Is it too easy? Too hard? Does it seem unfinished? Is the visual or audio design interesting and related to the game concept?

After you are done playing, I would like ALL TESTERS to the front of the room for an interview
Closure Tester Interviews: Was it fun?
Did you understand what to do? Where did you get stuck?
What else would you like to see in the game? Observations: What do you want to share?
I would like to analyze your feedback to make changes
Class vote to change anything? Time to Play Play Episode 5

Once completed, you can
publish a game

Create a game and have a
partner test it for errors as
well. Use 2.2 sheet to give feedback

Play until the last 10 minutes.... Wrap it Up For the last 10 minutes
of class play as many of
your classmate's games
that you can

Afterwards, discuss the feeling
of playtesting and receiving
feedback Games as Systems Understanding that games are dynamic systems— systems that change through player action—affords game designers many opportunities to design and modify games.

Avatar Enemies Blocks System sprites Items Each category will contain several stu- dents, except for the Avatar group, which will have 1 student.

You will work on a Top Down Bounded space game

You will each receive a note card / sticky note with your category..... “Through some strange imbalance in the universe, you have all been teleported into the Gamestar Mechanic world and have turned (temporarily!) into sprites. Sprites move and behave in particular ways, so you must quickly understand the rules of the sprites or risk being kicked out of the Gamestar world forever. Each of you belongs to particular category of sprite—look at your name tags to see which one you are.” Try to imagine... 2. Students should find other members of their sprite group and sit together in a small group.

3. Groups will receive worksheet 3.1 outlining a menu of parameters, with possible settings for each team member to choose from

4. Each member of a sprite team should use the worksheet to develop a unique set of parameters for themselves. This list of parameters and settings will serve as the “rule set” guiding their behavior for the rest of the activity. Intro to the Space This "game" still takes place in the Gamestar world & exists by those rules

The "space" will either be this classroom or the hallway

All of you sprites operate on this invisible grid that you move one square at a time on. Sprites move at 90' degree angles, they maintain the same speed at respect the borders and space around themselves

And to practice your movement..... Discuss the Rules of Play Practice moving, enacting their assigned behaviors. Again, you ARE SPRITES, not people, and therefore machine-like in their precision. When two sprites intersect—i.e. an avatar encounters an enemy— what is to happen. Does the avatar disappear from the board? Does it lose health? Does the enemy change direction? The students will need to create a rule for each interaction.

8. Talk through different ways of representing outcomes (collecting points, destroying enemies, et cetera). Players can write the rules on the board or use post-it notes, index cards, etc. as part of this process. Design and Play 1. Using a step-by-step process, have students design a game together, using their own bodies as the game pieces.

Step 1: Based on the behavior of the avatar sprite, position a series of blocks in the game space. If you don’t have enough students, chairs can be used to represent blocks.

Step 2: Position enemies in the space. Step 3: Position items in the space. Step 4: Add appropriate system creatures.

You can do these steps in any order you wish. The core idea is to quickly build a game together. At any point you can say “PLAY,” which causes all the sprites to move, as if the game were turned on.

2. Have students make observations about the game each time this happens, and allow them to revise it accordingly. Allow students to invent needed props. Shooting enemies, for example, might use wadded up pieces of paper.

3. Document the game through photographs or a sketch so that it could be referenced in case the activity extends into the next session.

Discussion.... Discuss Discuss the experience of being a digital sprite:

What did it feel like to have a set of rules determine their every move? Why was it easy/difficult?

What relationship did their sprite have with other types of sprites? How was this relationship determined?

Now, let us really build it... Design 1. Give students the challenge of recreating the game they just made as a Gamestar Mechanic game. If they can’t remember specific sprite parameters they can consult the appropriate student-sprites or you can have each student write down their parameters on the board for all to reference. If Time Allows . . .

Have students pair off and playtest each others games. Encourage them to discuss the different approaches they took to translating the game from a real world instance to a digital one. And closure to share.... Dive Deeper Into ART & STORYTELLING Writing Game Descriptions Go onto Game Alley and search for the games
"Volcano Civilization" by mustelidae, "Vaeda's Golden Adventure" by ranger

How did these games utilize the "game description" boxes to help tell a story? Design 1. Have each student create a multi-level game in Gamestar Mechanic.

2. Have students swap places with a neighboring student. Students are asked to play the game designed by their neighbor and to come up with a story that makes sense for the game.

3. Using the game label, as well as intro and outro screens for each level, add the story to the game.

4. Think of a title that works with the story, and save the game under that title.
Playtest (15 mins) Students go back to their original stations and play their levels, framed now by title, game label, intro and outro screens.

Complete Handout 4.4 while assessing Discuss (15 mins) What kinds of stories were invented?

What was it like to create a narrative or story for a game you did not create?

What were the different ways you were able to use the title to start off the narrative?

How did you use the various level screens to tell the story?

Did seeing a story in your game change the ideas you had about the game when you originally designed it?

Are there changes you would make to your game now, to make it fit even better with the story? Storytelling & Mythology Warm Up - Go to Game Alley: search for the games
"Shackelton, Part 1 + 2" by spach,
"Steener Has the Power!" by braddawson What are Myths? Brief introduction to mythology (aka myths) and how they are a part of every culture.

Print multiple copies of short mythological tales from different cultures in advance.

Have students walk around, read them and divide into groups based on which myth they want to work with.

Have each group discuss the myth—its central plot, the main characters, the hero, the enemies, the outcome and the message.

Encourage each group to brainstorm ideas for how they might make a game around the myth. (Use A Mythical Tale worksheet)

In Gamestar Mechanic make a game, either one game per group or one game per student. At the end of the session, each group can present their myth to the class along with the game(s) created for it.

At end of class, share your game and findings.... ART: Patterns & Tessellations Warm Up go to Game Alley: search for the games
"A Midsummer's Nightmare" by Jhansi,
"Popcorn Popper" by spach An Escher Encounter M.C. Escher, a Dutch graphic artist famous for using a mathematical technique called tessellation to fit shapes in a way that there were no overlaps or gaps—just like a jigsaw puzzle. What is a tessellation? Tessellation is a common technique used in flooring and tiling too.
By looking at the colors, shapes & patterns, what makes these so interesting? How does color
support this tessellation? Launch Gamestar and create games using tessellation as a design pattern.

Students need to think about what meaning the shapes hold for them.

Focus most heavily on the visual design of the game, leaving the usual discussion of game interaction behind.

Each student should use the game label to give their game a title and description, in the same way an artist like Escher would title a drawing.

Use the Escher handout to complete your game and turn it in on edmodo Conclusion How did it go?

Ask students to describe the concept of tessellation and how they used this technique in their game.

Ask them to discuss what role the movement or action of sprites played in the creation of their patterns. How does a static image differ from a moving one?

Ask students to reflect on the effect of their visual design on the player. Did it create a particular mood? Create a specific reference? Tell a certain kind of story? The Great Tile Wall Go to Game Alley: search for the games
"Art Gallery" by katyamuses,
"Food Wars!" by sflores There is an old temple in that is no longer used, it has been kept up by a group of historians and architects who believe that it should be preserved as a historical monument for future generations to enjoy. One of the most popular sites in the temple is the Great Tile Wall, which is an amazing mosaic. Mosaic is an art form that uses small pieces of material to create a larger picture or pattern, similar to how pixels create digital images on a computer screen. Traditionally, glass, ceramic, marble, pebbles or mirrors have been used, but the mosaic in this temple uses different colors of alabaster. A story... what shapes/colors are repeated
in these patterns? How are these works similar? I started by using the alabaster block to create the outline of a number one. Because I used a black background, I decided to leave the inside of the pattern empty. Next I created a symbol for water by using the blue block to make three wavy lines on top of each other. The rest of the space was filled out with alabaster blocks. Use Block Sprites for your BG Go DESIGN! Begin to design a game that
features a mosaic in the background
out of colored blocks.

Sketch a design first that utilizes only
the white, blue, dk blue, black, orange,
red or textured blocks

This game should foucs more on the
visual design than the game play

Focus your design on the shape and size of the
gamestar background Closure What designs were
created with your mosaic
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