Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Game Design Unit Schedule and Lesson Plan

Sam didn't have to go to work during the week between Christmas and New Year's, and he'd been wanting to teach one of our units, so we happily took this opportunity! He decided to teach a unit on Game Design. He has been designing games for many years now, as he got his first job in the game industry at age 16! He works at Disney doing concept art now, but he stays quite involved with game design and he loves it. So, this was a perfect chance for him to share some of his knowledge with the rest of us. 

Sam had his own lesson plan for this unit, but I took notes as he talked and tried to fill in most of the things he talked about on my usual spreadsheet.
Ky pretends to be a jumping bean, moving from pillow to pillow
I thought it was really interesting how many aspects of designing games can be applied to designing . . . anything! The concepts of flexibility, usability, aesthetics, target audience, reinforcement, etc. seem like they will be really useful in a whole bunch of areas! And Sam is just a good teacher, so he could probably talk about practically anything and it would be interesting. :)

Sam had the boys each design a game for their Final Project, which they worked on throughout the week. They spent a LOT of time testing and re-working and refining the concepts, and Sam helped them think through potential problems and come up with better redesigns as they went. It was really cool to see what they came up with and how they improved their ideas. And the finished games actually turned out really fun. I think we will keep playing them for many years!
Some of Sam's teaching charts

Abe working on his game---before and after being shorn :)

First draft of Abe's instructions

Seb's prototype

Malachi's instructions

Game testing with Daddy (Seb was sick this day---you can see him sitting wanly on the heater vent in the background) :(

For their final games, the boys really worked hard to make nice, professional-looking (well, relatively speaking :)) products. Sam let them do all kinds of things that I'm usually too lazy to allow---things like painting their boards with craft paint and sculpting game pieces and dice out of Sculpey. They spent hours and hours getting everything just right.

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