The playing of games to support teaching and learning is well documented but how about the making of games? With a growing number of young game designers finding success in the booming mobile device market, what do we say to a student who tells us that they wish to make a game? Well thankfully there is a wealth of both free and paid for resources available online to allow students and teachers to explore the world of game making. Below is a list of a few of my favourites. (Please let me know if I have missed anything!)
Game Maker 8 - Game Maker 8 makes it easy to create great games without having to learn a programming language or spend a lot of time. Many tutorials and resources are available, along with a lot of help from the community.
Kodu - Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The visual nature of the language allows for rapid design iteration using only an Xbox game controller for input (mouse/keyboard input is also supported).
Scratch - Scratch is a project out of the MIT Media Lab. It allows users to program their own interactive stories and games with animated content. Scratch is specifically designed to make programming accessible for students (they recommend ages 8 and up). The website hosts support materials, user-created content and sample code to help you get started. The Media Lab has a license deal with LEGO to allow users to use LEGO characters in their Scratch projects.
Mission Maker - MissionMaker lets students rapidly create visually 3D rich worlds for first-person 'Missions' - complete with sets, animated characters, dialogue and music.
Stencyl - Stencyl is a free game creation platform that allows students to create 2D games for mobile devices and for the web. The software is also available in paid format. This gives you the ability to upload your finished games to the iTunes App Store.
GameSalad - GameSalad allows members to design, publish and distribute original games without programming knowledge, and play with others across multiple platforms, such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac and any other Internet-connected device.
Alice - Alice is a free and open source 3D programming environment designed to teach students object-oriented and event-driven programming. In Alice, students drag and drop graphic tiles in order to animate an object and create a program. Alice is great for creating an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Extensive support materials are provided.
Quest - Thanks to Quest, you can now create your very own 80's style text adventures. Quest has a variety of uses in education, within a range of subjects and at a range of levels. Best of all, it's free. Perhaps the most obvious use of Quest is within ICT/Computing. Quest provides a gentle introduction to programming concepts – variables, functions, loops, expressions, objects, etc. – and the visual editor means that students don’t need to remember commands or syntax.
To find out more and for links to all the above resources, click here
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