Posts Tagged ‘game development’

Well today is the last day of 4 weeks at University of Denver.  It has been a great professional development experience, even though the last week has been tough (simply because it is the last week).

For the last two weeks we were challenged to create game about the political environment here in the US.  My group chose to make a game about the 270 Electoral Votes needed to win the election.  A couple of things to note about our game.  When you open it up and look at the map (game board) you’ll notice the states are not all sized to the same scale.  Our group made a design decision to scale up those states with more electoral votes, and downsize those with fewer electoral votes.  We also used the 270 to Win website for a lot of our research. From this site we gathered lots of information regarding past voting in each state for the last 10 presidential elections, as well as what the current leanings of the state are.

I’ve posted  a zipped version of our game here, http://www.p4games.org/node/699 .  You will need to have Greenfoot downloaded and installed on your computer to run the game.  Also on the DU-Blog post above I also tried an export to HTML from Greenfoot.  At this time I’m on a lab computer and can’t make changes, so I’m unable to troubleshoot why that export isn’t working.

I spent a fair amount of time the last two weeks working on curriculum for a semester class in game development.  I’m still not done with this project, but here is a link to what I’ve got so far.  At this point I’m to week 12 in an 18 week semester.  My thought was to plan 16 – 17 weeks.  This would leave room for adjustment during the semester, and allow for missed days such as Pep Assembly days, etc.  Also at this point (Week 12) my plan is to move into a major project, and have the students develop a Humane Game that will require research and most of their class time for the remainder of the semester.

If you’re interested in this program, please feel free to ask me questions, or check out the University of Denver, Teacher Game Institute web pages, off of this page you can link to examples used during the Teacher portion of the program, and if you follow the links to Game Camp, you’ll see all the great things they did with the 9th and 10th grade girls who participated.  If you have a chance to participate I encourage you to do so.  The team here at DU has been fantastic.  My niece, who was a Game Camp participant, has informed me it was great fun.

This morning, Collen McCreary from EA games, will be in to speak to the girls about all of the different careers available in the game industry.  I’m really looking forward to this talk too!  It should be a good close to this program.

I am now looking forward to about 2.5 weeks of holiday until I report back on August 6 or 7.  I’m still not certain I’ve got a new position, although I’ve been told to hang in there, they are still waiting on the paperwork from the US Department of Education….so I am trying to be patient, and wait!


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Well, we’re into day 4 of our 3rd week here at TGI.  This week 30 or so 9-10 grade girls arrived for Game Camp.  They will be here through the end of next week, just like we are.

Teachers this week and next are working on a couple of things, 1 – we’ve been challenged to make a game about the upcoming presidential election and 2 – develop curriculum.  The teachers have broken into groups, during the first two weeks we were pushed to do all phases of the game development on our own, because they wanted us to exerience what our students would experience, this week we decided to cooperate and divide into groups that used all of our best skills.

My group is making a game about the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.  There are three of us working on this game, two computer science teachers, and an art teacher.

I’ve also spent a fair amount of my time this week developing curriculum for a semester course in game developmentLiz B. Davis saw this the other day and plurked that she was so inspired by my blog on TGI, that she wanted to do this.  I’m honored that what I wrote inspired Liz!  It was interesting to watch the conversation that followed on plurk.  Many people missed the point of why this program at DU is so great!  It is not the technology that drives this program, the technology is only a tool!  This program also takes a holistic approach to game development, most that I’ve seen before concentrate on programming – the technology.

I will continue to work on this semester plan, my hope is that it will be written, and enough resources provided that someone who was not at TGI would still be able to use this curriculum.  And if I’ve set this document up correctly in Google Docs, it will re-publish as I update the file.

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I am very excited about using XNA to teach some programing and game development.  And if you read my previous post, you can see I’ve got one student working on this project. I think it is exciting, but I keep running into roadblocks. I believe at this point that most of the problems are coming from either limited student rights on the lab computers (this is controlled by the district) or by the use of Deep Freeze on the computers.

I’m not sure what direction to turn.  I think the use of XNA would be a huge enrollment draw to Computer Science.  Anyone out there using it in the classroom, with limitations from their district or site techs?  Anyone know how to get past these problems?

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