7.3 Worlds of Scrolling Spaces

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
Changing the properties of a game space can result in spaces that impart a unique feeling, setting, or experience. How can level parameters be used to model familiar or unusual environments from the real world? Quest - Addison Joins the League:

    A Real Hero, Episode 5 Build     1

Scrolling Spaces

What's on for today:

Using real world spaces as points of reference, students will explore ways of modeling the features of these spaces within Gamestar Mechanic. Scrolling parameters and gravity are emphasized throughout.

What you need:

-One copy of “Sketch worksheet” per student
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Sketch worksheet
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Warm Up - 5 minutes
Design - 20 minutes
Circle Up - 5 minutes
Design - 20 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - 20 minutes
Discuss - 10 minutes


Warm Up
5 minutes

1. Have your class brainstorm a list of real world objects or spaces that they identify as being horizontal, vertical, or both. For example, a river or a highway may be perceived as a horizontal space, whereas a skyscraper or a volcano may be perceived as vertical. Some objects like a rocket ship, can be perceived as both, depending on how you imagine it: ready to launch (vertical) or gliding through space (horizontal).

20 minutes

1. Based on the list you came up with your students select one horizontal space and one vertical space to sketch out on the attached worksheets. Alternately, students may choose one space
to sketch out in a horizontal and vertical fashion. Start each student off with three worksheets for each space.

2. Once they have completed sketching out the spaces tell them to first create games with a horizontal space in Gamestar Mechanic.

Circle Up
5 minutes

Encourage the class to present their sketches and the game they’ve created. As they are presenting encourage them to think of the following questions:

    What spaces did you choose from the list the class developed?

    How did your horizontal scrolling space change from that shown in your sketch?

    Describe the properties of the game space: consider the perspective, size of the space and            gravity conditions.

    How did gravity play a role in the creation of the game play?

20 minutes

Return to Gamestar Mechanic to work on a set of vertical scrolling games. Students can draw ideas from the list they co-created earlier, or come up with ideas of their own.

Playtest and Iterate

20 minutes

1. Instruct your class to playtest their games with each other.

2. Before playtesting have students identify three specific things they want their playtesters to give them feedback on. These might include:

    The design of the game space
    The challenge of the game
    The pacing of the game
    The story of the game
    The visual design of the game

3. Give students the opportunity to change their games based on the feedback they received.

10 minutes

1. Have your class reflect on the activity by posting to their blog or playtest notebook. Some of the questions they may want to consider are:

    What horizontal and vertical game spaces did you chose?

    How did your Gamestar Mechanic game space change from that depicted in your sketches?

    How did the play of the game change from horizontal scrolling to vertical scrolling?

    How did gravity play a role in the creation of the game play?

    Is one space more fun to play in than the other? Why do you think this is the case?

2. Finish the class by having a games festival, where everyone plays each other’s games.

How did it go?

Did students show fluency with the use of scrolling parameters (Width, Height, Gravity)?

To what extent were they able to translate real world models of space into Gamestar Mechanic ones?

How much did they work back and forth between their sketches and the implementation of the sketch as a digital game?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:13 AM