8.3 Building around an Avatar

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
The overall performance of an avatar sprite is defined by its relationship to other elements within the game system, including enemy, block, item, and system sprites. What is a good balance between an avatar’s speed and health in relationship to other sprites in the game? Paradise Invaded

The Escape

What's on for today:

Avatar sprite parameters, while limited, can give rise to many different types of games. Students will explore the range of games possible by focusing on modification of the health and speed parameters of the game’s avatar.

What you need:

-One copy of “Avatar settings worksheet” per student
-One copy of “Presentation worksheet” per student
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Avatar settings worksheet
-Presentation worksheet
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Play - 20 minutes
Discuss - 20 minutes
Design - 20 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - 10 minutes
Circle Up - If time allows

20 minutes

1. Choose a series of Gamestar Mechanic games for your class to play that highlight different uses of avatar sprite parameters. If you are having trouble choosing a game or creating one of your own, refer to the recommended games for this activity.

20 minutes

1. Begin a conversation with your class about the game(s).

2. Focus on the concept of the balance between the speed and health parameters of the avatar sprite as they relate to other sprites in the game.

3. Take time to open up the game editor and look at the parameters of the sprite in question, as well as those of the enemies and any system sprites.

4. Make sure that each of your students under- stands how to use the sliders to adjust the avatar sprite’s parameters.

20 minutes

1. Assign each student or group of students a description from the following list, or make up de- scriptions of your own. Challenge them to create an avatar that best meets their assigned description.

    Slow but steady
    Fast without much bite
    Like a turtle with muscles
    Strong and quick
    Middle of the road
    Rooted to the earth
    Out for a stroll
    Ready to race
    Dazed and confused

2. Once students have decided on settings for their avatar, have them write down the settings (worksheet included), and trade their worksheets with another student in the class.

3. Challenge students to design a game with an avatar that meets the specifications drawn.

4. Encourage them to use the game labels and intro and outro screens to give clues to the player as to the qualities they can expect from the avatar.

Playtest and Iterate
10 minutes

1. Invite the students to playtest each other’s games and give feedback to the designers.

2. Based on feedback students can revise their games, but cannot change the parameters of their avatar.

Circle Up
If Time Allows . . .

1. Have your students present their games to the class. When presenting their games encourage the students to think about the following:

    Describe your game and the settings of your avatar. How did you decide on the concept for your     game?

    How did the avatar settings you received effect your design process?

    How did you think about the use, placement, and number of enemies in your game, based on        the settings of your avatar?

How did it go?

Were students able to arrive at an understanding of a good balance between an avatar’s speed and health in relationship to other sprites in the game?

Were they able to create games based on their assigned criteria?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:17 AM