8.4 Understanding Health and Speed

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
Avatars can be designed to be both strong and vulnerable.
Strength and vulnerability are achieved through a balance of avatar and enemy parameters.
How do you create avatars with a balance of strength and weakness?

Why might it be interesting to create an avatar that is vulnerable or vice versa, nearly invincible?
Quest for the Golden Coin

Disappearing Maze

What's on for today:

Through an analysis of videogame heroes students will learn how to create games with varied game play. Collaboration with other students is a core feature of the lesson, as students are encouraged to explore the various strengths and weaknesses of game avatars.

What you need:

-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student
-Presentation worksheet, 1 per student

What's attached:

-Example showing speed and strength comparison of mythical characters
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Warm Up - 15 minutes
Design - 30 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - 15 minutes
Circle Up - 20 minutes

Warm Up
15 minutes

1. Have your class come up with a list of 8-10 heroes or main characters from videogames.

2. Ask the students to identify the mechanics these characters exhibit.

3. Next ask your students to compare these characters in regards to speed and strength (example included).

4. Encourage them to refer to the mechanics they identified and to think about speed and strength from a game play perspective,. For example, PacMan may be perceived to be fast because he can make sharp turns and evade the ghosts, but if a ghost touches him he dies instantly. While fast, he is very weak.

30 minutes

1. Have your students create a game in Gamestar Mechanic.

2. Once they have finished the game tell them to set the parameters of the avatar sprite to the lowest setting possible, basically erasing any parameters they may have set in designing their game.

3. Ask your class to switch places with another student, so that everyone is now sitting in front of someone else’s game.

4. Tell the students that they cannot change anything in the game they are modifying except the parameters of the avatar. Their goal is to create settings that make the avatar a good fit for the game. They should ask themselves if the game is balanced, based on the choices they
are making for the avatar.

5. Give the students time to experiment with different settings before going to the next step.

Playtest and Iterate
15 minutes

1. Have the students pair off and playtest each other’s revised games. Because this exercise is a group effort, encourage the pairs to work together to come to an agreement on how to improve each other’s games.

2. They should begin with an analysis of the avatar, and if necessary, can modify other aspects of the games. Their goal by the end of class is to have created a set of perfectly balanced games.

Circle Up
20 minutes

1. Have the groups present their games to the rest of the class.

2. When presenting encourage the students think about the following questions:
What was the concept for your game?

    How did you determine the best settings for the avatar sprite?

    How did you know when the game was perfectly balanced?

How did it go?

Were students able to create avatars that were strong yet vulnerable?

Were they able to balance sprite parameters in ways that led to complex game play?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:17 AM