8.5 Enemy Health, Speed, Damage

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
Game designers balance the parameters of enemies in relation to the parameters of the avatar sprite. How do you balance the parameters of an enemy sprite to create a fun challenge?

How does a game designer know when the game is either too hard or too easy?
The Enemy Maze

A Midsummer's Nightmare

What's on for today:

Students will investigate the relationship between enemy sprite parameters and the level of challenge in a game. Through modification of the speed, health, and damage parameters of enemy sprites they will discover ways of balancing game play so that it is not too difficult or easy.

What you need:

-A few copies of the “Sample enemy parameter combos” to pass around
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Sample enemy parameter combos
-Presentation worksheet
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Play - 15 minutes
Discuss - 15 minutes
Design - 20 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - 10 minutes
Circle Up - 20 minutes


15 minutes

1. Choose a game or create a series of Gamestar Mechanic games for your class to play that high- light the speed, health, and damage parameters for enemy sprites. If you are having trouble choosing a game refer to the recommended games for this activity.

15 minutes

1. Begin a conversation with your class about the game(s) they played. Be sure to focus on the speed, health, and damage parameters as they relate to the avatar sprite.

2. Take time to open up the game editor and look at the parameters of the enemy and avatar sprites from the games played, during the conversation.

3. It may be helpful to make a diagram on the board that documents the parameters for the different sprites, and shows how the different parameters relate to each other. Use the sample diagram included here as a starting point.

4. If your class is having difficulty with this concept use the following questions to jumpstart the conversation:

    How strong were the enemies in the game? Were they faster than the avatar?

    How much health did the avatar have? How strong were the enemies? Did this seem like a good     balance between health and damage?

    Were there any enemies that seemed unbalanced, either too fast or too strong, and too easily        defeated the avatar?

    Were were ways for you to “power up” your avatar, to make it stronger or faster or more able        to defeat the enemies? Did you think it was important to have these kinds of power ups in the        game?
    If so, why?

5. Make sure that each of your students understands how to use the sliders to adjust the enemy sprite’s parameters.

20 minutes

1. Log into Gamestar Mechanic and challenge students to modify one of their games by making it easier or harder by adjusting the following enemy parameters:


Playtest and Iterate
10 minutes

1. Have the students spend time playtesting their games and giving feedback specifically about how well balanced the game is.

2. Encourage them to refer to the criteria they developed for what makes a game fun.

Circle Up

20 minutes

1. Gather your class together and have a final discussion about enemy parameters as they relate to challenge and the avatar sprite. Encourage students to make notes on their “Presentation worksheet” before presenting.

2. When presenting encourage the students think about the following questions:

    Was your goal to make the game easier or harder?

    How did the changes you made affect the game play?

    How did a change in parameters modify the relationship between the enemy and avatar sprite?

How did it go?

Were students able to modify enemy parameters in intentional ways?

Did they grasp the connection between enemy and sprite parameters, especially as they relate to health, speed and strength?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:18 AM