8.6 Understanding Enemy Movement

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
The parameters of an enemy sprite can be influenced by the game space they occupy. How might you adjust enemy parameters to perform in game spaces of different types?

What is the difference between simple and complex behaviors in enemy sprites?
Quest - Addison Joins the Rogue:

    Wrong Side of the Tracks        Episode 1 Build 2

A Midsummer's Nightmare

The Enemy Maze

What's on for today:

In this lesson students will practice creating different kinds of movement/mechanics by adjusting enemy sprite parameters (movement style, start direction, turn direction). They will be encouraged to consider how the qualities of the game space influence and determine the kinds of movement possible.

What you need:

-One copy “Movement theory worksheet” per student
-One copy “Movement patterns worksheet” per student
-One copy of “Presentation work- sheet” per student
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Movement theory worksheet
-Movement patterns worksheet
-Presentation worksheet
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Play - 10 minutes
Circle Up - 10 minutes
Design - 30 minutes
Circle Up - 20 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - If time allows

10 minutes

1. Choose a game or series of Gamestar Mechanic games for your class to play that highlight the different kinds of movement patterns of enemy sprites. Choose games that have both simple and complex movement patterns so that students can get a sense of how movements can be combined to create more complex patterns.

2. If you are having trouble choosing a game or creating one of your own, refer to the recommended games for this activity. Alternately, create a game that models the use of several enemy sprites with different kinds of movement or the same movement but with different parameter settings (For example, two enemies that reverse direction on collision, but one that moves quickly and one that moves slowly.)

Circle Up
10 minutes

1. Begin a conversation with your class about the game(s) they just played. Be sure to focus on the concept of movement and what implications it has on game play.

2. Choose one of the games and have the class theorize about the parameter settings for each enemy in the game, with a focus on movement style, start direction, and turn direction. Students can use the attached worksheet to document and share their theories.

3. If your class is having difficulty with this concept use the following questions to help them out:
How would you describe the movement of the enemy sprites?

    What kind of parameters would have created these types of movements?

    What happens when the enemy collides with an edge or another object? How could this                outcome be described in terms of movement?

4. Once the students have created and shared their theories open up the game editor and look at the parameters of the sprites in question. You may also need to look at the level parameters to showcase how the game space settings supported certain kinds of movements.

5. Make sure that each of your students under- stands how to use the sliders and radio buttons to adjust the enemy sprite’s parameters.

30 minutes

1. Provide your class with the “Movement patterns worksheet” for this activity.

2. Using the worksheet, challenge students to create an interesting group of movement patterns for a set of enemy sprites. They can draw out paths and changes in direction.

3. Once they have finished sketching out the paths on the worksheet, have them log into Gamestar Mechanic and create a game that brings the paths to life.

4. Encourage them to think about applying the same kind of movement pattern to multiple sprites, to see what kinds of predictable (or unpredictable!) patterns they can create.

5. Suggest that they explore several different kinds of movement paths in the same game.

Circle Up

20 minutes

1. Gather your class together and have them present their sketches and final games. Encourage students to make notes on their “Presentation worksheet” before presenting.

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

    Why did you choose a particular movement pattern? How did you decide where in the game        space the enemy was to be placed?

    Were you able to create complex movement out from the repetition of a simple path?

    What was challenging about translating your sketch into Gamestar Mechanic? Did you make        adjustments to your ideas once you started working on your game?

Playtest and Iterate
If Time Allows . . .

1. Invite the students to playtest their games with each other.

2. Have them make observations about interesting movement combinations that may have been created, and encourage them to open the sprite editor to find out how the paths were created.

3. If time remains, students can continue to refine their games, based on feedback, or add new levels to their game.

How did it go?

Were students able to create complex movement from the repetition of a simple path?

Did they make connections between the qualities of their game space and the movement patterns of the enemies?

Are they learning from the playtesting sessions, and making revisions to their games?

PREVIOUS                                                    NEXT
Jan 4, 2011, 8:18 AM