8.7 Parameter Rules and Sprite Behavior

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
Parameters are a way of stylizing movement, in both digital and physical space.
Parameters limit movement and create relationships to other elements in the game.
How do the parameters of sprites work like rules? 

What differences exist between rules in a digital space and rules in a real world space?
Quest - Addison Joins the Rogue:

    Wrong Side of the Tracks,        Episode 1 Build 2

Acheron Castle

The Enemy Maze

Do Not Pass!

What's on for today:

Students will take on identities as game sprites in this lesson, modeling the behavior of their digital counterparts. Through a role-playing exercise students will experience how sprite parameters can be combined to create more complex rules of behavior.

What you need:

-A few copies of “Sample screenshot with combination of parameters” to pass around
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Sample screenshot with combination of parameters
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour

Warm Up - 20 minutes
Design - 20 minutes
Circle Up - 20 minutes
Reflect - If time allows

Warm Up
20 minutes

1. Assign each student one of the following movement rules, either using name tags or index cards:

    Walk back and forth.
    When you encounter another person reverse        your direction.

    Turn right when you encounter another object.

    Do not move at all, but if someone collides with     you, that person disappears from the board.

2. Have the students explore their assigned movement rule. Brainstorm which rules might be combined to form a more complex, interesting behavior. For example, “Jump, skip, or bounce + turn right when you encounter another object.” Explore multiple combinations.

3. Brainstorm new movement rules from Game- star Mechanic enemies that would enhance the existing combinations. Explore.

4. Settle on a final set of movement patterns.

20 minutes

1. Open Gamestar Mechanic and challenge the students to create a multi-level game using the final set of movement patterns from the previous exercise.

2. Playtest and iterate. Some variations:

    Create a multi-level game where each level is themed around a specific kind of movement                pattern.

    Create a multi-level game where the move- ment in each level grows increasingly complex.

    Create a game where movement is all about patterns.

    Create a game with waves, spirals and flows.

    Create a game that contains two opposite kinds of movement patterns.

Circle Up
20 minutes

1. Hold a games festival where students spend time playing each others games.

2. As a group come up with some top categories, such as “Most Patterned,” or “Top Wave,” or “Best Movement Flow.”

3. Have students nominate games and vote on the best in each category.

If time allows . . .

It can be useful to have students take screenshots or write down combinations of parameters they found especially compelling for future reference, in their blog or playtest notebook.

How did it go?

Did students understand sprite parameters as a type of rule?

Did they experience and discuss different kinds of movement patterns that can be modeled in Gamestar Mechanic?

Were they able to create interesting games based on movement ideas?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:18 AM