9.5 Goals, Items, and Creating Challenge

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
The placement of items in the game space can increase or decrease the level of challenge for the player.

Items can be used to create choice points for players.
How can items be used to increase the abilities of an avatar?

How can items be used to create choice points for players?

How can items be used as a visual design element in a game?
Quest - Addison Joins the Rogue:

    Low Gravity, High Pressure,     Episode 3 Build 1

    The Ascent, Episode 3           Mission 1

What's on for today:

Items in a game can play various roles: create a win condition, support a game mechanic, increase the abilities of an avatar, or be part of the visual design of the space. The goal of this lesson is to help students explore the different uses of items in games.

What you need:

-One copy of the “Reflection worksheet” per student
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Reflection worksheet
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour

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

10 minutes

1. Choose or create a series of Gamestar Mechanic games for your class to play that highlight the use of item sprites.

2. If you are having trouble choosing a game or creating one of your own, refer to the recommended games for this activity. Pick games that highlight the following:

1. The use of items to increase the abilities of an avatar, as when a non-shooting avatar can pick up a blaster.

2. The use of items that force a choice in the player, as when a player must choose to pick up a coin and add to their treasure or pick up a health pack to increase their health.

3. The use of items as a visual element in a game, as when points are used to represent stars in a sky.

10 minutes

1. Begin a conversation with your class about the game(s) that they played. Focus on the concept of challenge of the game as it relates to the use of item sprites.

2. If your class is having difficulty with this concept use the following questions to help them out:

What were the goals of the games you played? How did the items in the game allow you to            meet those goals?

Were there cases where you had to choose whether or not to use an item? Give an ex- ample.

Were there items that increased or changed the abilities of your avatar?

Can you point to places where items were placed strategically in the game space to force the        player to make a choice?


20 minutes

1. Challenge the students to create a game where they use item sprites in as many different ways as they can think of.

Playtest and Iterate
20 minutes

1. Go through several rounds of playtesting, and allow students to refine their games. Their ultimate goal is to create a game that has the most varied and interesting uses of items.

If Time Allows . . .

Have your class reflect on the activity by posting to their blogs or sharing their ideas in class. Some reflection starters include:

Describe the game that you created. What roles did items play in your game?

What was the most interesting or weird use of item sprites you saw in class today?

What other kinds of games can you think of that use items in interesting ways?

What feedback did you receive from your playtesters?

How did you respond to the feedback in iterating your design?

How did it go?

Were students able to use items in various ways?

Were they able to make a distinction between items as active objects and items as visual elements?

Did they consider the types of system sprites to be included in relation to the items used? Point counters in the case of point items, for example.

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:23 AM