10.5 Using Damage Blocks

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
The parameter setting of a damage block is meaningful only in relationship to the health of the avatar sprite. What are ways to use damage blocks to create unique challenges?

How do designers balance the relationship between a damage block and an avatar sprite?
Quest - Addison Joins the Rogue:

Spiked Tunnel, Episode 1 Mission 2

Low Gravity, High Pressure, Episode 3 Build 1

What's on for today:

Blocks with adjustable parameters can be added to games to create unique and variable kinds of challenges. Students will explore this concept through the design of a game with four levels where the number of damage blocks increases to make it progressively harder.

What you need:

-Several copies of “example unbalanced health and damage relationship” to pass around
-Several copies of “example balanced health and damage relationship”
-One copy of “Reflection worksheet” per student
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Reflection worksheet
-example unbalanced health and damage relationship
-example balanced health and damage relationship
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Play - 10 minutes
Discuss - 10 minutes
Design - 20 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - 20 minutes
Reflect - 10 minutes

10 minutes

1. Choose or create a Gamestar Mechanic game for your class to play that highlights the use of damage blocks. Choose games that make clear the relationship between the strength and
number of the damage blocks and the health of the avatar. Sometimes it can be illuminating to create a game where this relationship is way out of balance.

2. If you are having trouble choosing a game or creating one of your own, refer to the recom- mended games for this activity.

10 minutes

1. Begin a conversation with your class about the game(s) that they played. Focus on the con- cept of how the damage blocks add another level of challenge to the game.

2. Discuss the visual effect of damage blocks on the game space and how they can make a game look hard or scary.

3. If your class is having difficulty with this concept use the following questions to help them out:
How are damage blocks used in the game?

Was your avatar weak or strong compared to the setting of the damage blocks?

Did the game include other items to counter the effects of the damage blocks?

How did the damage blocks affect how your avatar moved through the game space?

20 minutes

1. Challenge you class to design a Gamestar Mechanic game with four levels, where the number of damage blocks increases each level to make the game progressively harder.

2. Students may reconstruct and modify the same game space each time or create four unique games spaces.

3. Emphasize to students that they may vary the number and placement of damage blocks or change how much health their avatar has in relationship to the strength of the blocks.

Playtest and Iterate

20 minutes

1. Instruct your class to playtest their games with each other.

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

3. If time allows, have them refine their designs based on feedback.

10 minutes

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.

Describe your design process as you moved from one designing level to the next.

How did you use the damage blocks and their parameters to vary play from level to level?

How did the levels balance degrees of challenge and fun?

What feedback did you receive from your playtesters?

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

How did it go?

Did students understand how to adjust damage blocks?

Did they explore different uses of damage blocks across a multi-level game?

Were they able to come up with ideas for ways of improving a game?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:26 AM