10.7 Designing with Doors and Keys

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
Puzzles can be created through the use of doors and keys.

Key parameters can be adjusted to vary the difficulty of the challenge.
How can doors and   
keys be used to design    interesting challenges?

How can you create doors and keys to create puzzle challenges?
Color Saga, Naviron DX Channel

What's on for today:

Games often use puzzles to create interesting challenges for players. In Gamestar, doors and keys, as well as matching blocks, can be used to create spatial puzzles. Through the design of a game about a treasure hunter students will learn how to use doors and keys to create puzzle-like challenges.

What you need:

-One copy of the “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student
-A few copies of “Screenshot of key parameters” to pass around
-A few copies of “Sample screenshots of games with doors and keys” to pass around

What's attached:

-Playtester feedback worksheet Screenshot of key parameters
-Sample screenshots of games with doors and keys


Total: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Warm Up - 10 minutes
Design - 30 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - 20 minutes
Circle Up - 20 minutes

Warm Up
10 minutes

1. Have your class imagine a setting where a treasure hunter (Indiana Jones, Laura Croft, etc.) would have an adventure, such as a castle, pyramid, or underground cavern. In order to claim the treasure, the treasure hunter has to unlock a number of doors. These doors only open when the treasure hunter has the right key. Some keys only open one door, but other keys are master keys that open several doors. Unfortunately, for the treasure hunter, the keys are hidden.

30 minutes

1. Ask your class to draw a treasure map based on the scenario you described where the game space includes a series of doors and keys.

2. Make sure the students mark which keys open which doors on their maps. This can be done through color-coding, text, or icons.

3. If students are struggling to come up with ideas, show them screenshots of games that include the use of doors and keys (samples included).

4. Once they have completed their treasure maps briefly review how to use key parameters for one-time or unlimited use.

5. Have students recreate their maps as game spaces in Gamestar Mechanic.

6. Challenge them to think about how best to use the game label, intro and outro screens to give players information or clues as to how to solve their puzzles.

7. Advanced students can explore the creation of their maps over multiple levels.

Playtest and Iterate
20 minutes

1. Have your class playtest their games with each other.

2. Before they start the playtest session, ask students to come up with three specific things they want their playtesters to give them feedback on (worksheet attached). This might include:

The design of the game space.
The degree of challenge.
The pacing of the game.
The story.
The visual design of their game.

3. Give students the opportunity to revise their games based on the feedback they receive.

Circle Up

20 minutes

1. Have the class present their games to each other.

2. When presenting encourage the students to discuss about the following:

    What is the story behind your treasure map?

    How did your digital game space differ from the one in your paper sketch?

    What were the challenges you faced moving from sketch to Gamestar Mechanic?

    What kinds of strategies do you think your player will use in trying to beat your game?

    Do you think there are places your players will get stuck or solve a challenge too easily? If so        how might you modify your game to address these issues?

3. If you’d like, collect the maps that the students have created and make an atlas. You can keep this atlas on hand for use in later sessions.

4. Encourage the students to create games out of other classmates maps if they are looking for a design challenge.

How did it go?

Were students able to create games using door and keys?

Were they able to create puzzle challenges?

Were they able to discuss specific design decisions they made to create challenge in their game?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:27 AM