Apprentice Badge Lesson

At the end of this lesson students will be able to:
Gamestar Episodes related to this lesson:          
Explore the elements of game design and practice giving and receiving feedback on games. The Apprentice Badge (found in the Workshop)

What's on for today:

Are your students ready to identify as game design apprentices?  

Earning the Apprentice Badge in Gamestar Mechanic shows the world that you are committed to learning and practicing the art of game design! While earning this badge is something that Gamestar players can do by themselves, taking your class through the badge together can be a fun and effective learning experience.

To get the badge, your class will have to complete 7 requirements:
1. Completing the first Gamestar Quest
2. Commenting on the Quest
3. Fixing broken games
4. Reviewing a game
5. Designing a game as a gift for someone
6. Collecting feedback
7. Iterating on your gift game according to feedback

These requirements are part of a mini course that students can find by logging into Gamestar Mechanic, going to the Workshop, and clicking on Apprentice Badge in the upper left side of the screen.

Once they finish the requirements, they will submit Requirement #7 to the Gamestar team.  The team will look through their work and award the badge!  To pick up the badge, students move on to the final requirement.

What you need:

-Students with Gamestar Mechanic accounts

Pacing:

-1-2 hours, could be stretched over 2 class periods
Lesson

Warm Up

Start about by discussing with students: “What is an apprentice?”

Apprentices are learners. An apprentice learns by doing. Apprentices also carefully observes how the masters do it. They seek guidance and feedback from masters to help improve their own skills.

Explain to your students that Gamestar Mechanic has an Apprentice Badge that, when earned, shows you are ready to call yourself a game design apprentice.  This badge is portable (part of Mozilla’s OpenBadge movement), you can now show your commitment to others in the Gamestar Mechanic community, AND to fellow designers around the world.


Play

1. Ask your students to go to the Apprentice Badge in their Workshop.  Tell them that they will start by going through the first 3 Requirements before you stop as a class to discuss.

If they haven’t already played through the first Quest (Addison Joins the League), they should do so to complete Requirement 1.

2. Once students have completed requirements 1-3, stop them so you can have a short class discussion.  The questions in requirement 2 will help them think about what they learned in the Gamestar Quest:

  • What are the 5 elements of game systems? (check out Jhansi’s teachings in Episode 3 Intro)
    • Answer: Space, Components, Mechanics, Goals, Rules
  • A Designer can start building a new game with any of the elements. Describe which element you like to start with. Why?
    • An example answer could be: I like to start with the mechanics of a game.  I figure out whether the game will be about racing, jumping, exploring, etc. before I do anything else.  This will keep my game focused.
  • Many designers like to make their games hard with many enemies, which means many components. Describe how you could change other elements of a difficult game with many enemies in order to make it more balanced.
    • An example answer could be: In a game with too many enemies, I’d change the space of the game, separating the enemies by walls and chambers.  That way the player doesn’t have to take on all the enemies at once.


3. Before you move onto requirement 4, put students in pairs.  This requirement is all about giving feedback on a game.  Sometimes it’s easier to give feedback when you have someone else to brainstorm with.  Have each pair choose a game from requirement 4 that they will review.  They should play the game together and then answer the questions together.  They can each use the same responses in their own accounts.  If you have time, pairs can share their responses with the class.

4. For requirement 5, students have to make a game that is a gift.  Ask them to make the gift game for their partner from the previous exercise.  They might want to interview their partner about what kinds of games they like.  

5.  In requirement 6, partners will help each other to fill in the questions by giving each other feedback on their gift game.  They should play the gift game and talk about something they liked, something they didn’t like or were frustrated by, and something they would change.

6.  Now students are ready to make changes to their gift games in requirement 7.  Give students time to iterate on their games, editing according to the feedback they got from their partner.  


Circle Up

At this point, students will submit requirement 7, thereby submitting all their work for the Apprentice Badge.  If they want to make changes to any requirement, they should do so before submitting requirement 7.   A team of mentor designers will review the students’ work and give them the badge.  Students will get a message in their workshop when a mentor looks at their work.  Usually this takes about 1 week.

Ask students about the process of earning the Apprentice Badge.  Do they feel like they demonstrated their ability to be game design apprentices?  Can they explain in their own words what it means to be an apprentice?  What was their favorite requirement? What about their least favorite?


How did it go?

Were students able to successfully complete the requirements for the badge?

Were students able to describe the process of becoming a game design apprentice and what it means to them?

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