Duke TIP Summer 2010: Kid Coders

Links To Programming Sites
Storytelling Alice (designed for middle schoolers)
Link To GM7 and GM8 Tutorials & Lessons, Original Game EXE Files, & Platform Studio Lessons (these are ZIP files you will need to extract once downloaded to your computer)
Motionbox Folder With Student Videos Of Storytelling Alice Creations (this includes a creation by Mr. Yearout called Bird Brain)
Daily Activities
  • The Kid Coders started their week by diving into the 3D animation programming system called Storytelling Alice. We spent the morning learning the basics of how to add and manipulate objects within the programming environment, and took on the challenges of putting a set of code instructions together for the IceSkater character and starting an original creation with free choices of backgrounds and objects. During the afternoon we learned more about how to manipulate the placement of objects in the scene, working with camera view positions, and started work on the process of how to create multiple scenes and scene transitions for our creations.
  • We spent the morning learning about storyboarding and the structure of a storyline, often called a story arc. We found these elements exist even in very short works, such as the Pixar Short Films, which we enjoyed watching intermittently throughout the day! After discussing some of these story constuction issues, the rest of the morning and half of the afternoon was spent working on more elaborte original creative works. Please keep in mind that to watch these at home via a flash drive, you would have to download and install the Storytelling Alice program. The students did submit copies of their favorite works to me, and I will be working on making internet capable videos of those files during the rest of this week. The link to that online video file is up above in the Links To Programming Sites section. We ended the day by getting our first peek at our next programming endeavor, Game Maker.
  • On Wednesday, the Kid Coders continued learning how to use Game Maker. After finishing up our simple "training wheels" game of Click The Ball, we jumped into what took the rest of the day (or more), the creation of a maze style game. This game design extended our skills into the use of if-then statements, incorporation of sounds, and many different sprites, objects, rooms, events and actions. Also in the Links To Programming Sites section up above are links to the ZIP files of the GM7 and GM8 lessons and tutorials and their original game executable files we have used in class this week. The Platform Studio lessons, which we didn't get to use due to technical issues, is there as well. You will have to extract/unzip the package on your computer before you can use them of course. All Game Maker creations are for Windows computer only, no Mac or Linux - sorry!
  • During the morning and early afternoon, the Kid Coders put the finishing touches on their maze games that are based on our Game Maker 7 lessons. However, Game Maker version 8 is now the one available at yoyogames.com, so we spent the rest of our day in Game Maker 8. After working through the introductory GM8 tutorial, students were given the opportunity to choose from the beginner level tutorials and work on those at their own pace.
  • We spent the morning learning about how to do reviews of games, using the vast array of choices at yoyogames.com as our source. You can find their reviews at http://kidcoders.edublogs.org/2010/06/18/game-reviews-by-the-2010-kid-coders/ in the Comments section of that blog post. After working on two or three game reviews, we spent the rest of our day continuing with either tutorial work or creating original games in Game Maker 8. Finally, we spent some time right after lunch preparing to show parents examples of the work we have done over the course of this week. Remember the link for the videos students submitted is up at the top of this page, along with the link to all the lesson and tutorial materials and original game creations. Thanks for a great week, feel free to contact me if you have any questions (see the Welcome page here for my email and Facebook page), and have a great summer!