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{ Coding Camp }

Developing a ‘thinking’ cycle

Creating a game is much like planning a story in literacy

Like a good story, scripts, characters, scenes and plot development are all an essential part of creating an engaging computer game. A successful plot will allow the player to immerse themselves in your chosen world and engage with the action. It doesn’t need to be a particularly long or complicated plot, just well thought out.

It is surprising how much practical knowledge your pupils will have about the world of computer games and it is an area that we don’t tap into enough. Most will be able to reel off any number of styles of games and their chosen platform. Try asking your class which keys you would use to control a character in a game and you will get an almost unanimous response: “ASWD!”

Over the next seven instalments we will consider the process of planning, developing, creating and reviewing our own computer game based on a chosen theme. Equally we could be thinking about how pupils could develop a digital story, or an interactive poster to explain a scientific or mathematical concept, using the same tools and process.

In developing the game we will draw on structured systems analysis and design (SSADM) methodology which is regularly used to develop video games and software. We will see how this relates to a computational thinking framework of algorithmic thinking, evaluation, decomposition, abstraction and generalisation (Selby and Woollard 2013).

Each instalment we will take you through the process of;

These are the processes you will take pupils through in your subsequent coding lessons, as they produce their own games, stories and interactive posters.

For demonstration purposes, we are going to take the theme of ‘myths and legends’ and create a hero game. This could support either a literacy or history topic.

Your homework

Decide on your chosen end product (game, story or interactive poster) and an appropriate theme (explorers, habitats, solar system, myths and legends, traditional stories or fables).

You will need to think about the basic storyline and the characters involved and also what action takes place. You should prepare this on a simple storyboard in advance.