I am currently working with Fact, on a Computer Game Design project with a group of young people at St Francis of Assisi School, Liverpool. The group have spent the past five weeks developing their creative programming skills using a variety of problem solving activities, and they have now started to create their final games.
These include a “Herd ‘Em Up” Zookeeper game called ‘Alpha Animals’, the “Empire building”, ‘McDonalds V’s Burger King’, and a host of other games that I could never have predicted when I gave them their design brief.
Working in small groups, the young people have been set the task of developing a simple computer game, in which their avatar is caught between two conflicting groups. This has given them the chance to develop the first person games that they are excited about, but also necessitates them to program the complex systems of intelligent agents, that make good games interesting and unpredictable.
I have encouraged the group to drag their faces away from the screens as much as possible, using Knex, paper and blu-tac to build tangible representations of code, movement based activities to represent the programming of group interactions, and paper and pens to create these fantastic game design system drawings, like the one above left , which became a mixture of game design document and eco-system diagram.