Video Game Creation
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Video Game Creation

by Cypress03 on Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:33 am

For my recent interview for a Tech Ed/STEM position I had to pitch some course ideas. I only had 12 hours to come up with everything and pitched a video game creation class and specifically said they kids could play their games on a device. Little did I know that what I pitched would be what I am teaching. Now I am looking at hardware, and see multiple options. Any suggestions?

Background Information:
Kids will be in 7th or 8th grade
I plan on using MakeCode Arcade
They possibly have little to no experience in coding
I also want to think ahead because future classes will be able to be more advanced once I've taught them for few years
Budget! I'm in an old woodshop class and only have iPads and Chromebooks so I'd like to get some other tech as well for the other classes

I see the PyBadge, EdgeBadge, and MeowBit.


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Re: Video Game Creation

by dastels on Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:07 am

I'd look at PyBadge and/or PyGamer.

Makecore Arcade sounds like a good choice for a very intro class.


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Re: Video Game Creation

by kevinjwalters on Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:29 pm

I'd second that. It was a while ago so perhaps some new stuff has appeared but I compared some of the physical devices in MakeCode Forum (Arcade): Favourite device.

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Re: Video Game Creation

by blnkjns on Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:53 am

I teach kids to make games, and I'm no fan of MakeCode Arcade. We use PyBadges, but not with MakeCode. I use them with much pleasure, love the hardware, but solely with ages 15-18 using MacOS/Windows and C++.
For the devices you have, I would definetely recommend to go for Scratch. It is a much more mature game-development tool, with a huge community, and nothing but brilliant examples.
Have a look at the sample section of both MakeCode Arcade and Scratch. It's a streetcart with 2 types of snacks compared to a French Hypermarket selling every type of food you can imagine.
Other benefits of Scratch: the object-approach is easier for kids, not limited to 16 colours, easier collision detection and movement control, better tools for music and sound. MakeCode is a bit easier to create tile-maps, but you will hit the limits of a having just a single "wall" flag very fast.
With 12-14 year old kids, I also love Pico-8, but that only runs on Mac/Windows. If you want to experiment with writing real code, you could try using Processing, I like that the graphics capabilities are much better and easier to use than say PyGame, and it runs great in the browser as well. Processing is easily followed up by Arduino stuff in higher years as the language is similar.
If you really want hardware AND MakeCode, my favourite is the Kitronik GameZip 64 with a micro:bit. We use this as well (again in C++), but it works very good in MakeCode too. My kids do the 8x8 pixel arcade challenge on that. Games that work well are frogger, racing, pac-man, snake, colums, invaders, pong/breakout, bomberman, but you can even make an open-world minicraft like game!

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Re: Video Game Creation

by Quaddam on Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:05 am

We love makecode arcade in our district and it has essentially replaced scratch across our schools. We use the pygamers from grade 3-10 and the games the kids come out with are amazing. We also love the fact that we can teach them how to tie into the hardware on the pygamers. We start with getting go then to control the on board neopixels (life bars, collectables etc) then gradually move into the other endors the pygamers has. We use this as a diving board into electronics as we get our high school students to build their own mini arcades that run make code and use circuit python. We used scratch for a long time but the Adafruit/ Majecode connibatiin makes it easy to transfer from easy to hard we actually start makecode in kindergarten on iPads, just no pygamers. We run game jams across our district with makecode and really it leaks into other areas such as microbits and mine craft as well. So from my perspective as a learning coordinator makecode trumps scratch for our students as it it an easily scalable tool across for our scope and sequence. Checkout our arcades https://mobile.twitter.com/opensourcelab20?lang=en

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