Developing an online game provides a useful context for students to apply and develop the problem-solving processes so they can create a digital solution, namely a digital game. This would involve defining the target audience for the game and their needs, designing the rules/actions and the appearance of the game (interface design). The ‘rules’ are written as an algorithm that include decisions, options and ways that the users input instructions. This addresses what data is needed for the game and what features the game must perform (functional requirements). Students use a programming language to create the digital solution (a game) and then judge if their solution meets the intended requirements. A potential extension when creating the digital solution is to connect an input device such as a Makey Makey board to create a game controller.
Flow of Activities
Game design provides an opportunity to analyse existing games and replicate or build on their functionality and game play to create a new digital game. It involves finding out exactly what the users want in a game – what the game should be achieving.
A key stage in this process is defining the problem and identifying the functional requirements and any data needed.
Game control is an important consideration in design. How the user interacts with the game can have a bearing on the overall enjoyment and game play. The use of arrow keys is often incorporated in game play; for example, arrow keys can be used to move an avatar or character within the game.
Generating and designing is about understanding the audience and then determining how the solution will work and what it will look like (appearance and functionality). It is important that the game meets the purpose identified and is suitable for the age and interest of the people most likely to play the game.
Generating is about considering alternative ways that the solution could be solved. This has close links to the Critical and Creative Thinking general capability, which requires students to engage in the process of ideation.
A visual programming language enables students to sequence commands (displayed as blocks) to create a program. The students’ use of a programming language should allow users of the game to make choices/decisions (branching) and the instructions should include repetition until particular conditions are met such as guessing the correct number.
An important stage of the problem-solving process is for students to evaluate their solution. A comparison can be made of the original design and the final solution. Did it meet the intended purpose? Did it meet the user’s needs? Evaluating at this level also includes considering the sustainability of the solution and of existing solutions, using criteria such as the cost and resource demands of the solutions.