Video-games 101: Unleashing the potential of students and teachers to create fun stuff

An online course to teach video game programming skills
Rubén del Río
Pablo Garaizar

Since 2006, hundreds of learning resources about Scratch have been developed and shared through the Internet. Therefore, learning how to install Scratch, arrange the blocks, upload projects, or create simple animations is straightforward for younger scratchers. However, they often realize that knowing how to use the Scratch programming environment does not necessarily mean knowing how to develop video-games. Moreover, teachers are usually not aware that their Mathematics, Physics or Arts knowledge can easily turned into video-game programming skills. With the purpose of helping both students and teachers to develop their own video-games in mind, we have created an online course that will be open and freely available for everyone.

The course covers several kinds of video-games and provides step-by-step tutorials to build them from scratch. The first section explains typical videogame mechanisms (i.e., scores, stages, etc.). The second section shows how to build a simple “snake” game using Scratch 2.0 new features like cloning or saving high scores in the Cloud. Section 3 is aimed to create a “Pang” version where simple Physics knowledge is needed to define the movements of the balls. In the fourth section of the course, we use a “Pac-Man”-like game to introduce basic concepts of Artificial Intelligence. Section 5 is focused on horizontal scrolling games like “Super Mario”. Non-arcade video-games are explained in section 6 with a two-player “Checkers” videogame. Finally, miscellaneous demos and proof-of-concepts are shown in section 7.

We want to explain how to create completely finished games, not simple demos. Therefore, each section shows every aspect involved in their development (i.e., architecture, design, fx, coding). In summary, our aim is to create an environment where students and teachers could learn how to use their Mathematics, Physics, or Arts knowledge in a fun-oriented way.


Wizard Boy