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Teaching a workshop on Flash. Please help!

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Hello, My name is Gordon Gavin and I am teaching a class on Game Design to 11-13 year olds this summer. Here is the description of the workshop from the brochure:
Quote:
Animated Game Design June 26–30 | 9 AM–12 PM Ever feel like designing your own computer game? Learn how to create basic animations using Macromedia Flash, and explore all the elements involved in creating different types of interactive games. Artist ---- shows you storyboarding, characters, level creation, and programming to help you create your very own 2D action game!
The original artist who was going to lead the workshop canceled, so I am taking over for him. My huge concerns are what kind of content can students create, and feel like they were successful in 15 hours? This includes time for instruction of basic principles of game design, Flash interface, manipulating objects, and basic coding techniques in addition to actual independent work time. I am an Art Educator first, and design/mod games as a serious hobby. My concern as an educator is setting up the students to succeed. Can the promises stated on the flyer be delivered? Right now I am thinking of making a basic “action” game in Flash, and then teach the students how to make their own game assets and import them into my template. What KIND of game would be best, I’m not sure yet. Sidescroller? Maze? If anyone has more expertise about what can/can’t be done or any suggestions and ideas of your own, please contact me in this thread. If you know of any books or other resources that would also be a great help. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Gordon Gavin

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What sort of prior experience in programming (i.e. using Flash) is expected of those enrolled in the course? Judging by the age, I'm assuming each of the students will have at most 1 year of solid game programming/designing experience while some may have none at all.

If they don't have a lot of experience, trying to show them how to build an action game may get a bit too overwhelming. Something simpler like a clone of Pong, Tetris, Pacman, or as you suggested, a maze program (done in 2D) I think would be something more manageable.

With 15 hours (total?) I'd think the programming concepts behind Pong could be taught and built from the ground up for a certainty, as well as the maze program (but not necessarily both; would be cutting it close), then maybe Tetris or Pacman could be done as a class assignment.

I'm not sure, though, because I don't know if you're going to give homework assignments or what sort of span (in days) this course will run for. Give a few more details like that and I'll get back to you.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Well when it comes to kids, graphics made BY THEM do not matter. They see it as the most amazing peice of artwork ever. I would say to feel more accomplished you would have to make them do a minor RPG like game.

Features should include...


When [button] is hit, do [this]

Walk Left, right, up, down.

Scroll screen

Hit A Creature



That would basically be it, with that even people who arent in that age group would be amazed at what they did.

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Since this is a relatively short camp, I highly recommend doing something easy, so they can walk away with a completed project.

I've done similar camps here in AZ, working with foster kids, and my biggest challenge was keeping them interested. If they didn't understand it, and didn't see results right away, they were ready to do something else.

Will the students be working in groups? Or going solo?

Quote:
Right now I am thinking of making a basic “action” game in Flash, and then teach the students how to make their own game assets and import them into my template.


This is an excellent idea. Maybe try to create a single screen shooter (shooting nerf balls or something), or a simple puzzle game. You could divide the class up into halves; the first half could be an instructor led tutorial, then you could turn them loose to create their own game, under your supervision of course.

Whatever you decide, good luck with the workshop! Working with kids is great. :)

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