This past week, June 26th, I had the pleasure in running a playground demonstration at ISTE 2019. For my playground, I showcased the video game that my students developed and I want to make it available to those who regularly visit the site.
Whateverland is a game developed by neurodiverse students at the Rebecca School. In this game, you (the player) play as Whateverman. Whateverman must traverse the confusing world in front of him by making it to the highest point of each level. However, Whateverman will be confronted with built in bugs and slow mechanics that sometimes make it seem like he may make it to the next platform.
Please keep in mind, this confusion represents the confusion that my students traverse on a daily basis. Trying to make sense of their own world, let alone the world we want them to be a part of. Yet, they never quit when playing the game themselves.
Please enjoy Whateverland.
Left/Right Keys - Move
Space Bar - Jump
R - Restart Game
Today we are jumping straight into game development and talking about Godot Engine which is a fully free open source game engine that is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems.
Godot is worth mentioning as it is the first program I used with students to build a 2D platform game. Godot, as a gaming engine, maintains a lot of flexibility as developers and educators have the choice of coding with GDScript, C#, C++, Python, and even has it's own drag and drop editor. The engine allows for multi platform editing, so teams who are working on different operating systems don't have to worry!
Another great thing to mention is that Godot engine offers free multi-platform deployment. Of course we still have to pay for our developer licenses on each platform, but it's great to know that this engines export feature is not hidden behind a paywall.
Looking to get started? Here are some valuable resources to help you along your journey!
Instructional Design Verdict
Disclaimer: At the end of every post, I will provide a verdict from the standpoint of an instructional designer within the field of special education. What I say is my opinion of using the software within a special ed classroom and may have different results within a typical class setting.
Godot engine is a great free engine, but lacks in certain areas. I found it somewhat difficult to get up and running at first. What I mean is that there are various flaws that need to be accounted for and it will be very hard to use this software within a discovery or problem based learning scenario. Instructions are not straight forward and many of the resources out there are outdated. This leaves the educator with having to provide maximum support and scaffolding which stops the video game exercise from being a problem based learning or discovery learning environment. The software is no doubt an incredible tool to use but, in an educational setting, it requires too much support from a facilitator.
If you've had a completely different experience or would like to share further information, please do so in the comments. Thanks for reading!