Educational Software Thread, Gamemaker or Scratch - and for what age? in Technical; We're looking to do some simple/basic game making with our year 7 classes (and get that familiar with using simple ...
12th February 2009, 09:31 AM #1
Gamemaker or Scratch - and for what age?
We're looking to do some simple/basic game making with our year 7 classes (and get that familiar with using simple programming) and just wanted to gather some input on this. Does anyone use either gamemaker (yoyo games) or scratch (or both?) and could say whether these are suitable for year 7 students?
Scratch does seem to be alot easier to get familar with and use, whereas with gamemaker, it appears to be a steeper learning curve and the interface doesn't come across as being as "user friendly" as scratch. What are the thoughts on this? Do some schools use gamemaker with their year 7 classes without any problem, or is it just a little bit too difficult for students of that age?
Thanks to dgsmith from:
Richard_Finnigan (27th February 2009)
IDG Tech News
12th February 2009, 10:11 AM #2
In our school we use:
- Duck Game
- Hot Potatoes
- Game Maker
All can be Googled for download links and information.
As far as I know, all of these are freeware (for educational use) and are used to teach basic animation, game making etc..
If you need to know more details I will ask our head of ICT and he can maybe make a more specific recommendation for Y7.
Thanks to adhutton from:
tech_guy (27th February 2009)
12th February 2009, 10:12 AM #3
- Rep Power
We use Scratch and find it very accessible for pupils. I tend to teach them the basics, and begin with an animated story, once they have mastered that I show them the useful stuff (collision detection, timers, variables etc) I then use the tutorials at learnscratch.org - Home to show them the basics of making a simple game. These tutorials have the scripts attached so for differentiation I get lower abilities to modify a game.
Our Year 7s love it!
12th February 2009, 10:16 AM #4
The ICT department have just ditched game maker in favour of scratch. As to the reasons, I am not sure.
12th February 2009, 10:30 AM #5
We have been looking to implement Gamemaker but have found out that it is not free to use on the network. The costs involved to allow 2 IT suites access at the same time is £300 pounds.
Excerpt from received e-mail:
Pricing is based on 10 seat license packs. UK pricing is under review as we work internally in Euros, but haven't adjusted for recent sterling devaluation. Current Price is £50 for 10 licenses.
So beware it is free only for an individual to use at home.
@skunk: maybe this is the reason ;-)
27th February 2009, 10:39 AM #6
Gamemaker is excellent I use it with Year 8s and an afterschool club, its one of the few educational/child friendly applications that I know of that has a decent text book. "The Game Makers Handbook", its a welcome relief to be able to avoid the usual teacher's demos and to let the children figure it out from the book. Its good for them to learn how to deal with technical English.
Mediator by Matchware is another excellent drag and drop development tool.
I disagree with the educational reason d'etre for all of these drag and drop programming tools, as soon as you try to go beyond the basics the visual programming structures become overly complex and difficult to read, its far easier to do it in code and there is no substitute for teaching the children how to cope with code. As with any difficult learning objective the only place to begin is at the beginning so with Year 6 I use Excel and VBA to create simple puzzles and games and with Year 5 we do some Logo work.
2nd March 2009, 09:10 AM #7
You obviously have clear views about the complexity of programming languages which should be taught in schools. I noticed you mentioned you do this with your year 8 classes - is this because you feel yr7 would find the complexities of gamemaker (compared tp say scratch) hard to grasp (maybe from experience or assumption)? Is it the whole of year 8 or just the upper classes?
2nd March 2009, 09:42 AM #8
We use Scratch it is very good. If you want to be a bit more adventurous why not take a look at Platinum Arts Sandbox - Open Source Free 3D Video Game Maker & Game Design Creation Software/Tool 3d gaming for free.
2nd March 2009, 01:28 PM #9
Hi DgSmith, I use gamemaker with all of Year 8 and not Year 7 just because of the scheme of work that I have in place rather than any actual decision about its level of dfficulty.
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