Written by Mo Qureshi, BSD Education
Extracurricular activities like technology camps benefit children by exposing them to skills beyond academics, allowing them to apply what they learn at school in a different context or environment, and developing them as well rounded young adults. They socialize and make new friends while exploring new areas of interest and broadening their perspectives.
Here we explore what real-world skills your child will learn if s/he enrolls for a game development camp.
Developing games is an intense, engaging, collaborative and multidisciplinary activity which takes the developer through stages of planning, designing, coding and testing.Creating a game really touches upon a broad range of abilities and interests from programming logic, to artistic design and narrative writing. It is rarely the case that one person will excel at all these things so a game development camp becomes a great opportunity to try something new and work as part of a team. This means budding gamers will spend a lot of time practising communication and collaboration! Here is a bit more detail on some of the ways we see campers honing their abilities:
- Imagine and plan: Developing games is a creative endeavor and the first thing your child will learn is to translate what s/he has in mind to paper, creating a storyboard. This first step of putting your imagination to paper helps to spot the gaps in the idea and in turn, solidifies the gameplay.
- Problem-solving: During the process of building the game, kids will encounter many problems like the code not working, not understanding some parts of the code, complexities of developing an algorithm, etc. They will have to think logically and creatively solve these problems, often brainstorming with others to come up with a solution that not only works but also pleases their users.
- Adapting to Feedback: The experience of the users is key to the success of the game. To ensure the game players will have a fun and engaging experience, kids will have to carefully plan the game experience, its rules, structure, levels, and score system. During this they will have to give the game to other users, observe them and take their feedback. Feedback comes with many different suggestions. Kids creating a game will need to consider the feedback they receive, and learn to exercise their judgement as to what will ultimately be a compromise on how they incorporate it into their final game. This is great preparation for their daily lives as adults and an excellent exercise in empathy.
- Communication and presentation: Every child needs to clearly present their game, how it works, how they built it and how they overcame challenges. Where kids have worked on their games as a team, they also get to plan their presentations and make sure that the contributions of the all members of the team are valued and recognised. This reinforces a lot of the lessons from school about collaboration and citizenship.
Learning to develop games is a wonderful technical, artistic and creative endeavour. There is no escaping the incredibly strong connection that young people have with games nowadays and the growing prominence of the gaming industry and its implications for their future careers. Most importantly however, attending a game development camp is a fantastic opportunity for children to deepen their passion by lifting the lid on how games are created to take their communication, collaboration, problem solving and empathy to a new level whilst making friends and having a great time.
If you have students that have attended game development tech camps, let us know and share what they have created. We would love to feature their creations in our future Newsletters.
To get started, check out this link to a great 2D runner game that was built by Matthew from Sha Tin College on BSD’s Online platform: https://app.bsd.education/share/4W4efS37/