Since 2012, MacICT has partnered with PACE (Participation and Community Engagement) which is Macquarie’s way of connecting students with partner organisations to provide a mutually beneficial experience.
The Invasion of the Shadow Plague Project
Last year, a team of five third year IT students (Doug, Colin, Mitchell, Ryan and Martin) from Macquarie University’s COMP365 course built a new webhosting solution for MacICT’s ‘Invasion of the Shadow Plague‘ metagame project. This project began with a proof of concept trial in 2011 involving nearly 1000 Year 3 to Year 10 students. You can read about it here and here. We were happy with the initial results but quickly realised we would need a different hosting solution. With budget and staff cuts and the loss of technical support, a new platform is something that we would not have achieved without the team of MQ IT students. The team built us a fabulous new site using Django, a web framework for the Python programming language.
We were extremely happy with the end result and MacICT’s game design team consisting of Simon Hutchison, Anthony Fennell and myself have spent Term 1 updating the content for the site. We are hoping to test our new site with a couple of classes in Term 2 with a planned launch for Term 3, 2013. When launched, ‘The Invasion of the Shadow Plague’ will be an online course, situated in a narrative with a game layer that has students completing missions and earning badges. Through completing missions, students from Year 5 to Year 10 will learn how to design and build ‘good’ games.
The missions will have students:
- deconstructing games
- reviewing games
- designing games using MacICT’s ‘Good Game Design framework’ and incorporating elements of intuitive design
- building games using Kodu GameLab
- creating promotional and support materials for their finished game
- building community through playtesting and supporting other game designers and programmers
Good Game Design Web App project
This year, MacICT is fortunate to sponsor two teams of third year IT students who are completing ISYS355 and COMP355 at Macquarie University. These teams are creating to web apps to support MacICT’s Good Game Design workshops. These games are designed to be fun to play while reinforcing the basic principles of good game design covered in MacICT’s workshops and bootcamps. It is during these one day workshops, that students and teachers are first introduced to the basic principles of good game design. In order to reinforce these principles, we aim to give students and teachers access to the games via our website, once they are completed. The teams are busily designing the Web Apps so that they can be played on any platform, including mobile devices.
It has been a real pleasure to work on these projects with such enthusiastic and knowledgeable University students. This partnership has enabled MacICT to realise a couple of the ideas that we have buzzing around to support and enhance the learning opportunities MacICT provides for K- 12 students.