Description: Learn the basics of making HTML5 games using Akihabara, an open source HTML5 game framework for 2D, tile-based games. This class will run through the creation of a simple maze game that will play in any modern browser, as well as on iOS and Android devices. Attendees should have some programming experience; JavaScript/HTML5 knowledge is helpful, but not required.

Session Title: Operation Hire Me and The Contextual Inquiry Process in Educational Games

Description: Join educational technology game designer and writer Nathan Maton as he discusses the process of taking Operation Hire Me, an educational game teaching job hunting skills to early stage career seekers and learn about the tried and true contextual inquiry process to find how to modify the game already being played within your work. Half the time will be used to discuss how this process helped Operation Hire Me refine what is an extremely complex process, job hunting. The other half of the time will be a workshop in small groups where teachers, instructional designers and educational game designers can bring a project and join small groups to go through the process.  This is a process using materials from Tracy Fullerton and BJ Fogg.

Session Title: War, What is it Good For: Learning Game Design from Wargames and Conflict Simulations

Description: What can wargames (arguably the oldest form of games we have) teach, or do, that other game design movements—including serious games, independent games, newsgames, and art games—cannot? In this BootCamp session we will take a close look at the tradition of recreational wargaming inaugurated by Charles S. Roberts at Avalon Hill in the 1950s, capitalized on by SPI through the 1970s, and which still enjoys an audience today through publishers like GMT. Our concern will extend not just to war in the narrow, militaristic sense, but also to games which represent political, economic, and social conflict. Participants will be shown how to play several simple wargames, and asked to collaboratively think about how their basic designs tenets might be applied to other topics.

Session Title: Build your own practomimetic (ARG/RPG) course!

Description: In this bootcamp, members of the University of Connecticut practomime research group will help you develop a prototype of your own game-based course using the 1:1 mapping of play objective onto learning objective that they’ve applied in Operation LAPIS, their two-year game-based introductory Latin and Roman Culture curriculum. First we’ll explain the key mechanics of Operation LAPIS and show you how the ruleset aligns with the learning objectives–then we’ll let you go hands-on and develop your own modules (or even courses) where you’ll give your students the power to play the adventure of their own learning as the quest to save the world it truly is.

Session Title: Text-based Games with Inform 7

Description: This BootCamp will explore the use of Inform 7 for creating engaging and immersive text-based game experiences. The camp will focus on the features of the Inform 7 platform that differ from online technologies and visual based design programs used for similar purposes. The unique challenges and opportunities of developing solely text-based games will also be explored as participants generate concepts for their own text adventures and explore some existing possibilities.

Session Title: Space and Time: Intro to the Kinect SDK

Description: In this workshop, you’ll learn the fundamentals of the Kinect for Windows SDK. In particular, we’ll be looking at many of the ways the depth camera has been put to use in recent games, and how two key innovations of the platform, depth and skeleton tracking, leave a lot of room for playful exploration and challenging gameplay. The session will be accompanied by demo code and will focus on interesting data sources (Twitter and others) and interface design particular to gestural applications and games. No prerequisite knowledge at all is required to learn more about the Kinect and its design space, but some experience with C, C# or C++ would be necessary to develop with the platform, as well as a Kinect to experiment on. Please download and install the Kinect for Windows SDK at Microsoft Research’s web site before the workshop.

Session Title: Modding Civilization IV

Description:  In the Civilization games, the goal is to guide a civilization from 4000 BC to the modern era, making decisions about religion, technologies, diplomacy and resource management along the way.  We’ll be focusing on the game’s built-in modding tool that lets us change the map and variables in the game to create historical scenarios.   For the beginners, we’ll set up a scenario using the map tool, select our civilizations, create their cities, layout their units, and designate foreign relations.  For those comfortable with a bit of XML, I’ll show how to create your own civilizations, technologies, leaders and units. Please install Civilization IV before the workshop.

Session Title: “What’s Your Game Plan?”

Description: What does the lesson “Finding Citations,” the game ”Trivial Pursuit,” and the mechanic “Bluffing” all have in common? In this bootcamp brainstorm facilitated by members of the City University of New York (CUNY) Games Network, attendees are broken up into design teams whose job it is to enhance a traditional lesson with the mechanics of popular games in only twenty minutes. Whether you have to teach the rules of citation or the rule of conservation, there is usually a game plan that can help. This session provides a fun introduction to the principles of game-based learning and how to integrate them into your teaching. It also shows you that anyone who has designed a curriculum can also design a game!

Session Title: Narrative Puzzles

Description: ARGs, RPGs, educational games, and many more types of narrative-rich games often rely on puzzle-based modules. This workshop will move from a short panel on creating puzzle-ready game narratives (macro puzzle building) to a longer practical puzzle-building lab (micro puzzle-building). We will lead you through advice and practice as well as consider the following questions:
  • How do create a puzzle that’s fun to solve even after you’ve figured out its trick?
    • How do you incorporate narrative flavor into puzzles meaningfully, and how do you incorporate puzzles into narratives meaningfully?
  • How do you incorporate learning (e.g. STEM, historical thinking, or information literacy)?
  • How do you test a puzzle–and why should you test puzzles before using them?
    • What is running a puzzle with players or student players actually like?
  • How do you create metapuzzles?

This workshop is appropriate for anyone interested in puzzle-building, as well as anyone with specific interest in ARGs and/or educational games. The workshop will be led by members of the research team from the NSF-funded ARGs in the Service of Education and Design study.

Session Title: Teaching (with) Video Games

Description: Central to this workshop is a definition and demonstration of video game pedagogy, specifically the practices of close playing, play logs or “plogs,” and gaming as/for writing.  One of the central challenges in the use of any medium or technology in the classroom is developing critical approaches, different kinds of “literacy,” and careful integration.  It is not enough to assume that students are “digital natives” and always willing to think about or work with video games.  In other words, before we can take video games as serious objects of study, we need to develop ways to frame them, study them, and to seriously play them.

Session Title: Intro to Flash Game Development with Flixel

Description: Adobe’s Flash is still one of the most popular tools for making web-based games that can be played across a range of platforms. This BootCamp will cover the basics of 2D Flash game development using ActionScript 3 and the popular Flixel library. We’ll talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the platform, cover basic concepts, and walk through the creation of a simple action game. To get the most out of this session, you should have some previous experience with object-oriented programming.

Session Title: Making a Board Game

Description: While digital games can require a lot of time to build into a playable form, board and card games can be quickly created either to test a concept for a larger project or to stand on their own. Board games are already an important part of the history of humanities games, and many of the first learning games we encountered as kids still exist in this form. We’ll examine the principles of game design while building paper prototypes working with basic supplies to create working versions of our ideas. No experience with game design at all is required to leave with a completed game, so this is a great place for beginners to start.

Session Title: Writing and Games

Description: At first glance, teaching writing does not seem to have much to learn from games, but this BootCamp seeks to show that’s not the case. The session will focus on two areas of writing instruction, designing assignments and coaching writers. In terms of assignment design, we’ll look at what game design teaches us about building engagement and encouraging critical thinking. In the latter half of the session, we’ll look at what games show us about grading, teaching writing and research processes, and encouraging students to persist and deal with writer’s block, procrastination, and anxiety.

Session Title: GameMaker 8 Jumpstart

Description: GameMaker is a popular program for rapid production of digital games using drag and drop elements with minimal to no programming involved. It’s a great tool for building your first video game or for introducing students to game development. This two hour workshop will focus on essentials necessary to build a basic game in GameMaker. Prior experience in programming is not required! Please download the free GameMaker Lite and install it on your laptop before the session, and if possible complete the first tutorial to start getting familiar with the interface.