If you are working through this course on your own, you can go ahead and skip this lesson. For teachers who are interested in using this material in the classroom, this section will cover some ways to work through the materials, tips for implementation in the classroom, and will include lesson plans for all five lessons.
Why dot big bang
Dot big bang is a creation platform that will allow students to do every part of building unique games that are shareable as a multiplayer experience with their peers. Game development can be very rewarding when it can be shared with anyone all over the world, and work is shared in the cloud so that students can continue their work from anywhere. Best of all, dot big bang runs entirely in the browser, so students do not need to download anything to access their work, and the games and game editing can be done on any machine with internet access.
The material in this course is designed to be completed in seven or eight 45-minute sessions. Depending on how long you have for students to work at a time, and how often your class meets, it may take longer to give students enough time to get re-acquainted with their in-progress projects. Each lesson plan includes an extension exercise for students who finish early to continue building, researching, and experimenting with game development.
How this Course is Designed
The course is designed to allow students to get hands-on experience with the tools and skills through short steps that ask them to directly build, type, and test the game themselves. It can be self-paced to allow students to work through material on their own, and has many opportunities to continue to apply skills to make more art and code and build a unique, customized game experience.
While this course can be taken individually, there is also an opportunity for students to work in pairs. If they each have access to a separate machine, one student can be in charge of reading the instructions and describing a solution while another implements it, or students can work together at the same machine, with one typing, and the other one guiding the solution. Beyond that, dot big bang allows multiplayer editing, so students can work on separate computers in the same space. This can be tricky as the only the user who created the game can save the work, but especially in the beginning experimentation phases this can be a great way to allow students to enjoy the freedom and power of game development!
- Use Google Chrome if possible. Other browsers tend to be much slower, but will all work to run dot big bang. The sections showing students how to debug their work assume you are using Chrome and its available Dev Tools window.
- Test Out Dev Tools. Some schools have blocked the use of these tools in Chrome. Press Ctrl + Shift + I or F12 to make sure it opens on your students’ machines. You may need to discuss unblocking it with your school’s director of technology.
- Encourage students to save often! We do not have automatic saving, so saves must be done manually.
- Follow crazy ideas! Students often have very ambitious game designs, and while all of these may not be possible, building the start of their dream game will give them an experience to enjoy and reference for years of game development to come.
- Encourage students to make liberal use of all the available free assets and resources that are part of the cooperative culture of dot big bang. Using 3D models, trying to copy game designs, and borrowing from shared scripts are all part of professional game development
- Use Window Snapping. Most operating systems will allow you to split the screen into two side-by-side application windows by dragging windows to the left and right edges of the screen. If you separate the tab with the lesson content into its own Chrome window, you can read it alongside another window with the actual game or voxel object project. Encouraging students to find a setup that they feel comfortable with will maximize their productivity in the end