Coding Activity: Mission No. 2 “How to Design a Game”

Think about your favorite games. Have you ever wondered about how they were made or why they look the way they do? Try this beginner activity to design a game for the first time.

Have you ever thought about how to design a game
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So what goes into making a game… people! Well, here at Kodable, we have 2 programmers, 1 game artist, 1 head of product, and 1 project manager working on the game you love to play. That’s 5 people who collaborate and work together to make one game come to life!

Many people are involved in making games
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Let’s start from the beginning, though. There are some basic steps that people go through in the process of making a game:

there are 5 steps to design a game: Imagine, design, create, test, improve
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  1. IMAGINE: What is your idea for the game?
  2. DESIGN: What will your game look like and how will it work?
  3. CREATE: Program your game 
  4. TEST: Have people try it out and give feedback
  5. IMPROVE: What is working? What could be better?

Don’t stop there – repeat this process to continue to improve your game over time.

There are a lot of steps and different jobs involved in creating a game. Today you will practice these steps as you design and test your own computer game in Kodable! There are two activities to choose from:


Beginner: How Are Games Made?

Design your own version of the asteroid blaster game! Use conditional statements to make observations as you change the game code.

First, open the game settings and take a look at the code. You can add to it, or change it!

For example, IF you apply the galaxy background, THEN the background will change colors.

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In programming, this if_, then_ relationship is called a conditional statement. For every design decision you make in this activity, you can use a conditional statement to observe the effects.

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Let’s look at another example, this time in the Asteroids file. If I select drop direction up, then the asteroids clear by moving up.

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In the Bins file, if number of bins is 5, then I have more asteroids to play with. 

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Use conditional statements like these to observe changes as you design the rest of your game. Be sure to SAVE your code by clicking the green check mark each time. You did it!

When you are done, test it out. Trade with a partner for them to play too and get feedback. You can ask them – is the game too hard or too easy? What is your favorite part about the game? What changes could make the game even better?

Finally, make changes based on feedback from your partner. For example, if your friend says the game was too hard, you will want to change the difficulty. If you choose hacker, then it will be hard. but If normal, then is will be easier!

Don’t forget – game designers are never done after just one try – building a game takes lots of testing and improvements. Just look at how Kodable has changed over the years! (show old versions of kodable interface) and we’re not done yet!

Now it’s your turn! Open Game Designer, create a game, and complete your mission. Use conditional statements to make observations about how your game changes based on your design decisions.  

If you’re ready for a more advanced challenge, try making a game using variables. How does your game change when you modify the values of variables. Find out below!


Advanced: How to design games with variables!

Design your own asteroid blaster game! Select variables and modify their values to customize the way your game looks and functions. 

First, open the game settings and take a look at the code. You can add to it, or change it! For example, if you choose to apply the galaxy background, then the background will change colors.

Use variables to change the design of your game
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This is because gameBackground is a programming VARIABLE. It can change, or vary, based on a value you assign to it. The value here is “Galaxy”. In fact, almost everything you see in game designer is a variable that you can control by modifying values. 

Let’s look at another example, this time in the Asteroids file. Asteroid drop direction is a variable. Right now the value assigned to it is “down”. I can change this value to “up” – now the asteroids clear by moving up. 

When you change string variables , you change the way your game looks
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In programming, we refer to variables with values that are words like “Up” or “Down” as STRING VARIABLES.

Some variables can have number values. In the Bins file, if I assign a value of 5 to the numberBins variable, then I have more asteroids to play with!

Changing integers is a great way to improve the design of a game by changing the way it is played
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Number of Bins has a number value, so we call it an INTEGER VARIABLE. 

Select more variables and assign or modify their values to design the rest of your game. Be sure to SAVE your code by clicking the green check mark each time.

When you are done, test it out. Trade with a partner for them to play too and get feedback. 

Finally, iterate on your game based on feedback from your partner. That’s what’s so great about variables… they can change! For example, if your friend says the game was too hard, you will want to change the difficulty. Find the gameDifficulty variable and modify it’s value to something easier. 

Don’t forget – game designers are never done after just one try – building a game takes lots of testing and improvements. Just look at how Kodable has changed over the years! and we’re not done yet!

Now it’s your turn! Open Game Designer, create a game, and complete your mission. , Remember, you are looking to design your own asteroid blaster game! You will select variables and modify their values to customize the way your game looks and functions.  

Good luck!

Ready for another Coding Mission? Follow all the Coding Missions here.

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Coding Activity: Mission No. 2 "How to Design a Game" by
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