FUNdamentals of Game Design Week 1

Week 1 of our new FUNdamentals of Game Design class is in the bag! Our instructors, Jacob (jacob@dreamquest.org) and Casey (casey@dreamquest.org) were delighted to see so many students excited to learn game development in Unity. Here’s a quick rundown of what we accomplished in week 1, and what students can look forward to in week 2.

Week 1 Wrap-Up

We kicked off our first week with introductions and class rules, followed by a video showing off what developers are creating in Unity as showcased at the 2015 GDC (Game Developers Conference). Following this, students paired up and began copying the necessary files they will be using throughout the duration of the course. Instructors spent time 1-0n-1 helping students learn file management strategies and installing Unity3D. Students who were able to get up and running quickly helped their partners get set up before playing around a bit in our MarbleSandbox scene.  Starting in week 2 the students have some really fun things to learn about making an interesting game.

If parents or students have any questions or concerns about setting up Unity3D at home, don’t hesitate to contact one of the instructors and they’ll be glad to help!

Important Notice About a New Version of Unity

Unity has very recently released a new version of their software, 5.3.2. The installation files provided to the kids on the first day of class are for the previous version, 5.3.1f1. We don’t foresee this causing any issues with the digital assets we’ll be using, but just to be safe, if you see a message asking if you’d like to upgrade Unity to the newest version, we recommend selecting ‘no’ and waiting until the class is finished before upgrading. We’d like to keep as many students running the same version as possible so that there will be no issues with assets not working with the other version.

If your student already has the new version or has upgraded, don’t worry! Again, we don’t believe it will be an issue since it was a minor update, and if it ends up being an issue we will address it on a case-by-case basis to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Class Preparation

Our time in class is limited and we want to do as many fun and creative things as possible so, we appreciate your support reminding students to use the restroom prior to class if they need to! Instructors will of course make accommodations for students who need to use the facilities during class time, but if they can take care of their business beforehand then they will have that much more time to build in Unity during class time.

For those students bringing a personal laptop, it is extremely important going forward that they also bring a mouse! Working in Unity requires accuracy and speed, something a laptop’s trackpad cannot really provide, so using a mouse is ideal. Please make sure they bring one if possible. Instructors will have a loaner mouse or two on hand, but there may not be enough to go around if many students aren’t bringing their own.

After Class Pick-Up Time

Elementary School students will need their parents to sign them out at the end of each class. There will be a sign-out sheet available in the classroom. If students will be absent or will be walking or biking home, or if they have another engagement after our FUNdamentals class, and they will be going to by themselves, please contact the teachers or Lifelong Learning to let them know of that situation! It’s important to us that instructors and parents are on the same page regarding students arriving home safely.

If you have any questions about our sign-out policy, please don’t hesitate to ask. And, if our policy ends up changing regarding this, we will be sure to inform parents immediately and make a blog post here with any new information.

Week 2 Preview

Looking forward to next week, the students will be pairing up and learning about some of the basic and fundamental operations within Unity. We will make sure all our students are on the same page regarding how to extract the files they need, what files to open, where to find the assets they can play around with, and how to manipulate those objects in a Unity scene. The students will be working to make Bits of Awesome, by creating or changing something within our MarbleSandbox that impresses the class, or makes everybody laugh, or is just generally interesting! The instructors will choose some of these Bits of Awesome to distribute to everyone weekly with the new version of their class’s game, so the students can see each week how they’re impacting the game they’re working on. We’re all looking forward to seeing what the students can create to wow both the instructors and their friends!

Let’s all look forward to a fun and exciting week 2!