This Saturday, I had the honor of serving as a judge at Ventura County’s first annual Skoolcade competition, hosted by Rio Vista Middle School! My fellow judges were an incredible bunch of teachers and industry professionals, the event got great press, but most of all the students wow-ed me with their coding prowess and got me thinking about some ideas for teaching game design in my classes next year.
Below, find links and resources to get your own video game coding started, as well as some screencaps from the winning games.
At Skoolcade 2017, many of the elementary school and middle school entries were programmed in Scratch, a block-based programming language, including fan favorites like the 2-player button masher Soccer Physics, the uncommonly beautiful and retro space quest, and the tricky, Super Meat Boy-style platformer JUMP.
Some middle- and high-school contestants challenged themselves to use real game creation software, from Unity to the Unreal Engine to GameMaker Studio. Some students leveraged their existing coding experience in Java and C++, while others crammed tutorials and worked with flowcharts and art design.
Although it didn’t take home a trophy (this time), my favorite high school entrant was Stingray, a gorgeous and upbeat little game with bespoke 3D fish produced by a team of students from Ventura County’s Career Education Center. I hope to see a full version on Steam some day soon!
If you have favorite video game coding resources for students, share them in the comments! This time next year, I hope to be posting links to my own students’ games here.