Game building

I coming to the conclusion that ‘learners as game builders’ is a better model for game-based learning that ‘learners as game consumers’, and a couple of cool game-building tools have recently come to my attention.

The first is Game Maker. It’s a free (or $25 for the Pro version) development kit designed for making all sorts of games. I’ve not had as long as I’d have liked to play with it but it seems pretty intuitive, easy to get starter, and you don’t need a programming background (though I’m sure it helps). I can also recommend Jake Habgood’s The Game Maker’s Apprentice as a good starting point.

The second is the VASSAL Game Engine (thanks to Ian Smith for pointing this out to me), a free game development tool for building online adaptations of board and card games. I haven’t played with it yet (recognising a huge potential time sink when I see one) but I like the look of it.


  1. Daniel Livingstone

    I think I agree with you. The other environments/languages that seem popular are Scratch and Alice. Scratch especially works well for younger children.

  2. Scott Hewitt

    Agreed. We work with 2 computer game art degree course. We set up a develop a game in a day session using Thinking Worlds. The one day session working in groups with a development tool was a much more effective session than 8 lectures over 2 months. Fast based, interesting and testing their own skills with the tool. It also really does test ‘transferable skills’, can I move the skills that I’ve learnt on software X to software Y.

    This type of software is also much better for fast prototype and learning.

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