Although I was really pleased with what the students achieved in their Games Technology coursework it seems that the student’s weren’t very pleased to have to use Scratch. Some students found it limited what they wanted to do, some students found it a bit patronising. This was evident both in conversations I’ve had with students and in what the students had to say about the module. We take student feedback very seriously and any opportunity to improve a module is worth considering.

The students suggested GameMaker as an alternative which I did take a good look at, however one student sent me an email suggesting that Stencyl might be a better option.

After playing around with stencyl I really like it. It still has the drag on drop visual style programming interface that Scratch had, which some student commented has helped their understanding of basic programming a lot.

You can create code in Stencyl using a similar method to Scratch

Stencyl allows students to program in a manner similar to scratch, which some students commented had helped them understand their C# programming better.

It also forces students to consider things in a more object oriented way, which should help with the more complicated C# topics that they face in the second semester. In stencyl you create Actors, which can have a set of events associated with them, like OnCreate or OnUpdate. You can also create behaviours which can be assigned to a number of Actors. Behaviours can also include functionality for a number of events.

Stencyl produces flash games – this one is the result of the second tutorial

The product of Stencyl is a flash game. I like this because it means that I can publish their work online and ask them to mark each other. The idea is that this will create feelings of pride and of competition, and inspire students to do more. Also, by considering what other peoples work is worth students are able to reflect on their own work. Assessing the quality of someone else’s work is a good way to gauge your own work.

Thanks to the student who suggested Stencyl, and also to the students who were kind enough to run through the tutorial for me.

Stencyl is available from http://www.stencyl.com/

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