Blindfold Racer: Scoring and the first few levels

The number of students participating the App Club each week varied from between one and ten. If ten showed up, I spent most of the time telling the kids to quiet down. If only one child showed up, I could work one-on-one with him or her, but we didn’t get a lot of divergent opinions. Five or six seemed to be the best at this stage of the game design.

With three students present, we created level 1: a straight road, and decided have the game tell game player if he hit the wall, and deduct points from his score when that happens. When he passed the finish line, the game will tell them they won, and say their score.

We built a chart showing how many wall hits, time to complete the road and what the score should be. We arbitrarily set the top score to be 20, and then just filled out the rest (for example, they get 10 points for hitting the wall 5 or less times, and finish in under 15 seconds).

The students wanted to start drawing out the road for higher levels. Each student drew a level, and the justified it to the other students. We decided that each level should be slightly more complex than the prior level, so level 2 was required a slight turn to the right, and level 3 needed a large turn to the right.

The game would tell you prior to each level what the level looked like; for example, level 4 would be “The road first turns to the right, then to the left”.

I asked them to come up with more levels, but some of the children kept drawing things on the pretend road that had nothing to do with a game that you cannot see (such as a lake and trees on the side of the road). One child drew a snake-like road, and we analyzed the road to determine how the driver would navigate it.

The students were getting accustomed to drawing roads, and how the game player would drive on it. One student suggested the game would be boring if its just one road after another, so why don’t we put some obstacles on it?

I told them that the obstacles would have to make interesting noises, otherwise the driver won’t know how to avoid it. They thought of a chicken, a tree. What sound does a tree make – he answered with the sound a leaf makes when hitting the ground. We rejected the tree. A moose, a ghost, a cow.

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