How to design your own computer game
Today, we’ll show you how to design your own computer game. We’ve shown you how to build many computer games already, e.g. Pacman and Dragon Castle, now it is time to invent your own. We can build all different types of digital projects with coding blocks such as Scratch: computer games, animations, and interactive artwork.
What makes a computer game different to an animation or interactive artwork? A computer game is interactive and requires the player or user to complete a goal. An animation is neither interactive nor goal-oriented. Interactive artwork can involve user input but it is not goal oriented. See table below for this summary.
Types of digital projects you can build with Scratch:
- Animations (not interactive)
- Artwork (interactive, no goal)
- Game (interactive, goal-oriented)
|Project type||Interactive||Goal based|
With this in mind, let’s show you how to design your own computer game.
We will look at 4 game elements:
- Enemy or obstacle
The player is represented by a character or an object in the game. Its movements and actions are controlled by the player. You can control the player sprite with mouse movements, mouse clicks, or key presses.
Example: The Pacman character is controlled by the player in the Pacman game, using arrow keys.
The player has to complete a task to win the game. A defined goal must be achieved, e.g. move the player sprite to a location or object, collect objects, or avoid objects for a time period.
Example: In Pacman, Pacman is required to collect as many dots/points as possible within the maze.
Enemy or obstacle
There may be enemy sprites or projectiles that must be avoided, otherwise it may result in losing points, abilities or even losing the game. Obstacles may also exist that hinder movement within the game space e.g. maze walls.
Example: In Pacman, are randomly moving ghosts in the maze which must be avoided. The maze configuration also adds to the difficulty of navigating the space.
Features add to the personality and complexity of the game e.g. gravity effects, timer, increasing difficulty e.g. speed, with increasing levels, multiple levels, multiple players, and dashboard with multiple player (and enemy) statistics such as points, health, and damage.
- In Pacman, multiple game levels may exist and be accessed upon collection of all the dots in the maze.
- Ghosts may experience increasing speed with increasing levels.
- Perhaps there may be an increasing number of ghosts as time passes.
- Two-player options may also be available.
There you have it, the recipe to design your own computer game. Get your free downloadable worksheet you can use in class with your students. It outlines these steps to allow your students to invent and create with their own imagination.
Share your creations with us. We’d love to hear from you.