I recently wrote about Mr. Boo’s interest in paper crafting. In that post, I mentioned Joe’s Plush Adventure, his new project for Project-Based Homeschooling. What he built that day was a test level for trying out some ideas (I thought that was pretty farsighted for a 10 year old!). This week he started on the actual game.
In PBH, we are encouraged to use journals, and one reason is to document our kids’ ideas so that we can return to them later if they are stuck or just keep track of them for future reference. The first thing Mr. Boo asked me to write down was a list of “What we learned from the test level”. Here is a list of his Do’s and Don’ts, as dictated to me:
- first worlds must be easy; our test level got harder as it went along
- cubes (and any other 3D objects) must be drawn first
- each level must be long (but not too long)
- longer levels need more checkpoints
- without a flag, the level is not completable (unless you have a boss, then you don’t need a flag)
- floating platforms don’t work!
- do not put too many box spawners
He also decided that his game would have multiple worlds, and each world would have multiple levels. Players begin at the World Hub (shown below) where there are portals to each world. World 2 and above are locked (as shown by the padlock symbols that cover the portals). World 0 is a tutorial level where the players can learn the moves of the game.
World 0 will have 4 levels: ground movement, air movement, combat, and extra moves. Each level will teach skills specific to that area. For example, the ground movement level will teach: move, jump, slide, and jumpslide, and that’s the level he made this time around.
The image above shows the spawn point (the purple circle with a lower case letter j, for Joe, the main character). The player moves toward the blue circle and sees the X, which prompts the player to press X (I should point out that the player will be holding a Playstation3 remote, although it is not hooked up to anything, obviously). This produces the Jump move, and the player uses that to get up on the cube (making this cube was fun: he wanted it twice the size of the one in the test level, which he made using graph paper, and he was able to calculate himself how many squares to use for each side of the cube – yay for relevant math learning!). The player practices the jump move again by jumping over the river. The player is then prompted to press the circle button, which produces the Slide move, and the player slides through the tunnel.
After that is a second tunnel with an obstacle at the end (shown above). By now the player knows that Circle = slide and X = jump so he should be able to figure out to slide through the tunnel and jump at the end to avoid the small cube. This is the Jumpslide maneouver. The blue circle is the portal back to the Level Hub, where the player can choose to move on to Level 2 (which will be about air movements) or return to the World Hub.
Here he is, demonstrating this level in action!
I’m blown away by how rich and detailed this project is, and how well thought out and organized his ideas are. Often times it seems he is just randomly throwing things together, but he has clearly put a lot of thought into this. Hooray for project-based learning!