Last term students got drawing with Krita, professional, open-source digital painting software. Over eight sessions they learned best practices for creating digital art and designed their own 2D graphics for a future video game.
A big part of knowing how to design a video game comes from understanding their history and looking at games already on the market. Many discussions were had while viewing art and levels from popular games such as Super Mario Brothers, Portal, and BattleBlock Theatre.
After looking at what has come before them, students came up with concepts for their own original games. Once they had an idea of the storyline and objective they sketched out what the first level could look like. This included deciding all the assets that would be needed for gameplay, such as obstacles, non-playable characters (NPCs), and loot. They then had to decide which objects needed to be individual assets and which could be a part of the background.
All the students agree one of the most difficult parts of learning Krita was remembering to use layers. They saw the value in it, as one student remarked:
It is definitely worth using layers if you want to delete a certain part of your characters without deleting the whole thing.
However, everyone said it was difficult to remember this when they were in the midst of their creative flow. With all things, practice makes perfect though, and half the class did say they used layers for their final assets.
Students left the class with a Dropbox folder full of assets that can be used as graphics in future Scratch or Python games.
[This class] gave you freedom. Sometimes at home you don’t have time to draw, this gave me time to draw, to think about what they were. I was working on another project while doing this and I designed some sprites and backgrounds for that project.
I like how it gave you freedom so it just made your brain think about ideas and just came up with whole new concepts.