I think the design patterns developed by Joseph Bergin (Fourteen Pedagogical Patterns, is just one of numerous papers by Bergin) for an object oriented Computer Science course could be adapted to a course in Game Making.

What is a design pattern?

A design pattern systematically names, motivates, and explains a general design that addresses a recurring design problem in object-oriented systems. It describes the problem, the solution, when to apply the solution, and its consequences. It also gives implementation hints and examples. The solution is a general arrangement of objects and classes that solve the problem. The solution is customized and implemented to solve the problem in a particular context.
- http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?DesignPatterns

Note the richness (detailed elaboration) of a design pattern. They contain a lot of information, both conceptual and practical. I'd see the rich practical structure of design patterns as very useful in generating and guiding discussion. This could be facilitated through a wiki format. I've had a look at some of the design pattern websites and so far the Joseph Bergin papers seem to be the most useful and applicable to a secondary school teaching situation.

Would anyone else be interested in collaborating in a wiki which, starting from the Bergin paper, developed some design patterns for a Game Making course?

Here is my (brief, yet to be documented) argument for going down this path:
  1. Design pattern theory has excellent credentials
  2. Resources are available
  3. It provides a framework (scaffold) for teachers who want more structure in a game making course - and in turn for students completing such a course
  4. It's a step forward from the present ad-hoc approach
  5. Design patterns are accessible and helpful to students, it would not swamp them with irrelevant or inappropriate theory
  6. It could help facilitate a dialogue where alternative design tools could be compared and evaluated (eg. patterns, flowboards, Event Progress Diagrams, UML). What design tools are suitable / optimal / age appropriate for game development?
Here is a simple example (abbreviated from the Bergin Fourteen Pedagogical Patterns paper)
TEST TUBE (also known as: Try It and See)

Students can answer their own "What if ..." programming questions

Problem / Issue: Students often ask questions they could answer for themselves ... they need to learn to be effective in answering their own questions about programs.

Forces: Students can chew up a lot of time asking low level questions and can become frustrated if they don't receive answers quickly

Solution: Provide students with small programs and get them to use the computer to probe for the answers to "What happens if ..."

Special Resources: Student questions can be a good source of these sorts of exercises. The instructor can take a student question and turn it into an exercise.

Example instances:

The meaning of for loops can be explored in a sequence of exercises in which the initialisation, test and increment portions of the loop are varied.

When a while loop exits and when it does not can be explored.
( Bill Sep 16)


Some preliminary discussion on applying design patterns to games at the Edna forum, here. I will add some of my comments in this discussion to the wiki and perhaps ask others for permission. My current focus, however, is preparing for Cairns ACEC Conference (Bill Sep 16)