In 2020, the video games industry made more money than the film and TV industries combined. Unsurprisingly, this has made game development a highly coveted skill set – and one that younger generations can benefit from learning.
Even when it comes to teaching STEM in general, game development represents an easy and fun way to engage students with coding. As such, many teachers are looking for worthwhile resources in game development.
However, which resource provider is the best for game development lesson plans?
Read on to learn the best game development lesson plan resource providers, the top resource types and more!
What Is Game Development?
As the name suggests, game development is the long and detailed process of creating a video game. Whether the game is a high-priced console giant or a free mobile game, numerous elements go into development. Below are some of the everyday tasks involved in game development:
- The generation of concepts, including initial graphics, concept art, and more
- Designing the game’s core components like the game mechanics
- Building the elements of the game around the core mechanics. These can include graphics, animations, and the physics engine
- Game testing to ensure that there are no bugs before release. Game developers will also test the game after its release to keep a high-performance level.
Because there are so many elements to game development, STEM schools teach it to students to give them the basic and intermediate skills they need to pursue it in their academic and professional lives. Beyond this though, many schools simply like to use games as a medium to provide students with essential coding knowledge in general – which is now part of most curriculum standards.
This being said, many teachers are inexperienced in game development and struggle to teach it. Therefore, many teaching resource providers have come to the rescue to provide teachers with the resources they’ll need.
What Should Teachers And Schools Want In A Game Development Lesson Plan Resource?
Game development is vast and complex, so it can be challenging for a teacher to determine what makes a brilliant lesson plan resource for it.
To give you an excellent start to your research, we will detail three primary aspects to look for in a game development lesson plan resource.
They Should Stick To The Stated Difficulty Level
Difficulty levels are critical for a game development teaching resource provider, because they create a clear path for students to progress. If a game development lesson plan is entry-level but is too complex, it is not suitable for beginners and is not a helpful teaching resource – especially for students who have never coded in their life.
Likewise, though, you also don’t want the opposite. If a resource is intended for intermediate audiences but is too basic, it’s not going to go over well either.
They Should Have A Clear Structure And Follow A Curriculum
A game development lesson plan resource can’t be unfocused. If the teaching resource tries to teach too much to students, it won’t introduce any information to them effectively. Therefore, game development resources must have a clear focus to be as beneficial to students as possible.
To ensure that a game development teaching resource has a precise focus, a teaching resource provider should design itself around curriculum standards. Structuring around a curriculum standard can provide a direct focus for the teaching resource. A curriculum gives them objectives they need to complete to create a resource that follows it.
Additionally, the resource should simply have a stated objective of what it wants to teach. You don’t want a course that teachers ten different projects haphazardly versus one, very focused project.
They Should Show Students How Fun It Is To Make A Game
The final aspect teachers and schools should search for in a game development teaching resource is entertainment. Although game development is a skill, professional game developers are incredibly passionate and find it fun. Therefore, game development lesson plan resource providers should make the resources entertaining and informative.
They can do this by using interactive elements, including hands-on game development projects, to give students an idea of whether they like it or not. Additionally, students will find the content entertaining if it is more accessible. Once again, if the information is too complex, some students will find it too daunting and lose interest.
Which Game Development Lesson Plan Resources Are Best For Schools And Teachers?
Before showing you the best game development teaching resource providers, you need to know the resources a high-quality provider should have.
There are many lesson plan resource types for game development, but these are some of the best because they are full of content and are engaging for students (and save time for teachers).
Here are three of the best game development lesson plan resources and why they are excellent.
Entry-level Game Development Courses
Entry-level game development courses are the perfect way for a student and beginners to learn the basics of game development. These courses will usually include an overview of the main processes you will encounter during game development, including game design, scripting, and more.
These courses don’t have to go into massive detail on the individual process. All they need to do is present students with a clear outline of the essential functions they need to use to build a game. On top of this, though, entry-level game courses will focus more so on the tools used over advanced projects.
Lastly, a brilliant game development resource provider will include entry-level courses in several game development programming languages.
Zenva Schools is a shining example of a resource provider that does this; here are some of the entry-level courses Zenva Schools has for game development programming languages to reference for your research.
- Intro to Game Development with Unity: Students can learn all the essential tools on Unity’s game development system. They can also discover how to install projects on Unity, edit objects, create basic C# scripts, and more.
- Intro To VR with Unity: Students can learn how to set up a VR system using Unity. More specifically, they can learn how to create objects to interact with, develop movement, add particle effects, and more.
- Intro to Game Development with Godot: Students learn the basics of Godot while building the simplest of platformers. There’s a huge focus on Godot’s interface, its object/scene setup, adding scripts, and some very common game functionality.
Basic Game Projects
Once students complete an entry-level game development course, they will want to start something more interactive to learn how to use programming languages directly.
As such, the next step for students is usually to move on to projects. While these projects can be anything, they should focus on starting very simply. Small projects are usually best, as they balance making something fun while focusing on how scripting works in practice.
To use as an example again, Zenva Schools offers many interactive game development projects that are aimed at teaching students how to go from language or tool basics to actual application of those basics.
- Unity Mini-Projects: Students in this course build a handful of mini-games focused on bridging the gap between Unity the tool and C# the language. Students learn about applying basic principles needed for game development, including using loops and functions, essential game mechanics, building UIs, and so forth.
- Scratch Projects 3 – Beach Clean Up Game: For younger students, this course works off the popular Scratch tool and teaches the most fundamental basics of building a game. This includes how to create proper algorithms, detect user input, and establish rules that dictate when the player wins.
- Intermediate Python Project – Pygame Game: In this course, students explore the Pygame library and build a road-crossing game with Python. The course includes elements related to player movement, sprite manipulation, variable manipulation, and more.
Complete Game Projects
Once students master the basics, they’ll of course want to build more real-world types of projects. In other words, the kind of games they’re playing at home.
Now, these courses should still be kept fairly basic. Students are, after all, still beginners in the realm of game development. However, these resources should focus on building projects for real-world genres.
On top of this, you’ll want to make these resources scale in difficulty. As such, you want resources that focus a lot less on the introductory material and more on things like game mechanics, programming structures, and similar.
As an example again, Zenva Schools has several project-based courses like this that can be applied in various situations.
- Unity Project – 3D Platformer: A course that teaches students how to create their first 3D Platformer, including making levels, basic enemies, items, and more. Additionally, they learn how to make the camera follow the player and set up win and loss conditions.
- Unity VR Project – Rhythm Game: Students can use this project to create a basic rhythm game where the player slices blocks to win. To create the game, they can learn to develop interactive blocks, make animations, create hit detection markers, and more.
Which Game Development Teaching Resource Provider Offers The Best Package For Schools?
The final step to our game development teaching resource guide is showing you the best game development lesson plan resource providers in the current market.
We will explain what the resource providers focus on and their best features.
Here are the top game development teaching resource providers.
Udemy is massive online learning and teaching resource platform that focuses on a broad range of subjects. As you can imagine, one of these subjects includes game development.
Udemy attracts a wide variety of consumers largely due to its affordable pricing and comprehensive video lessons. It is also an open online course provider, meaning that the teaching resources on the site come from many different authors.
While the variety of Udemy is wide – featuring courses on popular tools like Unity and Unreal – consistency varies since anyone can make a course on Udemy. Additionally, the platform is aimed at individual consumers, so mileage will vary in classroom settings.
Brite is an online learning provider with a big collection of content – a lot of it centred around game development. It includes courses in languages and tool such as Scratch, Roblox, and Unity.
Where Brite stands out here is it also offers content on modding Minecraft with Java. With content from top third-party providers, Brite has a lot to offer. Beyond game development, Brite also offers content on web development as well, making it useful for multiple subjects.
However, it is worth noting Brite’s audience tends to skew younger – so something to keep in mind.
As mentioned several times in this article already, Zenva Schools is another great resource provider for game development. It largely features content for Unity – the most popular game engine – but also has other languages and tools covered as well.
Besides the content, Zenva Schools also offers two other things with its services. First, all the courses come with a variety of learning materials, including video lessons, interactive activities, quizzes, written summaries, and more.
For teachers, Zenva Schools also provides tools for using the content in schools. This includes classroom management features for organizing students and analytics for tracking student progress.
Which Game Development Lesson Plan Resource Provider Should Schools Purchase?
Ultimately, the best game development lesson plan resources will depend on you. With different ways and tools to teach, there are a lot of providers and courses to discover.
For our list, however, Zenva Schools is definitely the top player here. Not only does Zenva Schools have a great set of focused content, but provides useful features for using the platform in schools. This is not to mention the focus on fun projects for students to build.
Regardless, though, game development is a worthwhile backdrop for teaching STEM and letting students express themselves creatively – so you can’t go wrong incorporating it into your lessons.
If you’re from a K12 school and want to try out our platform, fill out the form below.
We’ll organize a free trial so you can test it out with your students in class!