Gamestar Mechanic is a game-based online learning platform that teaches students game design and systems thinking. Targeting fourth to ninth grade students, Gamestar Mechanic uses an interactive game-based interface to impart concepts and thinking skills necessary for video game design.
Gamestar Mechanic uses three fully integrated components of questing, designing and sharing that are successively introduced in users’ learning process. These components complement and build upon each other, gradually introducing users to increasingly complex game design skills and concepts. In the questing component, users learn principles of game design through a questing game. Upon mastering these principles, they graduate to the design component, where they design their own original games.
Lastly, they access a sharing component consisting of an online community where they publish and share their games, obtaining valuable feedback. Users can also opt for a formal online course in game design taught by professionals on the Gamestar Mechanic website.
Through its educational game environment, Gamestar Mechanic demonstrates how systems work and their possible modifications. By giving students hands-on experience with practical applications in system theory, Gamestar Mechanic imparts concrete knowledge and socio-technical skills while encouraging creative, analytical and holistic thinking. These skills are important for video game design.
Gamestar Mechanic also lowers the barrier to entry for users attempting video game design. Through emphasizing game design principles rather than technical computer programming, Gamester Mechanic motivates users to learn video game design with less intimidation and a smoother learning curve. Its game-based learning interface is tailored towards children’s inclination for playing, motivating their learning process. By first teaching design concepts and vocabulary, Gamester Mechanic makes it easier for users to grasp programming-oriented tools necessary for more complex video game design, such as Scratch, Gamemaker, Flash and Java.