PIXEL PRESS FLOORS
CONCEPT: Design your own platform game levels on paper and bring them to life on the iPad!
DELIVERY: On the Pixel Press website there is a short animated trailer explaining the concept behind Floors. In it it talks about how kids thirty odd years ago used to draw out computer game ideas on paper and how Floors makes this possible for real now.
Yep, that was me. I honestly did that as a kid. Thus for me, Floors really is a childhood dream come true. You can actually design your levels directly in the app onscreen but the magic of seeing your paper design digitalise has to be experienced to fully appreciate the wonderment.
Using a key chart that identifies the building blocks (glyphs) used to comprise a level, it's easy to quickly generate a fully functioning platform game complete with traps, coins and keys to collect and moving blocks. You do need to be quite precise in the way that you draw each element but the good news is that upon scanning in your masterpiece, you get to edit and tidy up the design in app. You also get to choose the textures of each piece, background and even the character.
Then you can click play to test your level. This is an essential part of the design process as you get to see if the thing actually works. Perhaps you've made one block too high to jump to? Perhaps the whole thing is too easy or too difficult? Being able to jump in and out of the test area in seconds is incredibly useful during this debugging phase.
When you're completely satisfied, the level can be published to the floors arcade (you do need an account) where users around the world can access it online. You'll even get feedback as to how popular it is depending on how many times it has been played. It'll have its own leaderboard too so you can set your own high score for people to try and beat.
Personally I can't wait to use this as a part of our Computing curriculum next year. The term redefining the task is one we have used a lot here at IPad Educators; this app exemplifies this perfectly.
LIMITATIONS: The addition of elements like power ups, portals and enemies requires in app purchase. Also the range of textures and sprites is a little limited at the moment. Being able to design your own character would be an excellent addition too!
CONCLUSION: This is that special type of app that makes full use of the iPad's versatility. A unique marvel. 5/5
Introducing games design
As a part of a cross-curricular project eg Ancient Egypt
Linked with work in Maths (area/perimeter)
Linked with work in DT
Linked to instructional writing in literacy
Inspiring a narrative writing project