Games and Learning/Topics/Case Studies/AdventureAuthor

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Adventure Author is a computer game authoring tool for children aged 10-14. It is currently being developed with an EPSRC grant at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

The design and creation of computer games is something that usually takes a large team of highly-qualified professionals several years to accomplish, but in recent years some games have been shipping with advanced game design toolkits, allowing dedicated consumers to produce their own mini-masterpieces. The Adventure Author project is built around the idea that by developing a toolkit specifically for children, we can approach their education from an exciting new angle.

Adventure Author site


Robertson, J. & Good, J. (2005), 'Story creation in virtual game worlds', Communications of the ACM 48 (1), 61-65.

Allowing young people to create computer games they will ultimately want to play not only offers key educational benefits but builds self esteem and team work skills.

Robertson, J. & Howells, C. (2008), 'Computer game design: Opportunities for successful learning', Computers & Education 50 (2), 559-578.

Developing children as successful learners is a key aim of A Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland. This paper presents qualitative results from an eight week exploratory field study in which a class of ten year olds made their own computer games. The analysis focuses on the development of aspects of successful learning as identified in the curriculum: enthusiasm and motivation for learning, determination to reach high standards of achievement, independent and group learning, and linking and applying learning in new situations. As teachers have an important role in facilitating and supporting learners as they use technology, the paper concludes with a discussion of implications for classroom practice.

Robertson, J. & Good, J. (2005), 'Children's narrative development through computer game authoring', TechTrends 49 (5), 43-59.

Recent research into the educational applications of computer games has focused on the skills which children can develop while playing games. Various benefits of computer game playing have been recorded, such as increased motivation; development of problem solving and discussion skills; and improvement in aspects of story writing. While encouraging children to play appropriately designed computer games can be used to enhance their learning, enabling children to create their own computer games offers a further range of learning opportunities. This paper describes a workshop in which young people learned how to create their own computer role- play games for their friends and family to play. The purpose of the workshop was to give the young people an opportunity to tell stories in the medium of a computer game, and to develop narrative skills such as character creation, plot planning and interactive dialogue writing. Results from this study are used to illustrate the educational benefits of computer games authoring, and to ssuggest directions for future research in this area.