AMD fund $77,000 Game Maker-based education programme

Processor developer AMD is funding Activate!, an interactive website targeted at enabling children aged 13-15 to easily design and program video games, through a $77,000 grant from its foundation.

The primary tool used in the scheme is YoYo Games’ Game Maker software however it does not appear that YoYo Games are involved in the scheme.

“The Activate! website is about active and fun learning through design and we believe students will feel a great sense of achievement when they complete the challenges and activities” said professor Colleen Macklin from PETLab who created the website.

Press Release snippit follows:

Activate! contains tutorials for making games, example games for users to play, and will feature a gallery of user-generated games.

The Activate! online activities are designed and presented in the form of “challenges” rather than traditional lessons. Each challenge corresponds with a current socially-conscious theme and some challenges may link to special global and social events. The Activate! challenge modules will measurably enhance the following competencies among youth participants:

  • Familiarity with game design elements, such as graphics, sound, narrative, rules, programming and play
  • Familiarity using specialized design and programming software such as Game Maker
  • Ability to engage in design-based processes, including problem-solving, sketching, prototyping, testing and modifying
  • Understanding of cause-and-effect relationships within different gaming environments
  • Experience applying programming and procedural logic to game structures and behavior, and applying mathematics to character movement
  • Teamwork and collaboration skills within a creative atmosphere
  • Awareness about the pressing social issues embedded in various game-based activities

Activate! is currently being translated into Mandarin and also will be deployed on the intranet of a school in Beijing later this summer. A month-long game development workshop held at the school is expected to reach an estimated 475 students.

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