Best of Austria: Developing Video Games in Secondary Schools with Unity
Abstract: What are the requirements, challenges and opportunities, when using a professional Game Development Environment (GDE) in computer science classes? In this participatory action research (PAR) scenario, the Unity GDE was employed to provide secondary school students with the chance to develop their own video games in computer science class. The basic idea was to benefit from the high motivation that comes along with video game development and the attraction of employing a professional tool. In this paper, the focus is on the experience of a teacher and two university-student researchers during a series of eight lessons. The findings showed that the prospect of developing video games utilizing a professional game engine appealed to most students. Game development came along with high expectations, motivation and engagement. During the game development activities, a variety of challenges arose that needed to be overcome to pertain to a sustained video game developing experience. Some of the challenges were technological issues while other challenges directly contributed to the learning of students as they learned to handle and overcome these difficulties. Also, we spotted a high demand on the teacher’s competencies to assist students during the creative parts of their work. Summarizing, the first PAR cycle brought valuable insights regarding the process, learning, materials, provisions and testing, which will feed directly into an improved second cycle of game development.