Last month, Hatch Coding hosted a Game Jam Competition, where students had 3 weeks to code a game that included a space theme, the Hatch Coding logo and show off their creative problem-solving skills.
Students had to make up a game idea, then bring it to life through their coding skills. This process helps to teach one of our five core competencies, turning and idea into code.
There were 2 categories for students to submit their projects - Advanced Category for Game Creation and Intermediate Category for a Game Visual. Explore the winning games and learn about each winner’s process, challenges and key learnings in their journey to achieving coding literacy with Hatch Coding.
1st Place: Spaceship Survival by Catherine L.
The Process: My Game involves moving between rooms on a spaceship, so I planned out the Game by first storyboarding all of the screens out on paper, and then I recreated them in the Hatch Coding platform. I then brainstormed a few ideas for simple minigames within each room and then applied the code to make it playable as I went along. From design to gameplay - I did it all on my own.
The Challenges: Since this was my first time coding a project without detailed instructions, I had to figure out how to create specific aspects of the game on my own. Coding the minigames within the spaceship took a long time because I had to design the functions that made it work with my own rudimentary coding skills. I knew how I wanted the game to look and be played, but it took a lot of problem-solving to learn the code behind it all.
Key Learnings: I learned many skills from designing the game, from how to design a Game using game states and how to draw complex backgrounds with only geometric shapes. I also built on my existing skills like loops and mouse clicked functions that made up an integral part of the game.
The Best Part? Coding the minigames. Having the idea in your head, and then being able to recreate it with code was an extremely satisfying experience.
2nd Place: Shifter Shooter by Amol S.
The Process: I wanted to create an alien shooting game so I came up with a story for it. My Hatch coach gave ideas for the home page view and then I started to code and completed the basic version. After that, I had some more time to add extra effects and features.
The Challenges: Whenever I’d run into problems, I had to search for the cause of it. For example, objects that weren’t shot disappeared. Looking at code that removes objects, I found that an incorrect index was passed to splice values from the list. Once I figured that out, I attempted a solution to overcome the problem.
The Best Part? Creating the Falling Prizes. Coding up prizes was challenging initially but luckily I was able to finish it. I also liked adding effects as it involved some nice animation.
3rd Place: Planet Protector by Iain M.
The Process: I planned out my project based on the Space topic and looked at other games that are space-themed for inspiration. As I went along I added and got rid of certain ideas so that my game could be the best as possible. My weekly meetings with my Hatch coach was helpful in guiding me with how to make my ideas possible.
The Challenges: I ran into many challenges while creating this game. Some problems were that my code wasn’t correct and others were that I couldn’t think of ideas to add. Some ways that I overcame these challenges were getting feedback from others, either my Hatch coach or one of my brothers to look at the project to get another point of view.
Key Learnings: I learned a lot of new skills while creating this project. For this project, I also used a lot of prior knowledge and code from other projects but had fun learning about new code. I loved the creativity I had making this Game Jam.
The Best Part? Coding and creating the aliens because I could make the aliens look like whatever I wanted them to.
4th Place: Space Adventure by Mythili P. & Goutham K.
The Process: We planned ahead by discussing and finalizing an idea that incorporated the Hatch and Space theme. We worked on the design and created mock screens for all the components in the game. After we finished planning we started coding based on our plan, which we found was very helpful.
The Challenges: Organization and time. As we continued to develop the game we had additional ideas to add to the game which made organizing code difficult. To solve this issue we reviewed the code and optimized it by removing duplicated code and unnecessary functions. To finish the game in time for the deadline we came up with jobs and split the work between us.
Key Learnings: The main skills we developed while creating our game were turning ideas into executable code, setting personal deadlines, organizing the project work, and troubleshooting for glitches. We also learned more about Object Prototype, Object Literals and Object Methods.
The Best Part?
Mythili: The game play screen! The game play screen was so fun to create because it was fulfilling to see our idea come to life. It was fun passing the planets, dodging the asteroids, opening the chests, and collecting letters to form the Hatch logo.
Goutham: Coding the Lives because it contained something that I wasn't really good at. With my Dad’s help, I now know more about Boolean.
1st Place: Retro Spaceman by Adam I.
The Process: I started out with a small plan and it grew as I worked on it. When my mom was a kid she would draw images by colouring pixels on the screen, so this inspired me to do the same and I started my project as a pixel image about space. I started adding things bit by bit, like shooting stars, moving the astronaut around and then finally I had the idea to keep users engaged by pressing the keyboard keys to get interesting facts about space. My Hatch coach was helpful whenever I faced an issue too.
The Challenges: Where to start. I panicked at first as I had never done a coding competition before and didn’t know what idea I should work on. I decided to start small and add things to my projects as I went along which helped me to work calmly and focus on one thing at a time. I also had to learn how to use variables so I could move the astronaut around after drawing it pixel by pixel and played around with colours so the text information was clear to read.
Key Learnings: I learnt that it's hard to fix a big problem all at once and it is better to break it into smaller problems and focus on each problem alone. I also learned to use the comment area so it was easy to change things in my project later. And I learned to better manage my time and more about different fonts with the guidance of my Hatch coach.
The Best Part? Creating everything in the game was fun because it was the first time I created something from scratch based on my imagination, and it showed me what I can build with it!
Challenging Students to Success
Hearing from students all the effort that went into these Game submissions - planning, overcoming challenges and translating ideas to code - we can see that Hatch Coding students gain a multitude of skills to teach them how to approach computer programming. Hatch Coding has always taught programming as a literacy and with our projects and platform they learn how to successfully express full, complex, human thought to a computer.