For the last few weeks in EDTECH534 we have been working on our final apps. I chose to create an app for use in my Video Game Design course as a tournament activity. For each game there is a different way to control the player so I envision this app also being used for students to analyze player controls.
The app itself is composed of 3 apps created with tutorials over the duration of the semester. Each of these three apps (Space Bouncer, Tap-a-Mole, and Cheasy Chase) have been heavily customized from the original tutorials. The final game, Cookie Crunch, I created from scratch and is the most robust. I really enjoyed creating Cookie Crunch, especially the images. I found there were limitations in AppInventor that a bit clunky to work around, like the inability to spawn sprites. Because of this, all sprites have to be manually put into the program and manually coded. I’m sure I could have gotten more creative with coding to make it more dynamic but I just couldn’t see/find it. Overall, I am quite proud of this app. A lot of time and effort went into it. I hope you enjoy!
Check out my final documentation web site to see the code and/or download the game!
This week in EDTECH 534 I found myself playing catch up from my previously mentioned illness. For my final app, I am creating a tournament app for students to use during my Video Game Design course. Currently, students use specific online games to analyze various game components. The app I created will introduce mobile games into that activity. My app has 4 mini-games that all have some kind of scoring in them. Three of the games are games I have previously built in this class that will only need minor modifications to do as I envision (mostly with scoring). My fourth game is a completely new, created by me, game. I’m quite proud of it. Not going to lie, I spent the WHOLE day today working on it. Time really does fly when you are in a groove. At this point, I have spent more time on this app than I allotted but I’m almost there. Next week I need to focus on perfecting my scoring, applying some kind of ‘end game’ functionality to 2 of the games, inserting sounds here and there, and polishing up my UI (I can NEVER leave the UI alone).
While this post isn’t about projects done in either of my classes (EDTECH 534 & 564), I do want to record my reflection as it is a part of my journey…
Last Friday I noticed some pain in my gut along with overall fatigue. As the weekend progressed, the pain didn’t seem to get better and started to concern me. By Sunday, I was in pretty rough shape. Monday I ended up visiting the ER and spent the day being poked and prodded. What an interesting experience! The good news is that I left with a diverticulosis diagnosis which is totally manageable. Of course, it would be nice if once an ailment is identified, recuperation would naturally follow as quickly. With my shiney new diagnosis and meds, I foolishly decided to go to work on Tuesday. I made it about 1.5hrs before I was weeping and sent home with pity. Hmph. The next day I didn’t even try. Here we are on Thursday, I have emerged from my hibernation cocoon and I am SO FAR BEHIND.. double Hmph.
While I slept the most part of the last week, I have been thinking about both my final projects. For both classes, I plan on creating products that will support my gamification efforts in the classroom. For 534, I am making an app that will help track and deliver game stats in a gamified course. For 564, I am building out a unit for my Video Game Design course that explores game components.
This week in EDTECH 534 we created a quiz app with AppInventor. I feel like this is an easy match for educational apps being a quiz n’all. I built the app as the tutorial designed and ended up struggling with ways to make this app better. I mean, aside from UI stuff. This week, I wish there were more people in my course so I had more takes on what could be done with it.. but I don’t so.. I ended up choosing to do an HTML Quiz app as I am currently teaching the subject at my job. There are about a dozen questions that cycle through as the user answers. For my customizations, I added the functionality to disable the next button until the user guesses the correct answer. I also tweaked the UI a bit. I don’t care for the app being static and would like the ability to add questions, maybe push questions out to a group of students. There is a tutorial a few chapters past where we stop in the book that looks like it addresses this. I hope I have a chance to build it.
This week in EDTECH534 we created a “find your car” app. We played with location, storing data (I ❤ tinyDB), and the WebViewer. The premise as well as the tutorial is pretty straight forward. The user opens the app (with GPS on) and can save their current location allowing an easy return to that location with the click of a button. My only problem with the app was how the screen was laid out. With all the data on the screen, when the map opens in the WebViewer, you couldn’t really see anything. I added a button on the bottom to allow the user to open the map in the Maps app. I also rearranged the data to take up as little screen space as possible.
I can see this app being useful for finding your car in big parking lots like it was intended for. I also see this app being super useful on a field trip. Although, in version 2.0 I’d love to add some kind of breadcrumb functionality as well as the ability to have pre-programmed points, like we did in the Salem tour app.. maybe a combo of the two?
This week in EDTECH534 I completed the Map Tour tutorial using my favorite day trip location, Salem, Massachusetts. The tutorial was pretty simple this week so I took it as an opportunity to explore using multiple screens in my app. In the last few weeks I thought about adding a game-over screen a couple of times but haven’t been brave enough to really try it (plus I was thinking a tutorial would present this to me eventually). The very first part of the tutorial, using the Activity Starter, did not work for me at all. I suspected it was due to the properties entered. Since I’ve worked on Java apps before, the paths LOOKED ok to me but in this context, I had no idea. This forced me to use the Web Viewer and pray it worked. Thankfully, it did. In the process, since I still had to use Activity Starter, I found that all I really needed was the Action and URI properties.
When the user clicks on the “Choose Your Destination” ListPicker on the first screen (Screen1), they are presented with a pre-defined list of landmarks. The user then selects the landmark they want to explore. The app then opens a new screen (Screen2) with 2 Web Viewers on it, one for the landmark web site and one for the landmark Google map. Now, I have a Samsung Galaxy s6edge+ so my screen real-estate is ample and I still felt a little cramped at this point so I added “pop-out” buttons that open each option in their respective apps. I found in my testing that the device back button kicked me out of the app altogether so I also added an in-app back button (come to find out, it kicked me out because I was using the Companion app, the device back works just fine in the finished app).
This week in EDTECH534, we continued learning about AppInventor’s abilities by building the “Ladybug Chase” tutorial. In the process of extending my app, my name and theme changed to Cheesy Chase. I ended up doing all the extensions the tutorial suggested including: adding better graphics &/or theme, stopping all movement when gameplay ends (although I left the little wiggle from the cheese and cat because I though it was cute), increasing the energy bar visibility (I had done this before I realized it was an extension, it just seemed necessary) , increased difficulty by increasing the cat speed over time, added a timer label letting the user know how long they made it, and removing the mouse if he’s eaten by the cat. I also added a game over indicator since it didn’t seem immediately obvious that the game was over.
As usual, I enjoyed creating this app and am looking forward to what we create next. I must say I am getting nervous to not have tutorials to rely on soon as the final project gets closer. While I know I’m creative, I don’t always have big ideas without inspiration.