COVID-19: Stop the Spread – Code your own virus simulation by Gamefroot

There are many contributing factors as to why a virus spreads. One of those factors is the human factor – Simply put, the more that people stay at home and keep a safe 2 metre distance from each other the slower the virus can spread in your community.

In ‘COVID-19: Stop the Spread’, you can modify the ‘Staying home’ factor. The activity illustrates how social distancing has a direct impact on how fast a virus like COVID-19 can spread.

Students and teachers will gain a small insight into virus science, the effects a virus can have on society, and at the same time level up their digital fluency skills.

On behalf of the team at Gamefroot, good luck out there! Keep your distance, wash your hands, never stop learning, and be well. 

How it works:

Open the COVID-19 resource in Gamefroot

1. Browse to Gamefroot (https://make.gamefroot.com)

2. Login / create an account from the Gamefroot Home page. This will take you to the Gamefroot Dashboard. From there you can open the resource, like so.

3. Click the Stop the Spread button to open the resource

4. This will open the activity in the online Gamefroot platform

5. Click ‘Play’ button to see the simulation unfold 

Modifying the spread factor

To modify the ‘virus spread’ in the simulation you need to edit the percentage of people that stay at home. …….

1. Right-click on the 0% for Staying home image, and click Edit script. You will notice that the default number for the community staying home is set to 0, which means nobody stays at home. You’re going to change that. 

2. Try changing the percentage of people to 50% by clicking on that 0 and typing in 50. Hit the X button in the top right to go back to the Editor. Save your changes and hit the Play button to see what happens.

Embracing your inner journalist

One of the features in Gamefroot’s COVID-19 resource is that you can write their own news scroller. News headlines will scroll by as the simulation progresses.

1. Right-click on the news ticker at the bottom of the game, and click Edit Script.

 2. Click on BREAKING NEWS and type your own news into that textfield. If you were in charge of the news, what would you want to tell people?

3. Click Play to run the simulation with your own news headlines. You can go back and add or change your news if you’d like.

Saving and previewing your work

When you’re happy with your changes hit the X button to close the script editor. This will ask you to save your work. This will take you back to the level editor. When you are back in the main editor you can hit the big orange play button at any time to to see your simulation unfold.

Aotearoa 1840 – Code your own interactive timeline

The year is 2020. Here in New Zealand, year one of the new digital technologies learning area is upon us!

To help get the party started, Gamefroot has developed a new digital technologies learning resource to support future generations remember and learn about the 6th Feb 1840, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the events that surrounded it.

The resource is a DIY interactive timeline builder for students, and adults that want to level up their local Aotearoa knowledge.

So how does it work? Users simply browse to cloud based platform Gamefroot, open a tutorial and follow some instructions. Users are guided to do a little research (we point users in the right direction), and fill in the timeline using visual coding.

Why is this awesome? Kids love digital technologies, they love games, and learning our history is important. This is a great way to engage with New Zealand history in a way that is relevant to 21st century learners.

Aotearoa 1840 has been inspired by the ‘Te Tiriti o Waitangi’ school journal made by The Ministry of Education. Users will find everything they need to complete each section of the timeline online: (http://instructionalseries.tki.org.nz/Instructional-Series/School-Journal-Story-Library/Te-Tiriti-o-Waitangi).

Every user that completes this activity will walk away with some important moments of Aotearoa’s history forever etched into their mind.

How to use Aotearoa 1840:

Login / Register on Gamefroot and open the Tutorials sidebar

Opening the tutorial sidebar in Gamefroot

Click on the Aotearoa 1860 tutorial to open the tutorial in Gamefroot

When you have the tutorial open, follow the instructions in the tutorial, guaranteed to level up your NZ histories and your digital technologies skills!

The Gamefroot Arcade

The Gamefroot Arcade is where other people can play your games and where you can play games made by others.

The new Arcade has had a visual overhaul, a new and improved single game screen with comments and likes.

The next thing on our agenda is to include a featured games carousel, a trending games tab and a tab for partner content.

What do?

Just login to the Gamefroot level editor, click the arcade button, play some games, and let us know what you think we should do next in the comments.

The Gamefroot 2020 experience

Gamefroot are pleased to announce our biggest update since we launched many moons ago!

Most of our efforts have gone towards a redesigned user interface that promises to make 2D game development, and learning game development even easier.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the big changes and unpack what it means for you.

New navigation bar

The Gamefroot navigation bar has been condensed down and is less busy. The first thing you’ll notice is that there are two bars.

The top bar contains menus for saving and publishing games, as well as providing a more clear pathway to the updated Arcade and Club pages.

The secondary bar includes Undo and Redo buttons, a new drop down menu for managing levels and a Game Settings button. This is where you will configure settings that affect the whole game as opposed to level by level.

Additionally, the secondary nav bar will be contextual, for example if you select a text object in your game, the options will be displayed here.

Game Settings 

Settings that affect your entire game such as its name, description, thumbnail, and resolution are now accessed via the Game Settings menu in the secondary navbar instead of the sidebar.

We did this to make the distinction between game wide settings and per level settings more obvious.

New sidebar design

While this has been visually improved we still have a lot more work to do. We are working on a search feature and we are working on making this run faster.

Sidebar: Media 

We have surfaced the four main action buttons which are now visible in your game pack.  These are:

  • Upload assets 
  • Marketplace 
  • Create animation 
  • Character creator 

These options have always existed but have been hidden away in a drop down button. As of now, first time Gamefroot users will be able to see ways in which they can import / make content without having to guess.

While we love this new look there are still ongoing refinements to be made (see above). Watch this space as we will continue to refine and improve interfacing with Media in Gamefroot over coming weeks and months.

Sidebar: Code

The code sidebar is largely the same. As usual this is where users can find, open and edit their existing scripts.

Sidebar: Levels

The levels sidebar is where you can change per level settings like background colours and level size.

Text tool V1

That’s right, Gamefroot finally has a text tool!!

The text tool allows you to type directly onto the stage as you are making your game. This opens up a world of game making potential.

Users can now write text directly into their game AND add scripts to their text like any other game object. To highlight this functionality we will be releasing an interactive fiction resource in the coming weeks.

New Gamefroot Dashboard

A lot of work has gone into a new Template Dashboard.

A fancy new design surfaces more Gamefroot Gamekits (Templates) and tutorials.

Additionally we’ve made it easier to create new games as well as quickly access your recent creations.

Over time this is where you can expect to find new content.

New Code blocks 

Variables have now been split into “Variables” and “Global & Local” to avoid mixing them up. We’ve also increased the difference between those shades of green, and we’ve added the words “local” and “global” in front of the appropriate variable blocks. 

Creating a new variable is now easily done by clicking the “Create Variable” button in the Variables sidebar.

In summary

This release signifies a massive visual overhaul, a text tool (hazah), and all kinds of improvements to make your game making experience even better.

But like the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So head on over and try it out for yourself. Please let us know what you think in the comments.

Open Gamefroot

TVNZ children’s site team up with Gamefroot

 

Gamefroot is very pleased to announce our successful application for NZ On Air funding to integrate game making capabilities into the upcoming TVNZ children’s site.

The TVNZ children’s site will become home to awesome kiwi made content including animated web series, games, competitions and, thanks to Gamefroot, a brand new space for kids to make their own video-games.

Kids will be able to watch their favorite content online and then through integration with Gamefroot, make their own video-games based on that content.

It’s no secret that today’s kids love playing video-games. This development will help support kiwi kids transition from game consumers to game makers where they will get to hone their skills in game design, coding and storytelling.

We are excited to be part of the TVNZ family and can’t wait to get started on the development! I’ll keep you posted.

– Dan

Update on Saving Games

Gamefroot now saves a backup of your game to your local computer. So if your internet connection goes down, your game stays up and you don’t lose any of your precious work.

In previous versions of Gamefroot it was possible to lose changes if you saved your game when there was no internet connection – or even an internet glitch.

This was a rare problem but rare isn’t impossible. Therefore it has been very important for us to fix this issue. We don’t want people to lose their work. Ever!  

Now if something happens to your game you should always be able to access a copy on your computer. You can access these files by clicking on File > Open Game > Autosaves, like so:

As time permits we will continue to make this process even more streamlined. The ultimate solution is the one that runs automatically and never fails. While we’re working on making this happen these improvements will ensure that you’re in safe hands.

Enjoy Gamefroot!

Gamefroot 3.0 “Lori”

game-maker

After many months of work Gamefroot 3.0, named “Lori” in honor of legendary Sierra game designer and writer of the Quest for Glory Series of games Lori Cole, is now ready for you to use.

To sum things up, in this release we’ve focused on improvements for making Gamefroot faster and more reliable. Here are the main benefits for you:

Level Editor
We’ve rebuilt the game editor from the ground up. It is bucket loads faster and more robust. We’ve implemented an infinite canvas meaning you can create games any size without it affecting the speed and performance of Gamefroot.

New Layers Panel
We’ve made the layers panel into a floating box so that you can move it around the stage and see more of your game during your game building process.

You can see inside layers to select, rearrange, and rename individual objects in your game. When you have an individual object selected you can use the snap to button to take you to that object in your game world – this is particularly handy for navigating around big games.

When you toggle the visibility of an object they are now completely invisible. In previous versions of Gamefroot hidden objects were 50% transparent which could look confusing.

Powered up and simplified Tools
Tools now operate on any layer.

Selection tool
The selection tool has been refined. The top handle rotates objects and has some nifty precision features build in:

Hold SHIFT to rotate by 45 degrees
Hold ALT or OPTION to rotate by 22.5 degrees
Hold both SHIFT and ALT/OPTION to rotate by 1 degree

Side and corner handles scale objects:
Hold ALT or OPTION to limit scale to whole numbers
Hold SHIT to scale proportionally

Nudge objects up, down, left, right with arrow keys.
Hold SHIFT to move faster.
Hold both SHIFT and ALT/OPTION to move even faster!

Rotate objects with arrow keys. Hold ALT/OPTION and press LEFT or RIGHT.

Brush tool
Painting and drawing on the canvas is largely the same. In future versions of Gamefroot we’ll be adding more brushes and

Erasing Objects
The eraser tool is locked to the current layer. You can delete objects by pressing DELETE or BACKSPACE while they are selected, or use the right-click context menu.

Pan tool
Pan is easier than ever. Hold MIDDLE MOUSE and move around or hold SPACEBAR down and click and drag.

Keyboard shortcuts for tools are
M – for selection / move
B – for brush
E – for eraser
HOLD SPACE – for pan

New Mini Map with zoom
As part of the rebuild we made the minimap better and moved it to the bottom left corner.

You can now zoom in and out with the + and – buttons on the minimap to see your game in super detail. Click the zoom number (between the + and – buttons) to reset your screen to the default 100% scale.

Game Preview redesign
The game preview screen has been redesigned. When you hit PLAY, your game will open in a floating window. Just click CLOSE when you’re done previewing your game.

Enhanced Tutorials area (formerly Resources)

This is where we put out Hour of Code-style resources. We’re a big fan of that style of learning.

We’ve also redesigned the sidebar for easier navigation. We want your feedback on this. We see tutorials as a major part of the site, and we want them to get bigger and better every day.

General improvements and fixes
We’ve improved the way Gamefroot saves games, added internet connection checks to our API to reduce those pesky “Aw, snap” messages, and we’ve started working on better touch / mobile device support.

In conclusion

Thanks for choosing Gamefroot – we hope you enjoy!

Stay tuned for our next major release. We’ve got Undo/Redo, and Guest Login on the cards. If there is something else you really want to see added to Gamefroot just let us know in the comments below.

» So you want to make a game? Let’s go!!!

Testing 1, 2, 3.0

We are days away from launching a new, more robust and feature rich version of Gamefroot.

Before we release Gamefroot 3.0 into the wilderness we want to give you, our beloved users, an opportunity to take a look and report any issues.

We’ve worked hard on this release and, while we are 99% confident there are no issues that could affect your game, we want your feedback first!

This is your chance to let us know what you think before we push the button.

Testers beyond this point

To begin testing the new Gamefroot:

Continue reading “Testing 1, 2, 3.0”

Makey Makey: The Tutorial

We’ve had great fun playing with the Makey Makey game controller, so now we’ve written a tutorial so that you can do the same.

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Go to http://make.gamefroot.com, create a new game, and click on Resources in the menu bar. Scroll down to the Makey Makey tutorial and follow the steps.

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Let us know what you can create!

Using Makey Makey® with Gamefroot

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Makey Makey® is a circuit board that allows you to turn anything into a keyboard. It plugs into your computer and can be safely hooked up to all kinds of things to create interesting and creative ways to interact with your computer. Perfect for making your own game controllers!

Using some aluminium foil and a paper template I printed out, I was able to make a basic game controller!

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I really liked the simplicity behind this scratch game, so I tried to make something similar with Gamefroot. Here’s what I came up with: (Click the image to play)

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You can use the left, down, and right arrow keys to control where to whack.

 

Originally I had it so you would use the foil-wrapped stick to hit the foil squares that would activate the keys…

 

… but then I realized I could hold the foil stick and directly tap the foil tabs with my hand to complete the circuit! Tap-a-duck!

 

 

Here’s the A4 template you can print out.

template

Play Whack-A-Duck now! And don’t forget to remix the game to find out how it was built.