Another ginormous group. The brainstorming quickly zeroed in on a castle crawler kind of game. It was the first year that we've repeated a genre, but the concept was unique, and I was confident that we could get further than the previous year if the students were motivated enough.
As with the previous year, I focused their attention to the screen and we went at a pace that every student could comprehend each added feature, pushing the changes to GitHub at regular intervals so that they could tweak and play with the code to solidify their understanding. With the ambitious goals that we had set for the week, though, I don't honestly feel that I kept the tempo slow enough for everyone (even those without prior coding experience) to keep pace.
This year brought many firsts, some of which caused headaches and slowed our progress. While my instructor feedback from the students was generally positive, many of those bumps in the road were mentioned by the students. Apparently, they didn't go unnoticed. =)
Even with all the technical hurdles and the ambitious design, we still had a playable game ready for the Friday assembly's demonstration. The students contributed almost all the art assets and sounds (whereas prior years were more of a scour-the-web-for-content affair). The end result is a bit unpolished, but it's entirely theirs. I think we built something that they can really be proud of.
I learned a lot this year as well. With larger groups and the use of new techs, I need to provide more structure, I need to "be less chill" (the last couple of years brought some minor discipline issues), and I need to take the time to cover basic programming concepts up front (even if it means less time for the game). I've intentionally kept things unplanned and fluid for six years so that the students could drive every aspect of the game, but that strategy won't work as well moving forward. I hope the students enjoyed the week, and I hope they learned something. But, I'll always feel that they didn't get the best from me because of the hiccups that we encountered throughout the week. Structure, planning, and a bona fide curriculum should allow us to focus on the learning, and give everyone a chance to get their hands on the code.