Microsoft Research Webinar | From player to creator: Designing video games on gaming handhelds with Microsoft TileCode
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From player to creator: Designing video games on gaming handhelds with Microsoft TileCode

Today, billions of players around the world have helped propel the video game industry into a multibillion-dollar business. However, most gaming devices aren’t used to create games, a missed opportunity to learn computing fundamentals while exercising the imagination. With the new coding platform Microsoft TileCode, researchers aim to turn players of video games into video game creators.

In this webinar, led by Dr. Thomas Ball, Partner Researcher at Microsoft Research, and Stefania Druga, a PhD student at the University of Washington, learn how children and families are using TileCode to create retro video games on handheld gaming devices. You’ll gain an understanding of programming language design and the connections between video game mechanics and computational concepts. You’ll also learn how jointly designing new experiences benefits children and parents.

Together, you’ll explore:

  • How the TileCode programming model provides a visual means for specifying the context around a sprite, how a sprite should move based on that context, and what should happen upon sprite collisions
  • How the TileCode user interface enables the creation of video games on handheld gaming devices
  • Examples of video game designs from a series of family workshops hosted to learn about how children understand and execute game design

Dr. Thomas (Tom) Ball is a Partner Researcher in the Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group at Microsoft Research and an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow for his work on automated defect detection tools. His area of research is programming languages, formal methods, and software engineering. Over the past five years, Ball has worked to simplify the creation of computing systems, focusing particularly on computer science education. In 2015–2016, he led the Microsoft Research team that first helped deliver the BBC micro:bit to over 800,000 students in the United Kingdom; that then started Microsoft MakeCode, a web-based platform that brings physical computing to the classroom.

PhD student Stefania Druga is the creator of Cognimates, an AI education platform for families. Druga’s research on AI education started during her master’s degree program in the Personal Robots Group at MIT Media Lab. She was also a Weizenbaum Research Fellow in the Critical AI Lab, a LEGO Papert Fellow at MIT Media Lab, and an assistant professor at New York University, teaching graduate students how to hack smart toys for AI education. She co-founded HacKIDemia, a global community for maker education; Afrimakers, an initiative for learning by solving global challenges in 10 African countries; and MakerCamp, global camps for learning how to build and run maker spaces.

*This on-demand webinar features a previously recorded Q&A session and open captioning.