Hey Giant Bombers,
I don't post here a lot, as I normally don't have a lot to say (or the time to say it)... so please don't ignore this as some newb post, thanks.
So, I have a small request, feel free to ignore, but help if you can.
I was approached by my Highschool English teacher (from 10 years ago) about a month ago, asking me to co-teach his current English class that he is trying some new stuff out with: mostly looking at using games in his classroom. He came to me, cause I'm working on a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology, and I've tended to look at video games lately. But, the majority of my work has been around making video games with tools like Scratch or Kodu in an option or elective class to help students build problem solving skills and even some basic computing science skills. It's a lot of fun and it works really well, I wish I had some of the classes I now teach, when I was in High school or Junior High school.
That said, this teacher wants to put video game building in his class because he read an article that was published by one of my supervising professors that compared the use of Interactive Story Telling Tools (in this case a Video Game tool - NeverWinter Nights) and compare it to students writing stories on paper in the traditional way. If you're interested here is a link to the article: Interactive Story Writing in the Classroom: Using Computer Games (it's getting to be a little dated now, though, I'll warn you). Anyway, long story short, the teacher wants to recreate this, and have his students basically write stories with some sort of game engine during the course of the school term.
Now, I'd love to have the students make games from the ground up, cause I think's it's a lot more valuable, but for the purpose of this class they kind of have to hit the ground running, in a sense, and there can't be a lot of learning curve to learn the engine so much as using it to make interactive stories. Which seems to point to a game that has a modding tool built into it, rather than a game building engine... right?
So, I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out something that will work. The reason that Neverwinter Nights was used in the first place was because of the Aurora Toolset it comes with worked well for building a world quite easily, but then broke down for most kids with zero programming knowledge when you had to start scripting everything. If you read the article, it will make mention of a tool that was created by the Computing Science dept. at our University to bridge the gap. That tool is available still, but it's not really as great as advertised.
My biggest problem, personally, is that a lot of the games that keep coming up in my mind, are part of a genre I am basically unfamiliar with (D&D esque games), because I just don't enjoy that style game that much. I'm willing to try things out, but I don't have time to try out everything... and also don't want to maybe miss something because i've never played it, you know?
So, Giant bombers, I ask your help. Do any of you know of a game or even a game engine that will fill the needs I have? My "wish list" includes (in priority):
- Customizable Gameplay - Either by building from scratch or modding existing gameplay.
- Easy to Use - For people with little to no programming experience (i understand this is entirely subjective :( )
- "Story driven" style gaming - Dialog, characters with names, open level style design).. want to be able to create an interactive story with it.
- Simple "coding" style for scripting - very easy if possible
- Available now - Steam should be fine, but i'm willing to contact the developer directly for older games if they aren't easy to get.
- Decent Looking - ie. Doesn't look like ass... other wise students will check-out as soon as it starts.
- Low cost - Would be nice, but we actually do have a decent budget for this, so putting a $40 game on 30 PC's might even be possible
- UPDATE: PC only... can't justify buying a bunch of consoles for this.
Thanks a bunch for those who suggest anything.
Happy new year!