Greetings Blender Community,
I work for a university in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (USA) and have been a follower of Blender for the past year or so.
I'm reaching out to the community because our university holds an annual summer academy for highschool students to learn about making games and this year we are using Blender. We used Blender last year but it was only for modeling and nothing was ever used for their final games. This year Blender will encompass all of the development tools and we're very excited to provide such a powerful, community driven tool. We also understand, however, that it's a bit overwhelming for first time users.
The goal of the camp is to introduce students to the fundamentals of good game design practices while introducing them to tools that can help them develop their skills well after they've left the camp. It is 3 weeks long and is essentially broken up into two sections; solo training and collaborative training.
The solo training is where all of the artists learn about traditional art skills and transferring them to the digital; programmers learn the concepts of Python and efficient coding; designers/storytellers are introduced to effective ways to engage their audience.
The collaborative training is when they are put into small development teams and tasked with making a prototype of a game by the end of their time at the academy. I stress prototype because they more than likely will not have the skill set or the time to create what the general population of gamers would consider a finished game.
Because of that, I have a few questions for the community.
1) Currently my team has been preparing our curriculum using 2.49b. Our preparations are mainly for modeling, materials, and the game engine. I've played around with 2.5 but I understand that it is not a complete version and wanted to know if anybody feels that it would be best for us to allow them to use the latest build or if it would be safer to have them use 2.49b.
2) For the artists; since it is a 3 week long course and a huge focus for them will be traditional art skills, we were looking to have them learn how to model and use materials to texture objects for the digital aspect. Do any of you feel it would be more beneficial to them to learn how to UVmap, 3DPaint, or multires sculpt?
3) For the Game Engine, I know that there are a good variety of Logic Blocks to customize in game actions. I'm curious how any of you feel about stressing Python over Logic Blocks or vice versa? Our main idea was to have a good understanding of how to accomplish a wide variety of actions through Logic Blocks as well as Python, but with a short amount of time we're wondering if Logic Blocks should be the main focus with Python complementing them or if Python really should be the focus for aspiring game programmers.
4) Finally, for anyone out there who has used Blender and/or has taught Blender for similar purposes, are there any particular ways you would recommend introducing highschool students to Blender and Python over a 3 week timeline?
Thank you so much in advance.
I think your post has more chances to get an answer if you post it to the Documentation and Education forum.
This forum is more dedicated to research project that use Blender as the (or one of) instrument of academic enquiry.
Thank you for your input. I actually posted this over at Blenderartists and have been getting some responses. I didn't realize that these forums were purely for development until after I posted. Thank you again.