Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Coding at school : Piecefall, a game by students

Piecefall game
The first fully published PlayStation 4 student game has been released on the PlayStation Store on Wednesday, July 15th.

PieceFall the puzzle game will mark the very first game to be published and developed by a team of students for the PS4. 

screenshot: Piecefall

This was possible by the Playstation First initiative, which gives students a chance to get their games out there to the masses.

“Game studios like PieceFall creator Steel Minions don’t come much younger and fresher than this! In fact, the developers are all students on Sheffield Hallam University’s games degrees and don’t graduate until November 2015."

PlayStation Blog 

Steel Minions Game Studio, created in 2010 at Sheffield Hallam University to provide students with a merit-based "work simulation" studio environment.

Students are chosen to work in the studio based on merit. And game projects are an integral part of their degree portfolio.

screenshot: Piecefall

The game:

Piecefall is a Tetris-inspired 3D puzzle game where abstract floating islands destroyed by a storm have to be rebuilt piece by piece on a horizontal plane .

Four islands, each with twelve puzzles to be solved, allow students/players to gather points to unlock the ultimate level of the Zen Island by rebuilding the ancient spiritual monuments. 

As a reward and with enough points the ultimate level of the Zen Island is unlocked.

A game created and developed by students. Wow! I'm feel proud!

"The 3D visuals bring a sense of Minecraft, while the soft textures give off a tranquil calmness during gameplay."

PieceFall will mark the very first game to be published and developed by a team of students for the PS4. This was made possible by the Playstation First initiative, which gives students a chance to get their games out there to the masses.

How & when to get it?

Available on PlayStation 4 from 15th July, the studio’s new game PieceFall is an agile 3D puzzle game set in a world of abstract floating islands. 
The islands were destroyed by a storm, and it’s the player’s task to return the islands to their former tranquility by rebuilding the land piece by piece.

Price:  £0.99 ; $1.54


Oh! It’s really great to see young developers, in this case students, being given the chance to show the world what they have to offer, and it’s even better when what’s on offer is a very promising title.

Children and young adolescents are learning coding skills in schools curriculum.

Coding in school:

Teaching coding skills to students is seen as a long-term solution to the “skills gap” between the number of technology jobs and people qualified to fill them.

The new curriculum teaches students computer science, information technology and digital literacy.

Teaching them how to code, how to create their own programs and not just how to work on computer as the old school curriculum. But how a computer works and how to make it work for them.

There are apps, games already created by students. Piecefall is one of the last creations. And by English students.

Computing curriculum at school is already working in different European countries. Also in Australia, United States and other countries for sure.

Level : Elementary education; Secondary education, other.

Curriculum: You will decide as a teacher. The game opens huge possibilities as an educational digital resource.

screenshot: Piecefall

"It should come as no surprise that all five members of the final team have already secured jobs at LittleBigPlanet 3 developer Sumo Digital in Sheffield and Elite3D in Valencia." Wow!

PieceFall has been praised and hailed for being the first game ever to be released on a Playstation platform all done by students, which is part of  Playstation First Initiative. 

I think the game does look pretty solid, and from the video it does look quite nice.

screenshot: Piecefall


"PieceFall is sold as a puzzle game, but it is much more than just that. It’s an experience that tells a story of repair. Every time the island is put back together, it grows, as do the structures that were previously on the island. From building windmills, to a statue of an Egyptian god, it is all entered around re-building these sculptures. Combine this with the beautiful art style, and the relaxing music, it works as a relaxing little diversion."

Why not learning by gaming? You know how students love games in school curriculum. They learn much better.

Of course, it will be a good resource for Vocational students. They will be encouraged to follow their dream and be a game designer. Why not at Sheffield Hallam University?

"The visuals in PieceFall are charming with bright but soothing colours and peaceful landscapes. Although the soundtrack is very limited and can begin to grate on you if you’re stuck on a particular puzzle, the euphonious music helps evoke a sense of tranquility."

Indie Marathon

screenshot: Piecefall

Better than this? If you want yo use it in your classroom, it will be a strangely hypnotic puzzle mechanic that will have an immediate appeal to Tetris students-fans. 

PiececeFall provides an intricate new take on the classic concept by flipping the puzzle onto a horizontal plane. Are your students ready to accept this challenge, and restore harmony to the islands?

PieceFall is brought to us from Steel Minions, a studio that is based in the Sheffield Hallam University, and is created by college students. Knowing that, it will encourage your students in coding lessons.

"This is the first fully published PS4 student game, paving the way for the next wave of PlayStation developers now in education, and is a real testament to what is possible when you follow your dreams."

PlayStation Blog



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Coding at school : Piecefall, game by students bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Note: Thanks to Prof. Jacobs Habgood Department of Computing Sheffield Hallam University and Josh Pears, one of the English students.

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