David 6 is a game designed to introduce a young audience to methodologies common in coding languages.View the prototype
We can give future coders and programmers an advantage if we get them comfortable with the fundamentals now.
So what is David 6
David 6 is a digital game in which the player's objective is to direct the rover known as David 6 through a series of increasingly complex puzzles. In each puzzle David must move across the level's terrain to a specific spot. What makes it a challenge is that straying off the safe path results in failure.
Coding methodologies are introduced to the player through David's controls. In the story David is located on a distant planet which limits communication. The player compiles commands for David much like a programmer would compile a script and then sends them all at once. We can then see David run through the commands systematically like a computer executing code.
David 6 is my baby
I created David 6 for my final project at Massey university. As a student project time and budget were limited but it did give me full creative freedom. I was able to work on every aspect from the initial idea, through to researching, designing, illustrating, testing and coding. The only part I didn't work on myself was the music—I worry it may actually be the best part—which was created by Amand Gerbault-Gaylor. Being able to take something from beginning to end is such a rewarding thing and really lets you understand a project.
My final project wasn't going to be a game initially. The brief set by the university was open and I ended up challengeing myself with the question of 'how can we make the web a better experience?'. To begin with I looked at creating a crowd-sourced digital manifesto but pivoted after some advice from a tutor. I decided I could solve my brief with a long term perspective and aim my project at future developers. So much of the experience of the web is dictated by the technology it's built on. Giving a head start to those technology innovators could achieve that laudable goal of improving the web.
David 6 gave me the opportunity to take a project right though the creative process and sparked my love of design.
Was it all worth it?
Late nights and coffee. That's what often powers design and a lot of it certainly went into this project. In the end David 6 received a perfect mark from Massey, the attention of a local tech-founder, and even a gold pin from the Best Awards. More importantly after years out of university it remains one of my favourite projects I've worked on. It was the first project I'd taken so far through the creative process and had real ownership over. It sparked my love for design and it holds up against projects with real budgets and real stakes that I've worked on.