Online course on designing cities using video games, board games and films

  • Tutorial

Last year, there was news that a Swedish school was introducing compulsory Minecraft lessons. Inspired by this example, I made a timid attempt to dig in the direction of using games in learning and created an online course on designing cities where video games, board games and films are studied.

Many games in their mechanics or legends can find the principles of designing real cities. Games illustrate the planning and economics of cities, and thus are the first step in the study of this subject area.

Playing the “Colonialists” you can, for example, learn about the importance of ports and analyze the development history of the cities of Mumbai and York. And on the example of “Boom Beach”you can understand that not all coastal cities used to protect fortifications, and study the history of Venice.

Under the cut are examples of the games “100,000 BC,” “Triple Town,” “Carcassonne,” “Temple Run,” and the movie “Back to the Future.” As well as some details about this pilot course.

5 examples

100,000 BC

A brief description of the mechanics of the game

In each round, the player chooses where to invest: increase the population, grow grain, develop tools, obtain food, obtain building resources, build buildings, gain knowledge.

Example cities

- Hyderabad (India): high population + low level of technology development
- Vatican: low population + high level of knowledge

Triple town

A brief description of the mechanics of the game

Folding city objects of the same order, objects of a higher order are obtained. For example, 3 huts form a house, and 3 houses - a large mansion, and so on.

An example of the cities of

Novosibirsk: in 1893, the first village appeared near the Kamenka river, and in 1894 a new village appeared near the Ob river, which led to their unification and the formation of a new, already large village.


A brief description of the mechanics of the game

As long as the city is not completely surrounded by a wall, other players can join it to share as well as capture.

An example of the cities of

Dubrovnik: first, the Romans came to the island and began to build a city. And the Croats founded their city nearby and, before the Roman part was completely surrounded by the city wall, connected both cities into one.

Temple run

A brief description of the legend of the game

Temple is a sacred place where valuables are stored and carefully preserved.

An example of the cities of
Tirupati: all donations are kept inside the temple, including tons of gold. Thus, India has the largest amount of gold stored outside banks.

Back to the Future

A brief description of the film legend

In the film trilogy, one of the main locations is the square in front of Hill Valley Courthouse. And if we look at the chronological order, in the beginning (the third part of the trilogy) there was an area where people gathered, and only then they installed a clock tower there.

An example of the cities of

Ancient Rome: the Roman Forum was originally a market, and only then administrative buildings appeared on it.

A little bit about organizing the course

When creating the course, I focused on the Hack Design course , where once a week on a particular topic 5 links were selected for study, and on the Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC's The Walking Dead course , where certain aspects of sociology were explained using examples of zombie behavior.

The main objectives of the course are to inspire students, help them learn the basics of city design, give basic knowledge of how to build a city. The course is suitable for people who want to get acquainted with the design of cities, learn about the subject before a deeper and more serious study, look at the subject from the other side, or simply draw inspiration. In addition to practical examples, the course also has a theory, in particular small videos and links for further study.

First of all, when creating video lessons, I wanted to get away from the format of the weather forecast and in no case do teaching selfies . Therefore, it was decided to dwell on the following characteristics of the video: short, exciting, evoking emotions and the desire to review the video. And the best practices were the RSA Animate 's “Changing Education Paradigms” video , Simon's Cat cartoons and The Mill showril .

As links, preference was given to links to Wikipedia articles as a multilingual resource containing a large number of additional materials and links for further reading. Since the course is in English, it is convenient to have a theory in the native language at hand.

I also want to note the peculiarity of the Stepic platform, on which the course is posted - you can insert your favorite lesson with theory or tasks on another platform, for example, in a separate article .

PS Link to the course:
PPS Especially for Habr, I recorded a Russian dubbing of the introductory video:

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