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Using Game Development to teach Software Architecture. Paper by: Alf Inge Wang and Bian Wu Presented by: Ben Gooding. Games in Education.

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Using game development to teach software architecture

Using Game Development to teach Software Architecture

Paper by: Alf Inge Wang and Bian Wu

Presented by: Ben Gooding

Games in education
Games in Education

  • Integrating games within children’s classroom can be beneficial for academic achievement, motivation and classroom dynamic. (Math Blaster, Oregon Trail, etc.)

  • Not just for children anymore

Games in higher education
Games in Higher Education

  • Traditional exercises can be replaced by games motivating students to put in extra effort and giving the staff a chance to monitor the progress.

  • Games can be used within a lecture to improve participation and motivation.

  • Game development projects can be used in CS courses to learn CS skills

From the perspective of a game developer
From the Perspective of a Game Developer

  • Knowledge and skills about how to develop software architecture is becoming increasingly important.

  • Caused by games becoming more complex.

  • Well-designed software architecture is needed to cope with variations in hardware configuration, functional modifications and network constraints

From the perspective of a software architect
From the perspective of a Software Architect

  • Games are interesting due to the inherent characteristics of the domain including:

    • Real-time constraints

    • Changing and varying functionality

    • User friendliness

  • Typical user requirements involve a fun and involving style of gameplay

Goals of a software architecture course in norway
Goals of a Software Architecture Course in Norway

  • “The students should be able to define and explain central concepts in software architecture literature, and be able to use and describe design/architectural patterns, methods to design software architures, methods/techniques to achieve software qualities, methods to document software architecture and methods to evaluate software architecture”

Project phases
Project Phases

  • Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) – learn the development framework (XNA)

  • Design Pattern – learn how to utilize design patterns by making changes in two architectural variants of an existing system designed with an without design patterns.

  • Requirements and Architecture – Describe the functional and quality requirements. Describe the SA drivers. Design and document the SA of the application in the project.

Project phases1
Project Phases

  • Architecture Evaluation – use the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method to evaluate the SA

  • Implementation – Do detailed design and implement the application based on prior phases.

  • Project Evaluation – evaluate the project using a Post Mortem Analysis method.

Challenges to the course
Challenges to the course

  • Good books and papers that give an in-depth insight into game architectures and game architecture patterns are basically non-existent.

  • There are several papers that describe architectures of specific games and books that give a brief overview of game architecture.

Educational approach
Educational Approach

  • Force the students to use the theory described in the textbook during the project by applying the methods and theoretical framework described.


  • The game projects had more complex architecture than the robot projects.

  • An average of 90% more code was written.

  • On average 3 more classes used.

  • Project grades higher

  • Written exam scores lower


  • Staff noticed an increasing interest and motivation for the project.

  • Students that completed the game project were more positive about the project.

  • Game development projects are positive for group dynamics and skills other than CS are needed.

  • Some teams focused more time on the game development than the SA