Gamestar Mechanic Online Learning Program

General Questions

Q: What do you mean by 'online learning'?

A: Our online learning program allows your child to learn about game design, make real games and grow in skill as a game designer. Your child will be using a piece of software called Gamestar Mechanic to learn and make games, and the online learning program also includes a full curriculum in game design featuring resources like video lessons, gameplay and game making assignments and written game design resources. Your child will also receive personalized instruction and coaching from real game design instructors and game industry professionals via video, online and telephonic interactions.

Q: Who is the Program designed for?

A: The Program is designed as a first experience in game design and game making for young people ages 9-14, but enrollment is open to anyone.

Q: Does my child need prior experience in game making or programming to participate in the Program?

A: The Program is for kids interested in learning to design and make games who are just starting out, so no prior experience is required. That being said, even kids with some experience in game making will benefit from the program.

Q. How is the online learning program different than the Premium version of Gamestar Mechanic?

A. The Premium version of Gamestar is a self-scaffolded learning experience in game design. While the Online Learning Program draws on some content from the Premium version of Gamestar, an entirely new set of design challenges, learning resources and support, coaching and mentorship from personal personal instructors and game pros set the Online Learning Program apart.

Q: What time commitment is required of my child in the Program?

A: The Program is designed as a four-week program, but participants can take as much or as little time as they need to complete it. Most participants will need 2-3 hours per week to complete their required assignments.

Q: What will my child actually do in the program?

A: Your child will learn the basics of game design by going through a series of activities each week:

Q: What are the technical requirements to participate in the Program?

A: To participate in the program, your child will need:

Q: My child has a tablet (e.g. iPad, Android). Can he/she use it to participate in the Program?

A: No. A full personal computer (e.g. PC, Mac, Linux) meeting the above requirements is needed to use the game making software we'll be using in the Program.

Q: My child will not be able to complete the program in four consecutive weeks (e.g. due to vacation, school committments, other activities, etc.) Can my child still participate in the program?

A: Sure! Completing the program in four consecutive weeks makes for the best experience, but if your child needs to take a break to accommodate other plans, that's fine too. When you sign up and select your starting date, please indicate any concerns or special scheduling needs in the 'special instructions' section of the registration page. Keep in mind that your child must complete the program before the fall session ends on December 13, 2013.

Q: What can I do as a parent to ensure that my child has the best experience possible in the Program?

A: We've done our best to make the Program fun, educational and flexible so that your child can have a great experience. That being said, here are a few suggestions:


Q: Who are the instructors in the Program?

A: Upon registration, your child will be assigned a personal instructor for the course. Our instructors consist of professional educators, graduate and college students. All of them have prior experience working with youth and have received training and instruction both in teaching game design and in facilitating safe, fun and educational online interactions.

Q: How will my child interact with their instructor?

A: Your child's instructor will continually monitor their progress and interact with them via telephone and online chat/messaging throughout the course:

Q: What is meant by 'Game Industry Professionals'?

A: In addition to feedback from their peers and instructors, your child will also receive feedback on their games from our network of Game Industry Professionals. These 'Game Industry Pros' are real working professionals from the commercial and educational games industries. They include professional game designers, producers, developers, artists and learning experts.

Administrative Questions

Q: What is your refund policy?

A: Prior to your scheduled course start date, you are entitled to a full, no-questions-asked refund upon request. Within the first two weeks of the course following your scheduled start date, you are also entitled to full refund upon request if you are in any way dissatisfied with your course experience.

Q: What happens when I register and check out?

A: You will receive an email confirming your purchase and registration right away. Prior to the start of your scheduled course session, you and your child will receive an email from your personal instructor welcoming you to the course and looking to schedule an initial telephone welcome session. This email will also include information on how to redeem the Gamestar Mechanic premium access included with the course.

Q: I see that the course includes Premium Gamestar Mechanic access. My child already has Premium access but would like to participate in the course. What should I do?

A: Please register for the course and check out as normal. In the 'Special instructions' section of the registration page, include your child's existing Gamestar username. We will verify their Premium status and issue a credit to you for the value of the existing premium access towards the program fee.