Gamestar Mechanic Teacher Blog

All posts from January 3, 2012

Custom Backgrounds

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Posted Jan. 03, 2012

CategoryGames by Kids

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Happy New Year! 2011 was a big year for Gamestar Mechanic.  Thousands of players joined our community, and we added countless features to the Gamestar world.  One such feature is just beginning to hit its stride: custom backgrounds.

We received a multitude of requests for custom backgrounds before we implemented the feature.  Even though there was demand, we took our time carefully planning the feature before putting it in the game.  A good custom background matches the gameplay and story of the game.  It’s not distracting, and it’s not offensive.  And, of course, it is a background that you are legally allowed to use.  To earn the right to use their own custom backgrounds, players must go through the Custom Background Challenge where they learn how to make backgrounds appropriately and responsibly (available to premium users in the Workshop under Challenges and Contests).

I’d like to highlight some awesome games with custom backgrounds.  Check ‘em out!

Train to Nexus (Easy) by Alakazam

This long game tells the story of Rick, a normal office worker who leaves work one day to unknowingly embark on the adventure of a lifetime.  Backgrounds are landscape and sky photos.  (Despite the title of this game, it isn’t that easy).

The Wyvern’s Rage by nitrox116

This is another difficult and long game, but it takes only one look at Level 1 to see the impact of the custom backgrounds.  nitrox116 creates an enchanting and spooky mood using the backgrounds and in-game messages.  I also like how this game’s levels switch between Gamestar backgrounds and custom backgrounds.

Tales of Versagon by Omni_builder

This game is one long level that creates a rich world where the hero (you) must take on multiple quests.  The background is hand-made by Omni_builder and each pixel is mapped carefully to the game space.  Even if you don’t finish this whole level, it’s worth it to take a look at this background and appreciate the hard work and precision put into it.

What are the ways custom backgrounds could be used in the classroom?  They can definitely bring an artistic and personalized angle to any game design project.  Let me know if you try out using custom backgrounds with your students!