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game,” he says. “It needs to have the functional- ity, but doesn’t necessarily need to look good. They can always continue to improve their game after the merit badge is completed.”


WHAT TECHNICAL SKILLS DO SCOUTS NEED TO CREATE ELECTRONIC GAMES? Almost none. Free programs such as GameMaker: Studio and GameSalad Creator let anyone develop games. “You don’t have to know program- ming,” Miller says. “That’s the key thing.”


DOES THIS BADGE WORK BETTER WITH OLDER SCOUTS? Not necessarily. “We had some 12-year-olds in the class, and the software was accessible to them,” Miller says. “One of the parents brought in a commercially published board game she had seen that was designed by a 9-year-old. Age really isn’t a barrier.”


WHERE CAN SCOUT LEADERS FIND RESOURCES TO TEACH THE BADGE? The first resource is the merit badge pamphlet. “It’s robust enough that a counselor could teach himself the termi- nology and then teach Scouts, even without a background in game design,” Radue says. Your Scouts may know of other resources.


“There are lots of classes and clubs at the high-school and college level for video game design,” Miller says.


DOES THE BADGE TEACH SKILLS THAT ARE USEFUL BEYOND THE WORLD OF GAME DESIGN? “There’s a lot of scientific process in coming up with the rules, predicting what’s going to happen, playing the game, and looking at the outcome to see if it matches the prediction,” Radue says. “The critical-thinking skills are useful. The social-interaction skills are useful. We feel like the skill set is broadly applicable.” ¿


THE LAUNCH DATE of the Game Design merit badge will be announced this spring at: bit.ly/meritbadges.


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