What is Magos?

MAGICAL is a European project that’s exploring collaborative design of educational games by primary and lower secondary students. We’re investigating the impact this can have on learning, and especially on support for key transversal skills like strategic thinking and creativity. To do this, we’re developing a special game authoring environment for learners and educators called MAGOS, which will be made available to the whole education community. As part of MAGICAL’s core mission, we’re focusing on the design and orchestration of learning activities based on collaborative game making, and so the project encompasses the education and training of teachers as well as professionals in inclusion.
What is Magos?
Magos is a fabulous game creation environment for non-programmers. In Magos users can easily create their own games alone or collaboratively with their friends. No programming skills required.
Magos and learning
Magos relies on a Learning By Developing Games approach. At its best, the design and development of games is creative teamwork, which supports reflective thinking, collaboration, problem solving and co-construction of knowledge. As students create and share games, they learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. In general, the aim of the Learning By Developing Games approach is to support the development of 21st century skills.
How does Magos work?
Magos relies on a game authoring approach, which means that games can be developed by drawing, dragging, selecting, clicking and setting values. This approach makes the game development easy to adopt, while the combination of different tools makes it possible to develop many kinds of games – even complex ones. The user interface of the Magos environment is designed according to fantasy theme. For example, a user can drag a magic potion to a game object in order to apply a texture to it, or the user can cast a gravity spell on the object to make it fall in the game world.
Magos supports collaborative game development
Games can be developed in groups of 2-4 members. The game development tools in Magos are divided between different spell sets that are used to distribute fields of responsibility between users. One spell set is used to define the physics of the game, another to design game levels, there is a set for creating the visuals, and the last set is used to create and record sounds. Spell sets can be switched among team members at any time. The interface contains a shoutbox (i.e. a chat screen), which can be used for communicate team members to communicate. If a single user creates a game, all the spell sets are assigned to him or her.
Support for sharing and remixing
Magos supports sharing and remixing content. Thus, one does not necessarily have to create everything by oneself, as there is a materials library available. Textures, animations and sounds created for a game can be made available for public use, which means that anyone can use that material later within their own games. However, users have to buy rights to use public content. Magos has its own virtual currency that can be earned, for example by creating popular games, selling graphics etc.
Role of the teacher in Magos
Assessment of the game development process is supported: teachers can monitor the progress of the game development with a real-time observation tool. Additionally, teachers can provide feedback to students by sending in-game messages through non-player game characters included in Magos environment (e.g. tutoring messages from game development Wizards).
Technological implementation
Magos is a web-based environment. The user interface will have different colour schemes, and users are able to personalize it. Magos operates individually without any external software or materials. In fact, external materials are not supported in order to avoid copyright issues. Thus, textures, animations and sounds are produced with environment’s own tools.