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Can Video Games Inspire the Next-Gen of Engineers?

Like racing? Love Sandbox games and designing new vehicles? Then you will love Trailmakers.

Not all video games are about blowing stuff up! While such games can be fun, they don’t necessarily teach you anything. 

That is where games like Trailmakers come into play. By requiring players to design and build their own vehicles, it allows them not only to have a great time but also to learn some very important engineering principles. You also get to blow stuff up too...

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Can video games inspire future engineers?

Video games have come a long way over the last few decades. They have become more technically challenging to play, the graphics are almost life-like, and, more importantly, a lot more people are playing them than ever before.

No longer are they the preserve of the old stereotype of gamers. Especially since the generation who grew up with Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog are now adults and parents. 

But, some games are becoming more than just a way to spend the hours in the evenings. Sandbox games, purpose-built educational titles, and other creator-type games are providing a means for players to design and create their own things. 

Whether that be vehicles, cities, or new alien life forms, video games are garnering love and aptitude for creativity in players. 

Not only that but playing video games has been shown to provide some very interesting positive effects on players. Of course, there are some downsides, too, if players become addicted to gaming

Video games are also increasingly being used as training tools for many professions, including engineering.

They may even be an excellent way to inspire the next generation of engineers. Games like Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program are excellent introductions to some complex engineering practices. They also make learning fun.   

That's where games like Trailmakers might just be the perfect game for inspiring little engineers to start designing and building machines while having a blast at the same time. 

What is Trailmakers?

Trailmakers, now available on Steam, is a creative vehicle-building sandbox and an exploration racing game at the same time. Players must use their imagination and creativity to build vehicles and test them out in various situations.

trailmakers boat
Test out your own innovative ideas with games like Trailmakers. Source: Trailmakers

Trailmakers’ description reads, "Build a car, a plane, a boat, or maybe a… carplaneboat? With Trailmaker's intuitive builder, it is as easy as snapping together real building blocks. Take your machines on exciting rally races, dangerous exploration missions, or build the craziest contraptions you can imagine in our huge sandbox."

trailmakers plane
Trailmakers is both single-player and multiplayer. Source: Trailmakers

With the game's intuitive builder function, players can design their own creations, and once happy with the design, they can take their machines on dangerous exploration missions or breakneck rally races.

With Trailmakers, there is no limit to what you can build. For this reason, it is a great place to test out crazy machines and experiment with the physics engine.

You can make good use of the tons of different blocks, hinges, thrusters, and interactive vehicle parts to your heart's content. 

Can Video Games Inspire the Next-Gen of Engineers?
The only limit is your imagination with games like Trailmakers. Source: Trailmakers

The main features of the game are, according to the creators:

  • Using modular blocks, you can build intuitively with endless possibilities.
  • The survival game mode “Stranded in Space” offers an open-world experience where you have to escape the planet you were stranded in.
  • You can go on breakneck rally races with the vehicle you’ve made according to your liking.
  • Your creations will have no constraints thanks to the two sandbox maps that are full of crazy obstacles.
  • You can race your creation even on the global leaderboards.
  • Trailmakers has a growing community which means there are tons of premade vehicles waiting for you to test them.
Can Video Games Inspire the Next-Gen of Engineers?
Design your own in Trailmakers! Source: Trailmakers

There is always something to do in Trailmakers. You can join the Trailmakers Rally, take on challenges, play in the sandbox, or race your friends. The game even comes with its own Discord channel, so you can chat with the game's designers or other players. 

What are the game modes in Trailmakers?

As previously mentioned, the game comes with various modes to test your assembly contraptions. They are as follows. 

1. "Stranded in Space" mode

As the name suggests, this part of the game allows players to design and assemble their very own spacecraft. It is a survival campaign that will test your designs to destruction.

Players are crash-landed on an alien world, and can only escape by building their own spacecraft from scrap parts. All the parts needed are scattered around on the planet, and players need to use their own ingenuity and resourcefulness to find and assemble them.

However, you are not alone on the planet, so be careful! 

2. "Trailmakers Rally Campaign" mode

For those with a "need for speed", the game's "Trailmakers Rally Campaign" is an absolute must-play.

Players must go through a series of races that require them to compete with all sorts of different vehicles from simple go-karts and off-roaders to race cars and airplanes, and in the end, combinations of them all.

Can Video Games Inspire the Next-Gen of Engineers?
Source: Trailmakers

Players start the campaign with just a few basic building blocks and a go-kart track. Players progress through the rally by earning bronze, silver, or gold medals. 

New blocks are unlocked after each race, and these can be used immediately to modify your racing vehicle. With ingenuity, racing skills, and perseverance, you will be putting jet engines in your car in no time.

Can Video Games Inspire the Next-Gen of Engineers?
A podracer. Source: Trailmakers

This portion of the game consists of 17 races, and once a player beats the "Golden Time", they get to compete against ghost players from the worldwide leaderboard. 

Sadly this mode is currently only available as a single-player campaign, though racing ghosts of other real-life players are similar to a multiplayer experience.

3. "Sandbox" mode

Probably the best part of the game, its "Sandbox" mode, is a place designed for experimentation. All building blocks are available in this game mode with the exception of accessory blocks. 

Can Video Games Inspire the Next-Gen of Engineers?
Create crazy contraptions with Trailmakers. Source: Trailmakers

Trailmakers states, "Each block has unique features like shape, weight, and functionality. They can be broken off, refitted, and used to build something new. Individually the blocks are fairly simple, but combined, the possibilities are endless."

Players are taken to an island built from different types of terrain with interesting built-in challenges. This mode is both single and multiplayer, which ensures future engineers will be enjoying the challenges thrown at them together.

So, if you are looking for a game that will keep your budding little engineers entertained while learning something new, why not check out Trailmakers today? Learning has never been this fun!

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