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Kids game coding courses

by nelpasa / November 24, 2006 11:44 PM PST

I have a 13 years old nephew and he spends hours playing games (sp2 or 3).He wants to learn how to create games.

Where would he find resources to get started. Is there a course for kids.

Please advise.

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My experiences and recommendations with learning to program
by mouse8b / December 9, 2006 8:57 PM PST

I am a college student who enjoys playing and creating games. I started at about the age your nephew is. The three things that helped me learn to program games were my TI-82 graphing calculator, the manual for said calculator, and my 4th period sophomore chemistry class, which is to say that I had a programmable device, the programming language reference, and time to devote to programming. Those are really the only things needed to program anything, including games.

I don't know of any courses that teach games (though you may search for a computer camp of sorts), but all that is really needed is a book.

If you go to a bookstore, especially a technology-focused bookstore, you will find lots of books on game development. Some books are basically cookbooks for video games -- you read it from front to back, follow all the directions, and at the end you have a video game that you programmed, but is just like everyone else's who bought that book. In many of these books, you are merely copying code from the book to your computer, and not actually learning to program.

There are also other books that focus on teaching the skills needed to program whatever game you desire. You can start reading at the front, but it will probably wind up being used like a reference book. These books may require previous knowledge of programming, or may only introduce parts of the programming language needed for game development. Usually, these do have one or a few small games that are made as the book is read, but the focus is on learning skills and knowledge, not just having a cool game at the end.

I would not recommend the former unless your nephew only has a passing interest in the subject. I would recommend the later if your nephew has a desire to learn to program computers.

You could also go the route of learning a programming language from a general purpose standpoint, and then applying that knowledge to create a game. I would recommend this course of action if your nephew has a strong desire to learn to program, and doesn't mind putting forth the extra effort to learn a programming language. I find that the "Sam's Teach Yourself [Whatever] in [X amount of time]" series works very well in teaching the basics of a programming language. Also, computer science courses would work as well, but they are usually upper high school courses.

Always read the introduction to a book, and possibly the first chapter, before you buy it. The intro will (usually) let you know who the book is and is not for, and what other previous knowledge (if any) is required.

Once he can program something to take input, work on the input, and output the result, then he can just let his imagination go and create whatever he wants.

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Same Here
by gtelliott88 / December 15, 2006 9:40 AM PST

I taught myself to program the same way (except in Biology and with a TI-83). I first programmed my calculator to essentially do my homework for me (teaches user input, manipulation, and output), then made a simple game similar to "Simon Says" (the game in which buttons light up and the user presses the buttons in the order they lighted up). This teaches simple randomization, simple graphics, and simple manipulation of user input.

My next step was to learn to program on a computer. I bought "Visual Basic .NET: For Dummies". I like VB.NET because the code has essentially the same syntax (the words/phrases used to tell the computer what to do) as the TI83. Visual Basic .NET is nice, because it has a feature in which the programmer can simply draw the GUI (Graphical User Interface: what the user sees when using the program), then in the actual code, manipulate the input/output of those objects on the GUI. It is also part of a large group of programming languages (the ".NET Framework"), if your nephew really gets serious with programming, he can later learn all of the .NET Framework languages, and use them together to make very sophisticated programs.

By this time I was in high school. I took a class over Java Programming. Java is useful to learn because it is both Cross-Platform (can work on different operating systems) and Object-Based (Programs contain Objects which in turn have properties and methods that can be called. It allows for good organization of programs). The program used to compile code in Java is also free (which is nice compared to the steep price of Visual Studio .NET). My school offered this course because the Computer Science AP Test is over Java, so if your nephew understands programming well enough, he can even get some cheap college credit.

During this class I also decided that I would like to learn how to write games. I bought a book called ".NET Game Programming with DirectX 9.0". This book was more of a cookbook on how to program. To mix things up a bit I decided to write the first game in the book (Tetris) in Java (in the book it was written in VB.NET). As my final project for my CS class, I crossed the "Tetris" and "Lunar Lander" games to create "Lunar Tetris". While I may not have taken the straight road to game programming, I learned how to do it in about 2 years.

I would highly encourage you to do all you can to teach your nephew to program. Because I learned how to program, I got a job working for the Network Administrator of our local Radiologist and Pathologist offices, I design web pages for side money (HTML was a subtopic in my Java class), and my calculator still does my homework for me.
Hope this helps,
G.T.

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Same here
by nelpasa / December 18, 2006 12:21 AM PST
In reply to: Same Here

thanks a lot!

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Game Maker
by pbruns / March 9, 2007 5:08 AM PST
In reply to: Same here

Hello,

I am a 20yo 3rd year computer science student. Programming games is very tedious and takes lots of programming knowledge first

BUT:

There are a few tools that do the programming for you.

Look into Game Maker (www.gamemaker.nl). It is free to use and you don't require any programming knowledge. All you need to do is look at the tutorials on the company's website and do one or two of them.

The games you can make with this tool are rather good and entertaining

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how do i buy this game software and thank u so much
by chiblinx / March 15, 2007 8:51 PM PDT

i read ur surppot to that guy's nephew i realy appreciate that
i also am in love with programming and web design but i want to know how do i get the soft ware and how do i purchase this books .
how long will it take to reach my country and i dont have a master card so how do i purchase this books.
plz if u have any additional stuff u may want to teach me .
am chinedu from port harcourt.
if u have access to this book u can as well buy for me and tell me how i will refornd u the money since i dont have a master card or any card i can use to buy. thank u very much i like ur tutorial.
chinedu

Message was edited by: admin to remove personal info

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Posting email addresses
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 15, 2007 9:00 PM PDT

It's not wise to post email addresses in these, or any, forums. Robots trawl forums such as these for email addresses so they can be spammed.

Also, I feel it is also unwise to post a telephone number. I am sure you do not want or need unsolicited phone calls.

I have asked Lee the CNET Forum Admin to remove these from your post.

I hope you get a useful reply to your question.

Mark

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Nothing to buy
by mouse8b / March 16, 2007 2:00 AM PDT
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?
by pbruns / March 16, 2007 7:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Nothing to buy

I am not sure what books you are talking about. My post said that Game Maker is a free software that will allow a user to make games without knowledge of programming and this free software can be obtained from www.gamemaker.nl

If you are asking about programming in general: the languages are free to use.

Sorry, but under no circumstances is anyone going to purchase any materials for you and ship them and then expect payment.

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