Programming has become a highly important skill -- but from the outside, it often seems like it would be both difficult and boring to learn. Ask anyone who's a programmer and they'll probably say otherwise, but taking that initial step can be a hurdle for many.
Enter CodeSpells, an open-world video-game that aims to inspire interest in coding -- by having players write their very own magic spells by experimenting with code.
"When we were young, wizards like Gandalf and Dumbledore struck a chord in our minds. We spent hours pretending to be wizards and casting epic imaginary spells. Now, we want to bring that kind of creative freedom to video games. Instead of giving the player pre-packaged spells, CodeSpells allows you to craft your own magical spells. It's the ultimate spellcrafting sandbox," developer ThoughtSTEM wrote on Kickstarter.
"What makes it all possible is code. The game provides a coding interface where you can specify exactly what your spells will do. This interface is intuitive enough for individuals (young and old) who have never coded before. But skilled coders will also enjoy using their coding skills in new and creative ways! Even children can use this interface to make mountains out of the terrain, make an impenetrable force field around yourself, or even make a golem creature out of the surrounding rocks. The sky is the limit!"
The game will offer complete freedom for spellcasting in an open world, with five elemental powers (earth, water, air and fire, each with its own mana bar, and the fifth, life) that you can put together in any combination you desire to create the spells you want. Newcomers can learn by coding "pre-made" spells, using a drag-and-drop language that smooths the learning process, while more advanced users can experiment with writing their own.
The world itself will be procedurally generated, with levels that change over time as you cast your spells on the map. Areas, also, will act more or less the same way they do in the real world; fire will catch on flammable materials, water will flow to the lowest point, altitude will have an effect on the weather, vegetation will grow around water. You can play in these environments, levelling up as your experience grows.
This is the basic sandbox mode, but the team is also building more game modes -- and the ability to create your own, which you can share with your friends, along with the spells you create.
"If you want to make a game about surviving in the wilderness, you'll have all the tools to do that. If you want to create a game mode that's purely about balancing an eco-system, you'll also be able to do that," the team wrote. "You can even create a new multiplayer magic-based sport to play with your friends. You'll be able to share these and discover game modes that other people have create around the world. At the core, CodeSpells is about creative expression. We want you to be able to customize the experience and give you the power to use your magic in the worlds you create."
CodeSpells is currently being offered as a reward for a minimum pledge of $10 on Kickstarter.