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8 yr old game designer needs some tools

I was approached by by nephew yesterday asking for some recommendations on tools to start translating some of his ideas into videogames.

Any good recommendations on which programs can help a newbie get rolling in that direction aside from what you see in Game Developer Magazine (http://www.gdmag.com/homepage.htm)?

Hal
Monday, June 21, 2004

I've heard people recommend something called "DarkBASIC".  I don't know exactly what it is, but it might be worth googling.

pickle
Monday, June 21, 2004

Might be too much for an 8-yr old, but his uncle should be able to make something happen:

http://www.pygame.org/

Tom H
Monday, June 21, 2004

Be sure to check out the thread from January for some helpfule ideas:

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=24608

CF
Monday, June 21, 2004

Try http://www.gamemaker.nl/

a cynic writes...
Monday, June 21, 2004

Ah, found what I was looking for.

Check out:

http://developer.byond.com/

I forget the article on slashdot, but they mentioned this as a good intro to programming games for children and adults. Their site seems to have gotten a little harder to navigate though.

CF
Monday, June 21, 2004

Darkbasic is a pretty poor product from a professional programmers POW. At least it was when I last looked at it a few years ago. If coding is really what the kid wants, I'd suggest blitzbasic or purebasic.

I suspect that flash or director might be better in this case though. At least if you can get a hold of a used or discounted license. (Director is expensive, but is stronger performancewise)

3d game studio might be another option -->
http://www.conitec.net/a4info.htm

Eric Debois
Monday, June 21, 2004

POW?

Point of... Weasels?

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Monday, June 21, 2004

Get him a bicycle for chrissakes! He's only 8!

.
Monday, June 21, 2004

the blender project is in the process of reactivating their game engine. http://www.blender.org/

MyNameIsSecret();
Monday, June 21, 2004

Nothing wrong with learning how to program at 8.  That's when I wrote my first basic program.  He might be retired by 25. 

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Monday, June 21, 2004

Toontalk, a visual programming environment, designed to feel like a game itself, that lets kids program their own games.  Incredibly cool.  I used this program to teach programming concepts to some inner city 10 and 11 year olds.  (It was much better for that purpose than the Logo variants, which I tried first before I turned to Toontalk.)    The kids I had were a bit behind grade-level; a clever 8 year old would have no problem and could create some really neat stuff:

www.toontalk.com

Examples of games some kids have built with Toontalk:

http://www.ioe.ac.uk/playground/gameplace/index.html

Herbert Sitz
Monday, June 21, 2004

So did I. In the same language. And I am 27. Not retired. But very very tired.

.
Monday, June 21, 2004

Try to get hold of an old version of Asymetrix Toolbook around v3 will do. e-bay is your friend.

Karel
Monday, June 21, 2004

I second Herberts vote for toon talk.
http://www.toontalk.com/english/toontalk.htm

Doug Withau
Monday, June 21, 2004

Just tell him to try outsourcing. :-P

Wisea**
Monday, June 21, 2004

They must try PureBasic http://www.purebasic.org .

Ged Byrne
Monday, June 21, 2004

An 8-yr old will not design a game. Stop encouraging such stupid expectations. Get him out playing with his friends.


Monday, June 21, 2004

http://www.purebasic.com

It was late last night.

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Just to clear up some comments from confused participants... The 8 yr old was told it was not as easy as dragging and dropping a few icons then pressing a button labeled "Make Game".  He still wanted to do it.  I told him it would takes lots of effort and many times be frustrating since it will not be anywhere near what he is currently playing.  He still wanted to do it.

I think a few people might have forgotten what that is, but I call that creative desire.

Hal
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I'd say desire in a child to do almost anything other than sitting around, playing video games, or watching TV should be strongly encouraged...especially if it's something creative.

And who says he can't do it?  I wrote my first game when I was just two years older than him...and wrote my first commercially distributed game just two years after that.

Dave

Dave
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I did not mean to be harsh. Sorry!

4 to 12 is the age that children learn and grow the fastest and the most. Almost anything else in later life will be based on the 'core personality' that the child develops then.

As long as he eats his veggies, meets friends (in person), breaks a few bones, laughs a lot after playing silly pranks and is scared of fire, he can develop Doom V.  But I've seen game programming is about as introverted and as addictive as playing video games.

.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I say, get him the same development system as everybody else is using for a given platform (MSDev? on win32, C#?, Apple's XCode, gcc/make on Linux, ...).  Or at least let him know that these sorts of high-end environments exist, for when he grows out of whatever hold-your-hand language you want to give him first, which he will, and probably sooner than you think.

When I was that age, I had a C=64, and quickly realized that BASIC sucked for writing real programs, so I taught myself assembly.  Don't underestimate kids!

If it was me, I'd maybe turn him loose on a Linux box with Python or C# or something like that, and not because I'm a Linux zealot.  Linux has the advantage that virtually everything you could want is free -- not just languages and libraries, but also sample code for all types of games.  Remember, many (most?) programs start by modifying some existing program -- if you show him some already-working games with source code, who knows what he'll be able to do with them?

Also, being an experienced Linux/Python/C#/... hacker could be quite valuable ($$$) in a couple years for him.

happy hacker
Friday, June 25, 2004

Dont wast his time with toys or hard to understand smultz .Conitec 3D Game Studio is the easy way to go. its a pro quality tool . I started with [ A5 standard] I had no idea what I had . without internet conection I was unaware of the vast resourses ,free tutorials ,Dounloads, code [dont be afraid its freandly],I could go on and on. go to the website it is the BEST of the BEST in the last couple Aknec user magazine [ FREE DOUNLOAD get them all ] preveiwed a project  by two Boys in the same age group. And the best for last I have never seen questionable content on the website.                have fun      ted

ted towne
Monday, June 28, 2004

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