Flash: Intro for a 10 year old newbie?

Nonothing
Unregistered
 
Post: #1
My son is interested in writing Flash games. He is 10, a fifth grader with no experience programming. He's very bright and comfortable with PCs. (I'm a techie, and we have PCs running WinXP, Win2K, and Linux - I assume he'll use XP).

Although I program, I have not done any graphics stuff ever, and have not even played computer games since Ms. Packman was a bar arcade game. I'm at a loss - how does he:
- learn Flash?
- learn programming?
- learn to program games?

Since this is something he wants badly, I would like to make this a positive experience for him. I'm clueless how toi start. I'm thinking
- I should find a book on Flash (does anyone have any recommedations? Are there any appropriate for a preadolescent?)
- any other ideas? Web tutorials or somesuch?

I would really appreciate hearing from anyone about how they learned Flash at a young age....

Thanks!
Quote this message in a reply
Apprentice
Posts: 14
Joined: 2008.10
Post: #2
Nonothing Wrote:My son is interested in writing Flash games. He is 10, a fifth grader with no experience programming. He's very bright and comfortable with PCs. (I'm a techie, and we have PCs running WinXP, Win2K, and Linux - I assume he'll use XP).

Although I program, I have not done any graphics stuff ever, and have not even played computer games since Ms. Packman was a bar arcade game. I'm at a loss - how does he:
- learn Flash?
- learn programming?
- learn to program games?

Since this is something he wants badly, I would like to make this a positive experience for him. I'm clueless how toi start. I'm thinking
- I should find a book on Flash (does anyone have any recommedations? Are there any appropriate for a preadolescent?)
- any other ideas? Web tutorials or somesuch?

I would really appreciate hearing from anyone about how they learned Flash at a young age....

Thanks!

If you've got Flash MX, the included tutorials are an excellent introduction. Amazon has tons of books for Flash, and many game oriented ones. The thing is, in order to do any games, he would have to learn ActionScript. It is a fairly simple scripting language similar to JavaScript, but the difficult part of any programming is figuring out the algorithms.

F.Y.I., this is a Mac programming board. There may be better/simpler programs for making games on Windows (one I've heard of was Klik'n'Play), so you may wish to seek out a Windows oriented web site similar to iDevGames.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 304
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #3
http://www.flashkit.com/index.shtml is a great place for tutorials and actionscript code snippets. But google around there are a ton of flash developer sites. And as XxtraLarGe says - there are also lots of books written just for Flash game devlopment - putting "flash game development" in the Amazon search field pulled up 4 or 5.

good luck!
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 508
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #4
Any book from "Friends of ed" is good. There is even a book specificaly on creating games.

Now, creating games, even on Flash, is not like drawing a circle on a piece of paper. So your 10 year old son should at least have some experience in basic math and start thinking in terms of objects.

On the PC, there are other ways to create gamesby just dragging and clicking and setting some attributes, so that you don't need to learn a programming language. You might wanna start looking for that.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 529
Joined: 2003.03
Post: #5
Nonothing Wrote:My son is interested in writing Flash games. He is 10, a fifth grader with no experience programming. He's very bright and comfortable with PCs. (I'm a techie, and we have PCs running WinXP, Win2K, and Linux - I assume he'll use XP).

Does he specifically want to write the games in Flash? Or does he just want to write games?
Quote this message in a reply
Nonothing
Unregistered
 
Post: #6
He has always been interested in game programming, but has no programming background. He generally plays flash games and specifically wants to do flash programming (a friend of his' older brother is learning flash, which gave him impetus) - but has no clue what that means. He has never programmed - not even Logo, is very bright, very good at math and spacial concepts and abstraction for a 10 year old. I want to let him do what he wants, and only want to redirect him if people feel the complexity will demoralize him.

I suspect he'll do just fine if he starts with something that gives lots of interesting feedback - making stuff move or react the first few times he fiddles with it, so he can get past the syntax (and that whole concept of a programming language) hurdle.
Quote this message in a reply
Apprentice
Posts: 14
Joined: 2008.10
Post: #7
Nonothing Wrote:He has always been interested in game programming, but has no programming background. He generally plays flash games and specifically wants to do flash programming (a friend of his' older brother is learning flash, which gave him impetus) - but has no clue what that means. He has never programmed - not even Logo, is very bright, very good at math and spacial concepts and abstraction for a 10 year old. I want to let him do what he wants, and only want to redirect him if people feel the complexity will demoralize him.

I suspect he'll do just fine if he starts with something that gives lots of interesting feedback - making stuff move or react the first few times he fiddles with it, so he can get past the syntax (and that whole concept of a programming language) hurdle.

There at least one reason why I wouldn't recommend Flash, unless you've already got it. The new version (Flash MX 2004 costs $499). If you've already got it, no worries there then.

Still, game programming isn't trivial, even with a tool like Flash. If you're still really interested though, you should go to Macromedia's web site and post this same discussion on the Flash developer boards. You probably won't get many encouraging responses.

That's why I would still recommend going to a Windows game developer site similar to iDevGames. This site is dedicated to creating games on the Macintosh. There are many game making tools out there for Windows, and you would probably get a lot better response + better information on one of those sites.

Also, there's a game for the PS2 called "RPG Maker 2" which looks pretty cool, and would probably be much easier to create games with. Still, a PS2 + RPG Maker 2 is still a lot cheaper than Flash. Best of luck to you and your son!
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 304
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #8
Nonothing Wrote:is very bright, very good at math and spacial concepts and abstraction for a 10 year old. I want to let him do what he wants, and only want to redirect him if people feel the complexity will demoralize him.

no no - encourage the lad! You can do a lot in Flash without actionscript. And you can download lots of pre-written scripts to use - and to pull apart and see how they work.

If the price of MX is too high for you (and I cant blame you for that) - then encourage him to experiment with one of the Basic type languages or one of the "game construction kit" type apps.

And when he starts creating cool stuff come back and post a link so we can all see how a 10yo is kicking our asses! Smile
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 608
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #9
Since the kid is 10 you can get the education discount. If you buy from the Academic Superstore, then it is only like $75. Macromedia is very nice to students Smile
Quote this message in a reply
xype
Unregistered
 
Post: #10
I think Flash is the right environment for him to start. ActionScript allows for pretty fast feedback, no need to write tons of "framework" code before things start to work. You can simply draw a ball, make a Movie instance (F8 I think) of it and add something like

MovieInstanceName._x =+ 10;

into a for loop and the thing moves. It also allows to make animations (jumping ball) and start/stop them depending on where the ball is, for example

if (Ball._x > 100) {
Ball.gotoAndPlay ("bounce");
}

If the frame where the ball bounces is named "bounce".

Not that hard, instant results and the syntac is C-like and sneakingly introduces the boy to Object Oriented concepts Smile
Quote this message in a reply
tijurka
Unregistered
 
Post: #11
If you want to start him off on a basic game-making tool with a simple scripting language-- you might want to download SilverCreator free of charge. It's for Mac though so assuming you use Windows it won't work unless you happen to have OS X in the house.

http://www.silvernetwork.net/

- tijurka

EDIT: You could also use Multimedia Fusion, which works with Windows XP. http://www.clickteam.com/English/multimedia_fusion.htm
It's $99 US I bought it a version 1 and thought it was great! You can check the features. It has no real scripting language-- it runs using a "storyboard," but it includes lots of examples.
Quote this message in a reply
Iron Wallaby
Unregistered
 
Post: #12
The trouble is, that there is difficulty in getting a language that's A) easy to learn, B) compatible with modern coding techniques (ie BASIC gives bad habits), and C) has easily accessible graphics routines.

I think LOGO would be a good introduction, to help him understand the way a computer processes information (step-by-step). Above that, it rapidly gets complicated... I think Python is probably the best language to learn to program in though; the downside is there arent any graphics (built it, anyway). You have to crawl before you can walk, but for a 10 year old it's more fun to get immediate results... Flash could very well be a good way to go, if pricey and a bit difficult to get into -- of course, for a student, you could easily obtain an educational discount, and if he's dedicated he can do it.

BASIC is the defacto way to go, but I don't know any decent BASIC's for Windows or Linux. I always just go with C / C++ on those, heh. Perl is quite nice on Linux though, but it may be a bit tricky to get into immediately.
Quote this message in a reply
xype
Unregistered
 
Post: #13
Flash also has the added benefit that he can "publish" his game on a website and get into the Flash community pretty fast (and also get help there). Anyhow, I've seen people first learning ActionScript and then going to HTML/JavaScript and PHP scripting without much trouble (Mac using graphic designers who used to study architecture!) so I don't think it's a bad start.

LOGO and BASIC were just completely useless for me in the "real world", although fun at first. But the amount of multi-media effects Flash provides is like iTMS versus Kazaa. Instant gratification versus try to get _something_ drawn.
Quote this message in a reply
AREM
Unregistered
 
Post: #14
It is relativley easy to teach toung people to program stuff, I am only eleven myself, and I think I'm pretty good Rolleyes
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply