Game programming for kids

Post: #1
hi folks. new to the list here, and an admitted neophyte when it comes to any kind of programming. my 11-year-old is interested in game design, and i was wondering if anyone knows of a OS X 'drag-and-drop' style program that will be easily understood and give quick results to a young man.

darrell adams
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Joined: 2002.04
Post: #2
If you can endure Mac OS 9, I suggest Klik&Play - I'm pretty sure it has been discontinued by the publisher/developer, but you should be able to locate a download on a couple of abandonware sites if you do a few searches.

I've no experience with these, but there are also The Green Machine or iGame3D (the latter of which requires scripting.)

Elsewise, I'm pretty sure ColdStone is the nearest equivalent, but limited to the role-play genre.
I'm not sure of any others.

(By the way, aren't these all in the FAQ anyway?)

Mark Bishop
Student and freelance OS X & iOS developer
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Post: #3
A good basic language to learn would be TNT Basic. It's not drag and drop but it is certainly something an 11 year old could get some basic games built with. There are some good starting examples at the TNT Basic site to work through that would get him going almost immediately.
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Joined: 2010.11
Post: #4
If he/she has a firm grasp of math (maybe even algebra) try Metal Basic (free, unlike Coldstone and TNT, ~4MB), I'v been using it since I was 9. Also if you want a good tutorial check out (I helped with the Tile engine tutorial) and there is a great support forum right here at iDG!
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Post: #5
Yes, I'd definitely teach the kid BASIC or perhaps the kid could teach him/herself BASIC. I learned BASIC when I was ten and it did give me a basic grasp of programming. The kid has some good dreams there. I was and still am in the same boat. I'd like to become a game designer and learning programming.

But remember, a game designer is more about communicating ideas than anything else.
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Post: #6
Quote:Originally posted by sealfin
(By the way, aren't these all in the FAQ anyway?)

The FAQ wiki has been down for some time as we're moving it on to our server. However I'm working on it at the moment and it should be available again soon. The current faq button in the forums takes you to the faq for the forum.

Once its back I'm sure we'll make some sort of announcement.

Justin "LordFire" Baldock
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Post: #7
11 is about the age I learned BASIC (with 16k of memory!). I would also recommend TNT BASIC. It has some little tutorials, and is still under development. (METAL is good, but has a developer that is a tad MIA at the moment.)

I would also recommend ColdStone Engine from AmbrosiaSW. It is geared towards RPGS, but is more click and play. It does have some bug issues and I also hear that development on it has either stopped, or gone to a crawl.

Next I recommend Stagecast Creator. (
I have seen a site made by teens with classics like Frogger made with this tool.


Carlos A. Camacho,
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Post: #8
Coldstone is ok, but like all other wizard creation tools it sacrifices flexibility and doesn't really give preparation for other programming languages. I would also reccomend TNT Basic, as it is a bit simpler than Metal, though if you want to be able to do text based things Metal is better.
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Post: #9
Also, one of the best ways to get into programming is to modify finished programs. Get a hold of the source to a basic game, and try to change it in small ways. It's a great way to get a feel for what it takes and how stuff works.
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Post: #10
You can try GameMaker
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Post: #11
Yeah! GameMaker! I love that thing. My friends always got so frustrated by my games where over other button quit. It was a do-it-right-or-start-over philosophy. Heheh. Actually, it was just really poor design.

I never finished WaaGame 3. It was supposed to be an epic rivaling the length of the previous two combined. WaaGame 1: You Wake To Find Yourself a Banana, WaaGame 2: You Wake To Find Yourself a Bean (with much appreciated art by my cousin Phil), and WaaGame 3: You Wake To Find Yourself a Hot Adventurer Chick.

Ah, the memories... Along with Fnuh, which gave you two options: to pick or not pick your nose. That was the extent of the game.

I should stick with such simple things. And I will if I bother to finish learning Cocoa and ObjC. It's called The Masters Series and that's all I can say...
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Post: #12
If this is going to be something he will be expecting results quickly or won't be into it for long go for one of those drag and drop things. If this is something you expect him to be able to stick with start him on BASIC. I taught myself BASIC from some books in the public library when I was eight. It's pretty easy.
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Post: #13
Anybody know if "The (even more) Incredible Machine" is available for Mac OS X?

15.4" MacBook Pro revA
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Joined: 2002.06
Post: #14
No idea, but that game/thing is awesome!
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