My 11 year old son is looking for some software that can help him design games, mainly building world with characters. He's had a look at some of the free stuff out there but it doesn't seem to be what he's looking for. I'm just wondering if anyone out there can recommend anything free or paid for. He's quite technical and has started playing around with coding, programing and scripts but at a very basic level. I am an IT technician but I only deal with fixing things and installing things so any advice would be gratefully received.
Thanks in advance
Depends on what you mean by making games I guess, is it the actual coding/programming he wants to do? or is it more the high-end bits, aka design/gameplay etc?
One of our support schools uses this: GameMaker: Studio™ Free | YoYo Games
Combines bit more coding than flash stype, but can work on multiple devices etc too on the free one (Is paid for too if you like it)
You could have a look at Kodu?
As @Steve21 said, depends what he is looking at/thinking of in terms of game creation, but a good learning route for coding might be Java...
Greenfoot is a very smart gaming API for beginner coders.
Something like BlueJ or straight into Netbeans to follow?
Opens up the world of Android coding and in turn the Ouya console is looking interesting.
Java is fully Object Oriented and what a lot of Uni's prefer to start on (or was when I went through uni) before launching into C/C++.
I'm not sure Kodu allows for custom characters. [I haven't looked at it further than a quick network test.]
Originally Posted by Oaktech
@purpleoakley what sort of game are you thinking of? Something 3D would probably be a bit too much if done [completely] from scratch. But a 2D platform type game could be good.
Thanks for the replys and ideas.
As far as I can gather from him he wants to do the design and gameplay. I think the programming and coding is something he likes to play around with. He's very into Minecraft, he's played with java and has been using python in school.
It's quite difficult at the moment he knows what he wants to do but has no idea where to get started. I'll look into all your suggestions with him and then he can decide what it is he actually wants to do.
Scratch is nearly always the best starting point, though it may be he finds it too simple - it's free and small to download, though, so worth a go. Loads of resources about for it as well.
Could also have a look at XNA Game Studio: Xbox LIVE Indie Games - xbox live indie games development
Microsoft push it as indie development for the Xbox 360, but I'm pretty sure you can run the games on Windows too. He should be able to get free membership as a student.
You could give Unity - Game Engine a try.
Otherwise if he's really into RPGs, I remember Neverwinter Nights 2 had a fantastic editor/game creator, along with Skyrim/Elder Scrolls series.
Depending on what exactly his aims are, I'd suggest you grab a dirt-cheap copy of Unreal Tournament (GOTY Edition) off Steam and let him mess around the the Unreal Engine.
I remember fondly the days of UT99 where I'd be designing whole new, fantastic environments. Roaring waterfalls, mountains as tall as the eye could see, forests, destroyed cities and even outer-space starships..
(Or at least, that was my aim. I seldom ever finished a map I designed. Shame, really..)
It works 'straight-out-of-the-box' and has gained lots of credibility over the years, and the old UT99 UnrealEd I wouldn't say is too complicated. I was 13 at the time, admittedly, so depending on how quickly your son can get to grips with things, those two years might make all the difference.
Either way, I'd say it gives wonderful insight into the creation of in-game environments. Although there might be better options from newer titles, those might be a little too advanced for him, although I haven't really done much on this topic in quite some time, and I obviously don't know your kid, so it's not my call.
Just my 2 cents.
+1 to this - he's going to struggle to do anything with level/character design without a base to build upon, which if he's more in to the design side rather than the programming is going to completely ruin his fun. With the Unreal Engine he can do all the design work he likes and drop it straight in to a playable environment. Along similar lines, he might like to look at the Source (Half Life) engine.
Originally Posted by Garacesh
To add further, I would recommend you do not even attempt both at once. As an ex-Unreal Engine modder (albeit amateur at best), once I was comfortable using solids, semi-solids, sheets, actors and movers, I found it difficult to wrap my head around clipnodes, func_walls and the such like of Valve's Hammer editor. Both engines are very, very different and this will cause serious confusion, even in older, more experienced modders.
Originally Posted by LosOjos
@Garacesh - yes! Definitely pick one and focus on it, whichever he prefers the look of