Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Father-Son Video Game Creation

Following on from my last article, and my continuing interest in Clojure, my son and I have begun working on a game together. He's still too young to learn much about programming (although at least by seeing me do it, he gets exposed to the concept), so he's doing the art and design decisions, while I handle the actual coding.

Of course at first he wanted the game to be called "Minecraft 2" and take place in space, but I only have any interest in writing 2D games. Luckily I was able to sell him on 2D as well, by pointing out that we'd have to make a flat game, since he only knew how to draw flat pictures. An irrefutable argument! So, we settled on a Mario-like platforming game, though naturally it will still need to have a block world, diamonds, potions, and skeletons that you can attack with a bow and arrow.

So far things are going well (I'm using the libGDX-based play-clj engine and basing my project on the Super Koalio example), but writing a game in partnership with a six year-old brings some non-technical challenges that I hadn't anticipated. What's a programmer to do when provided with this for a specification?

His spoken explanations aren't much better, as everything seems to change radically every time he opens his mouth. For instance, yesterday the main character was supposed to be James himself (or his sister, for player two); today, he's decided that it should be a flower. (Because he knows how to draw flowers, and is afraid that if he draws himself "it will look a bit rubbish.") That said, he's super enthusiastic, and actually very easy to please, so we're having a lot of fun together, which, of course, is the real point.

Posted by jon at 7:05 PM in Fatherhood 

Comments on this entry:

Left by Mom/Grandma at Tue, 24 Feb 8:12 PM

Fantastic! Keep us posted on how this evolves. Imagination, Learning, Art, in a Father-Son collaboration- really cool! I want this for my PS3 someday!

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