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Kids Summer Camps ?

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My son, age 10, has a lot of interest in designing and programming computer games. There are a couple options in my area for about the same price for a 5 day summer camp. They use two different applications. Which do you think will help him the most or should we stick with something like scratch and c# self study?

[b][size=4]Option1: [url=""]RPG Game Design & Graphic Arts Hybrid[/url][/size][/b]

Sample two awesome topics in one course. Start by creating your own Role Playing Game (RPG), Arcade or Platform game, then design a custom package for your game. Using Clickteam®[b] Multimedia Fusion 2 Developer[/b]®, Adobe® Photoshop® and Adobe Illustrator®, you'll not only learn game design, but graphic art fundamentals as well. This hybrid camp is perfect for students interested in sampling two courses.

[size=4][b]Option2: Adventures in 2D & 3D Game Creation[/b][/size]

Create both 2D and 3D games from a variety of types of games (including action, adventure, platform & side-scrollers) or invent a new one. Design your own characters, backgrounds and sounds, or use content from existing libraries. Using [b]Multimedia Fusion 2[/b]™ and [b]Platinum Arts Sandbox 3D Game Maker[/b]©, campers will discover both 2D and 3D game-development concepts like game planning, path-based movement, collision detection, level design, dialogue, inventory and playability.
This digital media computer camp will teach young minds how to think critically and work together in a team environment. Students help each other play-test games and may even choose to work together on a project. They complete the week-long experience with a finished project that they get to take home and can continue to play and develop, as well as show off to family and friends.

any advice is most appreciated.

best regards

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Both options teach 2d game creation using Multimedia fusion. Option 1 also goes into Photoshop and Illustrator (2d graphic design software) where as Option 2 goes into 3d game creation. Depends on what he wants to learn.

I'm unfamiliar with Multimedia Fusion and Platinum Arts Sandbox, but they both look like game making software. He most likely won't learn much / any programming in these classes, but it could be a fun introduction to things he could learn later. Starting off with C#, he will spend much time just writing console applications (text based) which may not be that fun for a young programmer.

That said, if the end goal is to learn how to create games in a real programming language, something that could help him land a job later on then forget about these and start going through C# tutorials. A good compiler is Visual Studio C# express.

I'm a little torn on the next step he should take. On the one hand there's XNA which is a bit lower level and will teach him more stuff. Plus it seems to be easier to go 2d. On the other hand there's Unity3D which is easier to use because it provides a lot of stuff right out of the box, but its mainly geared towards 3d game development which adds an extra degree of complexity. You can create 2d games but it's not ideal.

At this point he'll have enough knowledge to decide by himself what steps he should take next. Both XNA and Unity will allow him to create almost any game he could think of (of course within hardware limitations),

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Multimedia Fusion 2 is a great product to learn game development. I started with Klik & Play ages ago, moved on to The Games Factory, Jamagic and Multimedia Fusion. I did use Multimedia Fusion 2 for a period of time. Klik & Play, The Games Factory, Jamagic, and Multimedia Fusion were all made by Clickteam. I now work as a professional software engineer. So you can safely ignore AdrianC about "forgetting" these tools, as it is how I got MY start and my work with them helped me land a job! One of the reasons I taught myself C++ was to make extensions for Multimedia Fusion. The notion of "real" programming languages is complete nonsense. Visual systems will still teach problem solving techniques and programming concepts!

I have developed technical courses for summer camps in both Multimedia Fusion and Game Maker. Multimedia Fusion has an event system where you can program using a visual approach which is contrasted to Game Maker which has a visual approach but the real power is done through GML. I have also worked with Game Maker for teaching game programming to middle school students.

I will say that I did not have much luck with teaching 3D game techniques or C#. It is very difficult to get very far with using C# in the time period available and some students struggle with the locations of keys (typing ability is extremely important) where as visual systems remove this roadblock. I love C# and it is a great language, but it might not be right for everyone, especially younger audiences.

3D can lead to very high expectations and in my experience students can become frustrated when they are not able to make WoW in a few days... Also the need for models and the relative complexity in creating them can lead to difficulties...

If I was going to do anything involving 3D I might be more keen to go for Alice as a way to compliment the game development component. Also in my work we had great success but incorporating lego mindstorms with our game maker work. Lego mindstorms allows more active students to move around, encourages team work, and allows for "real world" results with programming which some students really like. In my mind I think a combo of Game Maker/MMF, Alice, and Legos is a good combination to expose a wide range of programming applications and creativity.

I will say this about BOTH options. Five days is NOTHING. I am also dubious about the lofty goals of both programs (an RPG really?). Option 2 sounds like they would move so quick as to not really provide an understanding of much of anything... Option 1 sounds more reasonable but I am still a bit concerned by the short time span. I think the mix of art and programming is nice though. But as mentioned it depends on his interest.

Just my two cents. Edited by shadowisadog

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