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Ghi102

An engine to use with teens with no programming knowledge

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Hi, I am organizing a two week daycamp for a group of around 30 teens aged 14-17 due for this summer. In this daycamp, I plan to create a game with them, using their own models and textures. This daycamp has already been done using the Blender Game Engine.

 

The problem right now, is that the Blender Game Engine (and Blender, in general) is fairly hard to use. Most of the two weeks is concentrated on learning the program to make basic models and it leaves little room to actually program the game.

 

So I was wondering, is there an engine or program that can be used to make a 3D game (that is a requirement), that is fairly easy to use, requires no programming knowledge (or very little). The engine or program has to be free, or cost very little. Bonus points if the program has an in-game model builder.

 

I am looking for something that will shorten the time needed to learn the program and make it easy to make games that can also scale and be relatively easy to use by 30 teens with different backgrounds (most with no or little programming language). I don't really want to have to teach Javascript, C# or C++ to the 30 teens, so I need something that has visual scripting or simple drag-and-drop tools.

 

Does a program like that exist?

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If you are looking for something with a visual scripting language, I would take a look at Unreal 4.  Epic just made it free for everyone and it has a visual scripting setup called "blueprints" that does an amazing job.

Edited by ByteTroll

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I started with Maratis 3D(http://forum.maratis3d.org). Uses Lua(Easy to use Language) and the api is simple. Free MIT liscense. My issue was it had fewer features than I liked.

The one I use now is Godot(http://www.godotengine.org/wp/). Steeper learning curve though. Unity has a steep learning curve, but I think they have more support.

Edited by Tutorial Doctor

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Why did you aim to make a 3D computer game with 14-17 year old people in two days? That does not sound like something that was thought through! Is it too late to change plans?

It can be done.

 

Unreal is honestly your best choice for visual set up. But uh... have fun getting the models to work.

There is also game maker. But you need sprites.

And... Unity is very quick to set something up in a few hours. But it requires programming.

 

 

The sad truth is, you can't get out of any evil.

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Let me start by saying that I am speaking from a position of experience in this field. I have written technical training for summer camps, taught for three years a summer camp teaching game design/programming using Game Maker, and currently mentor high school students in using Game Maker to design and build computer games.

 

...

 

 

Now I think about it... Game maker used to have a tutorial on making a game that was a plane scrolling arcade game. Also a platformer.

 

You should be able to find sprites all over the internet. Just remind students that they won't be expecting to make a profit.

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The 3D requirement makes this tricky. Ordinarily I'd suggest something like GameMaker or Scratch, but that's not so great with 3D. Unity and Unreal can do quite a bit of drag and drop stuff, but they pretty quickly run into limitations.

 

Alternately, if I were asked to specifically teach programming, I'd start the students out on Processing and build towards using its 3D facilities. But that doesn't help you much.

 

I did find this article that might be helpful:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/182860/suck_at_coding_but_make_games_.php

 

I expect that whatever you end up doing will probably require you to do some prep work to prepare the basic engine and tools setup beforehand.

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