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4 Tips To Go From Gamer Kid to Game Programmer

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Since the invention of the video game, it has been a favorite pastime for kids of all ages. The creation of PC and mobile games in the last decade has allowed more kids than ever to connect and play games together. Statista reports that 1 in 5 gamers is under 18 years old and, if you’re a parent, you know that games make up a large part of our kids’ free time.

Professional gaming is on the rise and many kids dream of becoming full time competitive players. E-sports, competitive and organized video game play, has created a profession out of playing games, earning top players over $120 Million in 2019. Gaming is a booming industry that is only getting bigger. 

While few can rise to the top of the professional gaming field, many developers and engineers are required to build each game. Programming games is a lucrative career choice and an imperative part of the gaming industry. For kids and teens, it’s a good time to start learning the skills to join this growing industry. 

There are many aspects of video and mobile game creation including the visual design, storyline, hardware production, and, of course, the code. Kids who have their own creative ideas may be inspired to go beyond just playing and to building their own games. 

A game programmer writes the code that runs the game. Every action or graphic you see in a game, like a player running or collecting items, an object moving right or left, or a simple button click, is a result of code running in the background. To produce a single online game it can take hundreds of developers.

How can your child go from playing games to developing games?

As a parent, this might be new territory if you’re not as interested in games and technology and your child. Here are a few tips to get started:

  1. Learn a Coding Language

Popular game coding languages include C#, C++, Java, Python, and JavaScript. C++, Java, and Python are popular coding languages for video games, with games like Minecraft and Roblox using a combination of these and other languages. Coding can start as early as elementary school with drag and drop programming in Scratch. Having a solid foundation of computer programming knowledge is crucial for any game developer. Luckily there are plenty of options to learn coding such as coding websites, online coding classes, or classes at school if they’re offered. 

  1. Change Code on Games They Already Play

For the games your kids are already obsessed with, they can study the code behind it. In Minecraft, kids can use drag and drop block coding in the Code Builder. In Roblox, kids can use code to customize characters and even build complete games. Studying the code behind their favorite games can be an excellent tool for practicing their game development skills. Popular kids games with code mods include Minecraft, Roblox, Codea, and CodeCombat.

  1. Develop A Simple Game

Sometimes the best way to get started is just to dive in. Kids should try to build a simple game with minimal features to start. There are even free coding for kids resources they can use to do this. They’ll go through the process of planning, coding, and testing a game themselves. Building a simple game will strengthen more than just their coding skills, it also bolsters the critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills that are required to succeed as a game developer. 

  1. Learn About Game Engines

Game engines also allow developers to build games quickly across multiple platforms. Many games run on game engines that provide the tools and framework for game development. These programs can help developers render 2D and 3D graphics, animations, sounds, and much more. There are even game engines that use drag and drop, so no real coding is required. Kids can get familiar with game engines to understand the different parts of a game and how they work together.

Bottom line

For kids who already love to game, encouraging them to learn more about this hobby and create their own games is a great way to help them learn skills that will benefit them now and in the future. When kids learn how to code to develop games, a whole world of other possibilities opens to them. 

Games are the Way to the Future!

So many resources are available now to help kids learn how to code their own games. As a result, it’s easier than ever for kids to become game developers. With the gaming industry continuing to grow exponentially, these skills could also become a lucrative career!

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