Child Game Making Day 1

in Events

So we’ve been using a slogan for a while that included our program was easy enough for a child… but how true is that?

I thought about it and I thought: Man, where can we get one of these child things to test this on? At this point, my wife informed me that somewhere along the way, we had ended up with two of them. I know, I know, I was surprised, too! I was like “You mean Sprocket?” but she informed me that no, he was the dog.

So I went exploring through the house and found one of those kid things hanging out in one of those rooms I rarely go in (apparently it was her bedroom). After she assured me that she was indeed a child and not just vertically challenged, I got started teaching her how to use RPG Maker VX Ace!

But first, let’s get an introduction from my daughter herself:

Hi! My name is Kristy, and I’m going to middle school this fall. I have a bunny named Queen, a cat named Fraulein, and a dog named Sprocket. I love the color purple. This summer, I’ll be doing gymnastics and acting. In my free time, I swim, read, and write stories. I also like playing video games. My favorites are Little Big Planet and Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I’m going to like using RPG Maker because I love using my creativity at every opportunity possible.

Kristy is the one who isn't the dog. Yes, I picked this picture because I also wanted to show off my dog.

Kristy is the one who isn’t the dog. Yes, I picked this picture because I also wanted to show off my dog.

For Day 1, we kept things light. First I explained what kind of games it makes. I brought up examples like Pokemon and Dragon Quest, two RPG franchises that she likes. I also talked about what we were going to be doing on the blog. After discussions where my wife told her she was going to be E-Famous, and installing Ace on her laptop (she might be a little bit spoiled, but not as spoiled as Sprocket), we got into looking at the actual maker.

I gave her an overview, going first over what scripts are, not because she will likely use them, but because I believe in a ground up approach to explanations. After that we explored the database tabs one by one explaining what each one did.

Then we got to the part that I always start doing work with on any project, because its really visual and feels like something is getting done: Mapping.

We had gone over Tilesets already in the database, and I asked her what kind of map she wanted to make first. She decided she wanted to go with a world map. So we loaded up a 40×30 tile map with the Field tileset selected and we got going.

I showed her how to use the different tools “Its just like playing with MS Paint!” and she got the hang of fill box, shapes, and using the pencil. Then I explained how VX Ace has layers, but they are all automated, so she can make grass, then put mountains on it, then put a tile B-E tile on top of that.

She decided to make an island. This was where she got to have a little fun instead of just listening to me talk.

She started with a grass outline and filled it in, then she drew a mountain range across it. She told me this was for the heroes to have to cross. We added a huge castle, and then I asked what else she wanted to add and we had this exchange:

An active volcano

What for?

That’s where the Dragon lives. Where else is the Dragon going to live?

So apparently, there is a dragon in her story. She decided that that is what the heroes go over the mountain chain to deal with the dragon that is marauding. But if you think that is the extent of this worlds problems… ah. ha ha.

Next addition she makes

I want to put whirlpools around the island. They are caused by the monster that lives under the entire island. And its going to wake up and destroy the world.

So yeah, that’s where this is going. (Reminds me of the part in Shining Force II where the whole kingdom falls into a huge chasm in the ground.)

After that we added a few more details, and this is what she ended up with:

Map1And that is the end for Day 1. We will keep you tuned in on how well she is handling it from time to time on both the Blog here and on our Facebook, so make sure to keep an eye out! Maybe she will even finish a game that you will want to play.

Have kids of your own? Why not teach one of them to use our program! Or maybe you are a kid yourself, in which case: good luck with your game making! Tell us about your adventures and experiences with children and game making, or just discuss the fun adventure I’m having with my daughter in the comments section below.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Zalerinian

    I am a little concerned that your daughter may be a couch. If it isn’t the dog, the only other viable option is the couch, and I’m not sure how healthy that is, you should see a doctor.

    Anywho, you two managed to make a nice little world map there. She seems to like the idea of everything being demolished by a giant monster, though. Dragons, water monsters, I won’t be surprised when something starts coming from the floating fortress.

    Good luck with your research project 🙂

    • THANKS!

      And yes, she has made dangers. After she said the part about the monster under the island waking up and destroying the world, she even added “DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN”

      • Zalerinian

        I like this daughter of yours. Make sure to keep her.

  • Tabitha

    I got my little brother VX Ace last Christmas. He’s 13 and he loves it. He figured it out pretty quickly on his own. Another testament to kids RPG Maker-ing.

    • That’s awesome, I love hearing about kids getting into things like this. Truefacts: I totally got into trying to do gamedev when I was around 6-7 years old using QuickBasic.

      I love finding things to do with my daughter anyway, so this was a cool project to take on. We also do tabletop RPGing and I help her some with her writing. Mostly just asking her questions. Like “What is that character’s purpose? Why does he want to do X? What makes him act in that way?”. Actually that is most of what I was doing when we were mapping. I asked her WHY things were there, and she came up with reasons.

      • Tabitha

        I try to encourage my brother similarly. I live quite far away from him now and this is something awesome that keeps us in touch. I like hearing him talk about his project, why things are happening in his game, how he gets around a problem with an event.

  • NPC

    Wow, your child is a regular prodigy! That’s a better map than most RMVXAce users can make one their first try!

    • I gave her some tips here and there, like putting the lava-ey stuff under the volcano, and how to place the paths into the mountains. The little lake in front of the Castle was her idea though and I think it turned out nice.

  • What a brilliant idea, my two younger brothers have watched me use RPG Maker since I started using XP. Although one of my brothers moaned that there wasn’t any material for making car games. (poor sheltered brother)

    I’m really looking for to seeing what RPG Maker is like, through the eyes of a child 🙂

  • I also recently installed RPG Maker VX Ace on our 11-year-old’s laptop and then I basically walked away. In 30 days he’s already made three games with some pretty impressive dialog trees and event scripting (he’s LOVES the Yanfly script page… already has a whole party system and NewGame+ thing going that he learned about there). It helps that he’s played a ton of JRPGs over the years (most of the Dragon Quests, Golden Sun, Fire Emblem, ChronoTrigger, etc.) so he likes the genre, but RPG Maker has been really good for him, I think.

  • Devin Watson

    It’s great to see kids use RMVX Ace to make their own games. Your daughter has a great imagination. Children can come up with some amazing stories so quickly it makes George R.R. Martin look like a tortoise.

    Oh, and Sprocket? I’m guessing someone’s a Fraggle Rock fan in the house.

    • Tanner

      I agree with you completely, but seeing as I am a kid myself, I can’t give a valid counterarguement. I haven’t used VX Ace, I have dabbled in the free trail in VX, although my favorite is XP. I still am using the trail, but I am about… 10-20% with my game (I have 10 days left on my trial, I am trying to make this game a long & detailed game :/). Although I have made a fairly basic version of my completed game, I keep going to the blogs and the fourms for new little tricks. Thank you so much for this game-creating software. Your slogan is completely true, I am EASILY able to create a game, albeit a very basic game, and quite short, although when I give it to my father, who is a techno-wizard, I left him, and by the end of the day he made a wonderful game. and he will admit that there are little tricks; some built in, and some you have to search on the fourms for the scripting.

  • I first picked up RPG Maker 2k when I was young, dunno how young, probably not literally a child but before XP came out legally. RPG maker is a very easy to use tool for young’uns, probably the easiest to use game engine, so it’s got that going for it. How old is your kid? I should have introduced my nephew to the software, he’d love it. (but I introduced him to Minecraft instead)

    • Kristy is 11.

      I started writing stuff in Quickbasic myself when I was around 7-8ish. I wasn’t really great with it but I made a few like, text adventures and stuff, so really I think people underestimate what kids can do anyway :P.

      Really, its usually not age its dedication and just the personality of the person that determines what they can accomplish.

  • Ron

    child can make game, I will teach my son make game 😀

  • amerk

    Nice. My daughter is only 3, but she had a blast one day when I put on a Super Mario Bros playthrough on Youtube. She keeps telling me she wants to play my games when she gets older. I don’t think she’s quite there at the stage of developing games, though.

    And there is the core of what makes RM so much fun. When I was younger (prior to the first Final Fantasy game coming out), me and my bros always wanted to make our own maze adventures, after reading some of the pen and paper adventures like Fantasy Quest. We did these on paper, with dice, and it was fun but very limited. While may view RM as a tool to make a high quality commercial adventure, I see it as a tool to cater to my hobby needs, and to give the next generation of siblings something more than a pen and paper.

  • estriole

    rpg maker is good to polish their creativity. my son still 4 years and 2 years old. maybe when they’re older i will also teach them to make games :D.

    i think i will follow your blog as pointer (step by step what to teach first).
    when i decide to teach my son later.
    since i’m not too good at teaching anything… even what i’m good at. :D.

    maybe you could release a guide on how to teach rpg maker to children.
    step by step what to teach them:
    DAY 1 -> Database. Mapping, etc :D. (like your post)
    DAY 2 -> ???
    it doesn’t have to be in one day though :D.

  • Nik

    I came across this page while googling some thing else, concerning RPG Maker. My nephew and I started making games when he was around four years old … he is now eight and we have made three substantial games together, using the RPG Maker program. I have also made games with my cousin who is in sixth grade. As long as you are able and willing to sit with them and be there to answer questions and help them out a little, four is not too young. I think the program is a great way to enhance a child’s palette for expressing themselves and couldn’t help but comment. I normally do not comment like this, but I think this program is truly great for kids. I encourage any one thinking of using the program with their kids to go for it! : )

  • ReddElite

    My little brother works with RMXP a lot and while he’s never released anything, he’s getting a lot better and I can tell that he is getting close to that point.
    I also started when I was about 10. He’s 13 now.

    • We’ve been working off and on on a game, but unfortunately, she has had a ton of extra curricular stuff that gets in the way of doing it regularly. Art and music and theater and oh so many rehearsals and performances.