Child Game Making Day 1

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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.

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