Learning to code can be tricky, sometimes like a puzzle to solve. At times you get stuck. It helps to have a project you really want to get working. It can help you to keep you going to overcome your problems. Part one of this book gives you a structured start to give you the basics and part two encourages you to start your own project and to use some commons game elements that we explain.
As we make our games on the web in code playgroungs (see below). It means that we can easily share our coding creations as part of web pages. You'll be able to share your creations with friends and family.
- a great way to get started making a simple 2D arcade style game
- a fun way to find out about the basics of the coding process
- a partner guide to support more hands-on collaborative workshops
This book has limits! It's a short book that you can progress through quickly. Here are some of the things that we don't cover;
- more advanced 3D approaches to game making or any role playing elements
- a systematic way to learn a programming language (we pick up concepts when we need them)
- a complete guide to the most advanced approaches to writing game using the Phaser code library
Retro games have come back into fashion. Parents play them with children and they are fun and easy to play on home computer, consoles and especially on your phone. They are a great way to start learning how to make digital games.
This book will help you create a game in a step by step way adding different game features along the way. It is inspired by and guided by some great tutorials that are out there on various websites. Particularly the work of Richard Davey at Phaser, end3r, Belen Albeza and Chris Mills at Mozilla and Thomas Palef at lessmilk.com.
This book uses Glitch our working and learning space for games. At Glitch.com you have an editing area for your code on one tab of the browser and a preview area on another tab. We can also see our code side by side. This kind of website is called a Code Playground. Using Code Playgrounds skips having to set your own website and importanly they let you type in some web code and you can see a preview of the resulting webpage immediately. This quick feedback is great for beginner coders. We can see straight away when we have something right or when we have made a mistake that need correcting.
How we learn is described in more detail in a chapter in the Appendix but here it is in a nutshell. We learn by;
However, we think that the combination of tools like Phaser and Code Playgrounds and Encouraging Facilitation bring the process of making fun, accessible games with our reach even if you haven't already done some coding using other tools. Here are some ofthe tactics that we use to help you through the process.
Richard Davey is the lead coder on the phaser project. There are two main versions of Phaser in use Phaser 2 and Phaser 3. This book looks at Phaser 2 as it is a bit easier to start to learn. One thing that the community of people using Phaser to make games is very good at is sharing how they do it and helping others who get stuck. There are some fantastic resources available for free. A lot of these resources are available on the main Phaser website.There is also an online forum for when you get stuck as well here - http://www.html5gamedevs.com/forum/14-phaser-2/
There are some great games out there made with Phaser which we can look to for some inspiration. Here are a few of our favourites.
Dork Squad: Can you (and a partner) save the world from robots. Have you got what it takes?
Grooow: Platformer game with puzzle elements! Pick up all the dots to advance to the next level.
But be careful! The more you pick up, the heavier and bigger you get, and thus it'll be more difficult to move and jump!
Cybertank: Guide the tank through the levels to collect the cubes and escape. Great sounds and retro graphics here.
Knife Hit: This game is created as part of a fantastic tutorial. It's a bit advanced for beginners but is definately worth checking out.
This guide is offered originally as a support to group work. As such it contains group starter and reflection activities. These are included at the end of this book in the appendix so as not interfere with the flow of someone working through this book to teach themselves.
We see playing around with existing games and promoting a playful curious approach as a great way to reduce learner anxiety. While the focus of this guide is to work through code examples and to undertake coding challenges, there are also group activities described which help to introduce concepts to do with game making and coding in a accessible and non-digital way. The motivation is to provide an accessible gateway into the culture and language used for game making for those who do not feel part of a digital maker or coding culture. This approach is explored with activities in the appendix;
Drama Games - Turning on the Tap
These games are designed to help reduce anxiety of participants starting a new and unfamiliar activity, to get communication and energy going as a group. They often involve a bit of sillyness and they are definately a way of the facilitator to put themselves out there and make a connection to the group and to show that while we'll be learning useful skills this is not a place to be too serious.
Playful Attitudes to Learning & Reflection
The work on a playful approach to studies is key to the game making course of club that this book was written to support. Jesse Schell defines a game as “a problem-solving activity, approached with a playful attitude". And when it comes to keeping a hold of what we have picked up and communicating it with the others in our group, sometimes that can just feel like hard work. This chapter in the appendix is a work in progress where we keeping a record our out attempts to do this.
Learning to code by creating your own games is always going to have some ups and downs. If you are worried you are going to get stuck. We would reccomend trying out the exercises in this book and the challenges together with someone else. Maybe someone in your family or a friend. That way you can get past some of the challenges without getting to frustrated.
In addition to coding and game making, there are other skills that you may pick up through making games, especially if you do it with other people. These are explored more in the next chapter but include problem solving, communication and collaboration skills, computational, systems and design thinking approaches.
Read on to start the adventure.
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