Most people often think that kids waste their time and energy playing video games. While this holds some truth, video games can be a creative outlet for young minds. Most children with interests in video games often have similar interests in designing these games. With the increasing popularity of STEM in early childhood education, you should encourage your child to consider coding and probably specialize in game development.
Designing video games builds your kid’s creativity, imagination, and cognitive abilities. Valuable skills acquired can be used in other fields, such as software design, teamwork, and marketing. Kids also intrinsically learn entrepreneurial skills, which are beneficial in other professions. The guide below outlines some tips that can help parents of kids interested in game design.
1. Play While Evaluating Gameplay
Most kids play video games to complete missions or win against their competitors. However, kids eying game design should be encouraged to play games while evaluating gameplay. As kids focus on gameplay, it becomes easier to spot patterns as they evaluate the game from a different perspective. Young enthusiastic gamers will understand the particular elements and mechanics behind games that make them fun.
While doing this, you should expose your kid to both good and bad games. This enables them to identify specific elements that make games boring and repetitive, helping them identify potential mistakes in the game and learn to avoid them when it’s their turn to design. Approaching game design with a problem-solving mindset will enable them to become better game designers.
2. Learn How to Code
In the current digital world, proficient game designers should understand programming extensively. Coding knowledge helps game designers write scripts with commands and brainstorm arising technical issues. Fortunately, several online kids’ coding classes, such as The Coder School, are available to ensure that your kid learns to code while honing game design skills.
One of the best introductory courses is MIT Media Lab’s Scratch Platform. Scratch, one of the popular programming language, enable kids to create programs using a redesigned kid-friendly programming language. The best thing about Scratch is that kids make full design decisions for their games. For instance, they can determine character speeds, hit points for a level upgrade, laser shot speed, and other key components that make up the game.
Your kid can upgrade to the Codakid Platform after learning the basic concepts of programming. In the platform, they can design games using real programming languages with professional features. Codakid enables kids to build Minecraft mods, 3D adventure games, Roblox games, and other advanced models. The benefit of using this platform is that they can access full-time online support.
With some knowledge in coding, your kid can use other independent platforms, such as Unreal or Unity, to design games using the same tools that professional game designers use. Such platforms also have an open marketplace, which your kids can earn money by uploading and selling their games.
3. Design with a Strategy
Encourage your kids to design their games with strategy. According to Darran Jamieson, an experienced Indie game developer, all successful games should follow four elements. They include challenge, choice, change, and chance.
- Challenge – video games are primarily a series of challenges. Therefore, your games won’t be successful if they don’t present a challenge that players can play and enjoy. Without challenges, the game will be boring. Challenges in a game should build up steadily as players progress from basic or beginner levels to expert. This allows users to understand game controls and the strategy of the game.
- Choice – if you have played video games before, you understand the excitement that players get when given a chance to make a choice. Therefore, encourage your kids to create variations that allow players to make a choice. The best games should be dynamic, allowing players to enjoy a different gameplay experience from different choices.
- Change – change within the game is important, especially for avid gamers who prefer watching replays. For instance, 2D games give players several backgrounds, from nature to the sky, as the game progresses. Good game designers should incorporate such varying scenes to prevent boredom and monotony in the game.
- Chance – kids should learn how to use chance to introduce unpredictable and unexpected items into the game. Randomization is a key strategy that presents players with an unknown number of aliens, attackers, random challenges, and other elements that make gameplay generally interesting.
Understanding and making good use of these key “C’s” of game design is a recipe for building an engaging game.
4. Games Should Have a Storyline
The success of any game depends on several factors. Among them include its difficulty, levels, and user experience. However, the ability of gameplay to follow a story is one thing that successful game designers should capitalize on. Storytelling is a sure way of capturing your players’ attention. With an immersive gameplay experience, players will always be looking forward to the next difficulty level.
An immersive game gives players the experience of a book or movie. They become engaged from the beginning to the end unknowingly. Therefore, before starting game design, encourage your kids to think through the game’s storyline, the type of game, the players’ choices, and the ending.
5. Regular Practice is Important
Designing games is undoubtedly challenging. Translating scripted ideas on paper into actual gameplay is not an easy process, especially for beginners. Therefore, as with other professions, regular practice is important if your kids want to develop games without challenges. Crafting several games is the best practice for kids to become skilled game designers.
Helpful Game Design Tools
More websites and game apps are currently allowing enthusiastic game designers to explore their skills. These platforms don’t require skilled programmers or experts to design entertaining games. Below are some excellent game building tools that can help your kid design games with ease.
- Blox 3D Junior
The app is a good choice for 5 years old kids interested in building 3D games. From the modeling toy, players can easily create, animate, and destroy 3D objects. It features intuitive design elements that kids can use in building games of their choice.
- Lego Worlds
Lego fans looking to create fun games can use Lego World in their design. From the platform, kids can design games with intriguing stories and adventures with varying complexities.
- Toca Builders
Toca builders are perfect for kids aged 6 and above looking to edit sandbox—styled games. The platform allows kids to create anything within their imaginations. The game features several characters and choices, allowing designers to create entirely new gameplay.
- Drawn to Life
Most game design platforms have a drag-and-drop customization style. However, as the name suggests, Drawn to Life is quite different. In the platform, game designers draw and edit their games. This includes characters, weapons, and other elements in the game. While only a few games offer such flexibility, it suits avid game designers full of vibrant imaginations.
Game design is overly beneficial for growing kids. Besides promoting mental growth, it turns kids into creators, giving them an idea of what they can pursue in the future. By learning game design, kids also learn the importance of team building. When designing a game, kids understand the importance of listening to others’ feedback in a non-defensive manner.
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.