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I work at a not-for-profit organization and we've been thinking about building a game with the kids we help everyday.

We'd use their art, voice and ideas to power a simple enough PC game they can play and enjoy. The kids are 6-14 years old and one of them knows simple programming (C, Pascal).

Can you guys recommend me something?

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closed as off-topic by Philipp, Kromster says support Monica, MichaelHouse Sep 27 '14 at 15:04

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Even with good intentions in mind, please keep the irrelevant details and greets/sigs away. They don't add to the question. P.S. Question is off-topic. \$\endgroup\$ – Kromster says support Monica Sep 27 '14 at 12:30
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Long story short you have several free options to let kids make games. My favorites are:

  • Scratch: Everything is made using logic blocks. Perfect your young kids. They can do simple things easily.
  • Algoid: Perfect for kids wanting to really "code". Easier than usual engine / langage. Adapted for teenagers.

First of all that's a great initiative.

I was invited, earlier this year, to do that kind of event with kids (groups of 10+ kids of 10 to 15 years old) by a museum. It was a very good experience and as a game developer I enjoyed it a lot.

We had a very short amount of time to do that event (3 sessions of 3 hours) I spent the half explaining them what is video game development and how it works behind the scene. It was very important to me to let them know the different jobs implied in video game making. Kids play video games everyday so it's good for them to know what's behind.

After that, we made a "game". They decided what kind of game it would be (it's important to guide them on that). They decided the rules. They produced the art assets (drawings on paper). They registered the music (done with their voices and recorded with a simple microphone). And I was in charge of the programming.

I did the programming part on Unity3D. It's an engine I know well so it was easy to me. However, on the way to making those games I discovered a lot of different way to let kids do the programming on their own.

The first software is scratch. It's based on logic blocks so it's pretty easy to understand even for young kids. They can import their sounds or images and do "limited" games.

Scratch is very impressive but it's "limited" for older kids. 15yrs old kids I worked with found it boring. So, if they really want to start programming there are some other "software" like Algoid. It's pretty nice, well documented, and allowed kids to do really nice things.

You can find more about my experience with kids (and one of the games) on this page.

I hope it helps.

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One c++-based approach is a gaming library at:

It is designed for kids to write mini-games, with support for sprites and 3d objects.

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One good suggestion is multi-user dungeons (MUD). They are text-based games that are open source (free), developed in multiple languages including C, C++, java, python and more. They are also online multiplayer games that pretty much gave birth to the whole massively multiplayer online games such as Ultima Online, Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot and of course, World of Warcraft.

A MUD (/ˈmʌd/; originally Multi-User Dungeon, with later variants Multi-User Dimension and Multi-User Domain),1 is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat. Players can read or view descriptions of rooms, objects, other players, non-player characters, and actions performed in the virtual world. Players typically interact with each other and the world by typing commands that resemble a natural language.

I've personally used MUD's to learn how to program, game design, manage an online game, manage an online community and test. This allowed me to transition into a video game job, where I worked in the video game industry for 8+ years working on specifically online games.

Although I ended up more on the marketing/publishing side of the industry, MUD's prepared me enough to both understand the core fundamentals behind a game, as well other aspects of that allowed me to hit the ground running and opened up a lot of doorways to other game engines at a very young age (15 to be exact).

You can install MUD's on pretty much any operating system these days, but it's recommended for Linux/Unix based stacks. You can download a free source of any type of MUD engine from the MUDBytes website. I highly recommend a Diku/ROM based MUD to start with that is programmed in C.

Remember, MUD's can be just as complex and robust as any high-quality AAA MMORPG in terms of game design. They just lack high-end graphics and sound. So, you can split your kids up into separate teams to represent separate departments on a game including game design, system design, QA and then start working on a game they can grow and play.

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