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You know, in today’s world it’s easy to forget to spend a few minutes with the people around you. Have you ever thought of making games with your kids? The bonus of game development is that, in general, kids love games. You know what else? They tend to love making games too! If you’ve got children, or a younger brother or sister, take the opportunity to share what you can with them!
Tonight, my son and I took a spin with the Lego tutorial from Unity. I’ve got to say, it went pretty well all things considered. The tutorial walks you through each step of the way, and you accomplish small goals as you go. Overall, the game making process was turned into a game itself. All while building real skills which he can then turn around and use to make his own games someday! Mind you, the lego game had these condition blocks which may have changed the mechanism for a lot of game building, but that’s okay!
My son was excited, although maybe spent a little too much time actually playing the game. He’d click Restart faster than I could explain to him what the next step was. But he was engaged. Have you tried getting kids engaged these days? It’s a nightmare!
Take Part in their Learning
You’ve really got to be there. You’ve got to sit with them and explain what Unity wants them to do. Otherwise, if your kid or sibling is anything like mine they’ll just play the game. Once I explained it though, once I explained triggers, and variables, and the like, lightbulbs went on, and better yet, they stayed on. My son is excited to keep learning with Unity, and since this is literally a professional game-making studio, his journey certainly doesn’t have to end with the lego game. No, this skill can grow with him, and become his hobby or even his career.
At the very least, he’ll learn some coding. My son was already learning Scratch, so the jump to Unity isn’t insane. I sat with him and we worked through this little book that we bought him that has a ton of these little scratch projects. We found that about two-thirds of the way through he felt limited. He felt as though the program itself was preventing him from making the game he wanted. I thought back then about trying to jump to Unity but we decided to stick it out, and wait for him to finish off Scratch.
Suffice to say he lost interest. Time passed, and I wasn’t sure whether or not he was going to get back into programming. Then Unity has their super sale. While I was checking it out, I stumbled across this beautiful tutorial. The Lego tutorial from Unity has rekindled my son’s love of programming, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
So, I’m going to keep making games with my son, and when my younger son is ready, him too. If you’ve got someone you can share this with, I hope you do. If you don’t and maybe you just want to get into programming, check out all the Unity Tutorials, they’re very well done, and very good at getting you up to speed.
Have any family co-programming stories? Comment below!