Learning how to code

One of Ian’s constant wishes/desires over the past couple of years is to make a video game. He knows how to create animations and even made a video game by following a tutorial. But his ambitions have always far exceeded what Scratch is capable of. He has drawn and written reams of storyboards for his game idea and at times it has been… well… passive aggressive? Not sure if that’s the right term, but he would show all this work on how the game will work and look and there always seemed to be an underlying demand: “Okay, I’ve done the creative part, now you make the video game, Dad”.

I’ve tried to explain to him all the time, effort and learning that go into doing it properly, but I think he always interpreted it as “No”. So, Santa bought a present for Ian and I last Christmas. It was a set of tutorials on how to program 2D and 3D games on iPhone, iPad, Mac and AppleTV.

I was waiting for the right time to tackle it with Ian, and also trying to figure out the right way to set up the “classroom”. The opportunity arose this past week, when he started drawing his storyboards and showing them to Tammy and I. I think I managed to get through to him and I promised him that I had a plan (the tutorials) to help him do what he wanted to.

So on Friday morning, everybody converged on the bonus room. I had my MacBook Pro from work, with my screen reflected on the TV so everyone could see it. Ian had Tammy’s MacBook Air which I had configured with Xcode and with a developer ID. Then we started learning.

Zombie Conga

On Friday, Saturday and again on Monday, Ian and I sat down and we are working through making a zombie move around a beach. Ian’s reaction to it is interesting: he sees that it’s a lot of work, but he is seeing things develop and get better and that gets him excited.

Coding on the couch

At some point I hope that he will get frustrated with my lack of time and will start working on the tutorials on his own, but for now I’m having fun, too.

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