If your child is a video game enthusiast and you are trying to find a way to expand on that, I encourage you to check out RPGMaker. Taking the classic approach to RPG gaming, this program allows designers to get behind the game and make their own from scratch.
This site has several different options, but the one that we ended up going with was RPG Maker VX Ace.
RPG Maker VX Ace :
Simple Enough for a Child;
Powerful Enough for a Developer
At first glance, you might wonder what educational value this program has – but after testing it out with my boys, I can let you know that it’s full of outstanding potential.
For example, since the premise of gaming is essentially a storyline to be completed, the first step in game design is coming up with a story along with a goal for your main characters. Writing out a plan, broken down in steps and ideas makes it so that you can actually create your game.
There are very detailed tutorials that explain every aspect of the program – 9 parts in total for the VXAce version. I personally found my son snuggled on his bed reading every single thing he could about this program every time he wasn’t allowed to play.
One area that the designer has to fill in is the conversation between the characters. This is a great way to help develop conversation concepts, spelling, and the ideas of how people need to interact to move a storyline along.
Since, the designer builds everything in the game, using preset tiles, from maps to character features and more, this game really encourages creativity. Maps can be quite detailed, including the effect of height, thinking of how to create traffic zones and pathways for your character, what extra features a town needs, etc. It’s got the potential to be very complex.
Although the program is very drag and drop, there are lots of programming and design elements covered as well. Setting the stats and creating value of awards are just one example. Plus, if your child wants to learn more about behind the game face, they can go and look directly at the code to pick it apart and learn it for themselves.
There are a few options if you want to try this game out for yourself:
1. You can download a LITE version for free – just know that there are limited features for this option such as a maximum number of maps you can make and events you can have in your game and less tiles for design options.
2. Download the free trial for 30 days, after which you can buy a membership and continue your access.
3. Check out one of the other programs that the company offers – from character designing to other rpg makers that are less detailed and intense as the full VXAce version. Their most recent version is RPG Maker MV, and it features more options for platforms and programming.