Gameception – Code Hero: A video game that teaches you to program video games

In my previous post, I mentioned that NodeAdventure was going to be placed on hold for the time being. I made a reference to multiple things that are distracting me from that end at the moment. The first one was CouchDB and IOS. The second thing is this fabulous game called “Code Hero”. It’s developed by the fine folks at primerlabs

Right now they have a Kickstarter going in hopes to raise $100,000 to kick start their game.

I was the first contributor at the $1337 level! And helped them get their first power level of over 9000! The second person to contribute at this level was the CEO of Unity: David Helgason.

Unity is the cross-platform game engine they are using to build their game!

I had the great fortune to talk to Alex Peake (briefly, before he got swept away in all the excitement of running a funding campaign!) and evidently he had run into my blog while looking for javascript based gaming engines. As it turns out, one of the first two languages they are looking to teach you (which is right on in my opinion) is in fact Javascript!

I think this is a super smart move for a bunch of reasons:

1. It’s the main scripting language used in millons of websites

2. With the advent of HTML5 and the support for the <video/>, <audio/>, <canvas/> (2d and 3d graphics), webgl (3D graphics), and websockets (real time server side push) you could realistically build any game you wanted right inside the browser!

3. Windows 8 and Microsoft Visual Studio 11 have HTML5 and Javascript as one of the main set of languages to build Metro style apps

4. With the advent of Node.js you can not only use javascript on the client, but you can run your SERVER on javascript.

5. With the likes of MongoDB and CouchDB you can have your back end store data in native JSON (or BSON) and not have to go through the trouble of serializing and de-serializing from RDBMS  (Realitional Database Managment System) -> ORM (Object Relational Mapping) -> JSON (JavaScript Object Noation) and the revers. JSON -> ORM -> RDBMS

Having played through the Beta (available for FREE if you donate via Kickstarter!), I can say that even in the Beta you get a good feeling for their games concepts.

I started with Javascript since it’s something I have used every day on the job for the past decade (except for that brief period when we were attempting to use Adobe… although Actionscript 3.0 wasn’t too far off from Javascript used in browsers since they both extend EchmaScript). Besides a few issues with some syntax and lack of “visuals” for most of the intro javascript (right now it’s a lot of reading and code without 3d objects). It was spot on =) You learn about variables, conditionals, syntax, and basic loops.

After that, I headed on over to the Unityscript section and tooled around for a bit. The fact that they have you are running unity inside of Unity is awesome! (They must be doing some dynamic code compliation?) Being able to “move” a bridge to where you want, or telleport to a specific location really gives you a handle on what’s going on in the world. You feel like you are in the “Matrix” as Neo and you are in in control.

After honing your coding skills, you are then confronted by the FizBoss, an army of flying bots that you have to try and stop from getting across the gaming space, which payes homage to the original “Space Invaders”. But this time, it’s in 3D and some of them have invulnerability sheilds on. It’s up to you to use what you have learned in the coding tutorials to defeat them!

It’s been great to be a part of this historic game and to see the community behind it forming on facebook and twitter. I think that primerlabs will meet and exceed their goal of $100,000 and go on to do great things with this game!

I am especially interested to see what they do with the new donation levels of Sentor and K12 which is trying to get donations from the government and public education sectors, asking them to contribute to the cause of the “future of education”.

So, that being said, I might be spending my free time hacking with the folks at Code Hero assisting with some of the Javascript tutorials and missions.

Best of luck to Alex and his crew at primerlabs!

Hack the Planet!


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