What are your views on children learning GMS?

iSolo

Member
Good morning everyone, it's good to be back!

I recently told my friend who has 3 children about Game Maker Studio and explained how in my opinion her kids should give it a go. She has 3 kids, 2 boys (12 year old, 10 year old) and a girl who is 7 years old.
I explained that I introduced them all to programs like RPG Maker and GMS and they really liked RPG Maker (various versions) due to its simplicity and loved GMS as well but were a little intimidated by it (even though it has a Drag and Drop it still looked a little much for them but they expressed interest in it). The little girl wasn't really into it but said she would love to write story lines for any games the boys will create. The one who was most interested was the 11 year old who is soon to turn 12.

I remember computer courses and programming courses offered over the years when I was in middle school and high school and even 1 in elementary school. I know it isn't an unheard-of idea to teach a kid a programming/scripting language and how to use the computer as an advanced user. They never really had any PC/Laptop/Windows/Linux exposure as they just played the Xbox360 and recently got a PS4 as a gift. I teach them about computers whenever I have a chance but they seem to grasp it fairly well, especially now during the lock-down since kids have to study from home with laptops and connect to a network to submit their work.

I have a vision for her kids because I heard multiple stories about NORMAL kids who learn how to script/program and use various creative programs to create games, animate, build websites at a young age (10-15) and within a year or two they either became proteges in the industry or just found a fun hobby and managed to make some money through it and/or kick-started their professional education which normally should only happen when you're 18-19 and ready to go to college.

Either or, whichever path they choose, I am sure this will HUGELY benefit them. I explained some core programming/scripting principles to her kids and they both got it but I will focus on the 11 (soon top be 12) year old here as he seemed to really grasp it all and was the most interested. Her 12 year old was finishing my sentences when I was teaching him Pseudocode principles and other computer logic conversations. I really believe in him. If you're wondering why I care so much to get them involved in this it's because I know that this can guarantee such a bright future to a kid and they can literally start making money from this within 6 months. I remember how my friends used to make small games and charge kids 2-5 dollars per game and a dollar for any new level update (I gave them that idea) and it went well. Then when they went to college they were SO ahead of the curve and most of them didn't finish the program and got a job very early making more money than some 30 year olds when they were only 17-20 years old.

Their parents are separated and while they get a lot of attention from both of them, you can see how that made their lives tougher and I thought this would be a good outlet for their frustration. The older one exhibits some anger issues but he's such a bright kid and a loving kid and I really want to hear what some pros in the industry or even teachers and some parents have to say on my thread here. I really believe her 11 year old needs to get into this but I don't want to force him and turn this into a chore. So far I have been managing to keep it fun but it is tough to stay consistent since they don't have their own laptop but they do have a PS4, and I don't know if they can develop on a console but I know they can develop FOR a console and they don't really require a very high end computer so they should be able to get a $500 used or new laptop which would be enough for this project.

I am a musician and I unofficially taught kids how to play the guitar/piano and overall I am a good teacher. I am doing my best to learn Game Maker Studio because it was always something on my bucket list. I paid for the PC licence and I really want to be consistent this time and learn it so I can complete the ideas I have. I also want to learn it so I can help her kid/s learn it. I remember how much EASIER it was to learn things when I was a kid and I still feel I am learning things quickly cause my curiosity is always high when I am interested in something.

Do you think I am doing the right thing trying to get him to learn GMS and am I right to see this sort of future for him? I mean he showed interest and he did pretty well with everything we have done so far. How can I get him to be more consistent and what kind of similar stories have you heard of or experiences you had similar to this one?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post!
 

Niels

Member
I'm not sure if GMS is the best starting point, maybe roblox, dreams or something non code based might be the best start for a young kid.

if your kid really wants to make something from scratch in a engine that will grow with his skill, GML is a good option, but if he prefers to start out by slapping stuff together and make something working quickly other engines (the big U's), might be a better option, because their huge asset stores give a lot of out-of-the-box options for starters.
 

TsukaYuriko

šŸŒ 
Forum Staff
Moderator
I see two different topics here: One being the one in the title (children learning GMS) and the one being presented (your plan to get your friend's kids into game or software development in general).


As for the latter... while I have no idea what the exact relation between you and your friend is, take care not to parent someone else's children. It sounds like you're planning the future of your friend's kids. This is neither your obligation, nor are you in any position to do so. It should ultimately be up to the kids to choose their future, not to walk on a path that has been laid out for them by someone else, as well-meant as the intent may inherently be.

This sort of stuff would very easily set me off if anyone tried it with my own children, even if I knew the person involved was a friend and I was sure they had the best intentions. Chances are high that I'm extremely biased here, as my childhood can be summarized as the government as well as extended family trying to shoehorn me into various roles they expected me to fulfill, and me resisting it all to do what I wanted to do and be to end up where I am now.

If this is something the kids themselves have shown interest in, and continue to do so, I see absolutely no problem with teaching them how to make games. I'd drop the whole thing about plans for their future, though. If this is the kind of work that interests them, they'll get on that path on their own. If not, they'll eventually find something they'll be happy with.


Regarding the topic in the title... I see no problem with it. In fact, where I live, children of anything but the most basic education level are required to learn about IT starting at as early as the age of 10. It usually starts with stuff like MS Office and how to use browsers, learning how to use a mouse and keyboard efficiently, and sometimes, a few years later, programming languages are thrown in. Basic IT knowledge is required starting from the secondary grade of education, while programming is not (yet?). Schools are partially using tablets and PCs instead of pens and paper already. It's much like anything else taught at the state-owned schools: 95% of it will be useless for pupils during their entire life, but it might just be the right thing for some.

I privately teach all sorts of programming related stuff, GM being one of them. My motto here is the same - if they're interested in it, it's perfectly fine. I'm not going to waste both mine and the pupil's time teaching them something they visibly dislike, though.
 

iSolo

Member
I'm not sure if GMS is the best starting point, maybe roblox, dreams or something non code based might be the best start for a young kid.

if your kid really wants to make something from scratch in a engine that will grow with his skill, GML is a good option, but if he prefers to start out by slapping stuff together and make something working quickly other engines (the big U's), might be a better option, because their huge asset stores give a lot of out-of-the-box options for starters.
Yea GML might be a bit too ambitious but he really has what it takes in my opinion. He is a pro in Roblox/Minecraft haha. Very bright kid.

I see two different topics here: One being the one in the title (children learning GMS) and the one being presented (your plan to get your friend's kids into game or software development in general).


As for the latter... while I have no idea what the exact relation between you and your friend is, take care not to parent someone else's children. It sounds like you're planning the future of your friend's kids. This is neither your obligation, nor are you in any position to do so. It should ultimately be up to the kids to choose their future, not to walk on a path that has been laid out for them by someone else, as well-meant as the intent may inherently be.

This sort of stuff would very easily set me off if anyone tried it with my own children, even if I knew the person involved was a friend and I was sure they had the best intentions. Chances are high that I'm extremely biased here, as my childhood can be summarized as the government as well as extended family trying to shoehorn me into various roles they expected me to fulfill, and me resisting it all to do what I wanted to do and be to end up where I am now.

If this is something the kids themselves have shown interest in, and continue to do so, I see absolutely no problem with teaching them how to make games. I'd drop the whole thing about plans for their future, though. If this is the kind of work that interests them, they'll get on that path on their own. If not, they'll eventually find something they'll be happy with.


Regarding the topic in the title... I see no problem with it. In fact, where I live, children of anything but the most basic education level are required to learn about IT starting at as early as the age of 10. It usually starts with stuff like MS Office and how to use browsers, learning how to use a mouse and keyboard efficiently, and sometimes, a few years later, programming languages are thrown in. Basic IT knowledge is required starting from the secondary grade of education, while programming is not (yet?). Schools are partially using tablets and PCs instead of pens and paper already. It's much like anything else taught at the state-owned schools: 95% of it will be useless for pupils during their entire life, but it might just be the right thing for some.

I privately teach all sorts of programming related stuff, GM being one of them. My motto here is the same - if they're interested in it, it's perfectly fine. I'm not going to waste both mine and the pupil's time teaching them something they visibly dislike, though.
I should have stressed it clearer that his mother (my friend) is very happy I am doing this and is on-board with the entire thing and the kid is super happy to learn. I like the examples you provided me with. I thought maybe I can skip all of those steps (MS Office, web browsers, mouse/keyboard usage) as an official step and just kind of mesh them into the bigger project. Maybe I should start smaller with him. Like I mentioned he LOVES to build and create so naturally he's good at Minecraft/Roblox and even Fortnite lol, since he likes the building aspect of the game as well as the shooting.

I know my post looks like I am ready to adopt this kid as my own and teach him what I WANT HIM TO LEARN. Though it really isn't the case. She is a close friend of mine and I wanted to help her kid with whatever he was dealing with by helping him get into this world of game making.

Now, I am learning myself, I am an absolute beginner with some scattered knowledge in this industry. I was going to teach him what I learned and also sign him up for a course as a birthday gift. I thought this will ensure he learns from a professional person rather than me attempting to find the best way to teach him something I am learning myself.

The main purpose of this thread is to find the right approach to introduce him to this world of game making.
 

K12gamer

Member
I teach computers grades 1 to 6...
We mainly use our computers to help kids practice for the state exams like the PSSA.
I try to introduce coding (to the older students) whenever I can.
Here's a website / page I created with links to help them out:
 

TheouAegis

Member
I learned BASIC when i was 8. I had no guidance, so i gave up on it. It wasn't too complex, I wasn't an idiot. When that stream of words and numbers became a bouncing :), I was happy. LOL When I locked up the school computer with naughty words, I was happy. But I know guidance beyond the little book I was reading, so I didn't get very far with it. same thing with RPG Maker many many many years later, I messed around with it, I came up with some ideas that share with other people, but never made a full game. You don't need simplified, child friendly UI, you need initiative and incentive from the child. If they can read a book, if they can write an essay, they can work with code. Unlike writing an essay, code actually has rewards as well as punishments. If you write good code, it will compile and something will happen on your screen that you want to happen, and you will be happy. If you write bad code, something you don't want to happen will occur and you will be upset, then you go back and fix it. But if you're going to spend $100 or whatever on GMS for them, it might end up being a waste of a hundred bucks. Then again, kids are great at wasting money. LOL

Edit: ^Stuff like that K12gamer site would have been nice for me as a kid, since I had no concept of coding logic when I was learning BASIC. That was something I didn't pick up on until college.
 

iSolo

Member
I teach computers grades 1 to 6...
We mainly use our computers to help kids practice for the state exams like the PSSA.
I try to introduce coding (to the older students) whenever I can.
Here's a website / page I created with links to help them out:
Very useful resource, thanks for the link. Btw can you give me an idea of what the curriculum is for each grade? If it's not too much for you to write? Generally speaking what does it cover?

I learned BASIC when i was 8. I had no guidance, so i gave up on it. It wasn't too complex, I wasn't an idiot. When that stream of words and numbers became a bouncing :), I was happy. LOL When I locked up the school computer with naughty words, I was happy. But I know guidance beyond the little book I was reading, so I didn't get very far with it. same thing with RPG Maker many many many years later, I messed around with it, I came up with some ideas that share with other people, but never made a full game. You don't need simplified, child friendly UI, you need initiative and incentive from the child. If they can read a book, if they can write an essay, they can work with code. Unlike writing an essay, code actually has rewards as well as punishments. If you write good code, it will compile and something will happen on your screen that you want to happen, and you will be happy. If you write bad code, something you don't want to happen will occur and you will be upset, then you go back and fix it. But if you're going to spend $100 or whatever on GMS for them, it might end up being a waste of a hundred bucks. Then again, kids are great at wasting money. LOL

Edit: ^Stuff like that K12gamer site would have been nice for me as a kid, since I had no concept of coding logic when I was learning BASIC. That was something I didn't pick up on until college.
I totally understand what you're talking about. Thanks for sharing the story. Support while learning code/computers at a young age is definitely valuable since these are such broad subjects. I already have the license and was going to let them try it out and if they liked it I was gonna buy them their own license. Let alone there's a 30 day Free Trial. Thanks again for your input!
 

K12gamer

Member
@iSolo

Been teaching 1st grade for 20 years...Only my 2nd year in the computer lab.
We mainly use a program called Study Island for grades 3 to 6. My school paid for it.


I hope to get further into the coding aspect of my class next year.
 

kburkhart84

Firehammer Games
I see nothing against teaching children from Elementary on. Some will learn faster than others, so expect that. The point I really want to make here is just to remember that children are very good at changing hobbies sometimes. If the day comes that the child suddenly gets bored with it, don't think it has to do with the teacher, the subject matter, or basically anything logical at all. Kids change interests at a very high rate, and you never know what comes next or how long it lasts. So yeah, don't take it personally if they suddenly lose interest.
 

iSolo

Member
@iSolo

Been teaching 1st grade for 20 years...Only my 2nd year in the computer lab.
We mainly use a program called Study Island for grades 3 to 6. My school paid for it.


I hope to get further into the coding aspect of my class next year.
@K12gamer

Thank you very much, this is a great resource! Thanks for the encouragement.

I see nothing against teaching children from Elementary on. Some will learn faster than others, so expect that. The point I really want to make here is just to remember that children are very good at changing hobbies sometimes. If the day comes that the child suddenly gets bored with it, don't think it has to do with the teacher, the subject matter, or basically anything logical at all. Kids change interests at a very high rate, and you never know what comes next or how long it lasts. So yeah, don't take it personally if they suddenly lose interest.
Totally agree. Kids can love something one day and then change their mind for various reasons and decide they prefer to do something else. I really believe they'll like it and learn it and will stay consistent with it long enough to gain valuable skills.
 
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