I decided to particpiate in Ludum Dare 30 – a 48 hour game creation competition. This post is for my entry, The Two Sides of the Rio Grande.

The Two Sides of the Rio Grande is a Sim City like game that takes place on the border of Juáres and El Paso.

Try the game

Try the game for windows!

Screen shots

Second

Startup Screen
Startup Screen

Source

If you want the source – I mean really want the source (it’s 50MB), you can download it here: Source.

It uses

  • Visual Studio 2013
  • MonoGame
  • Behaviour Trees for the AI
  • Open Steer for the movement

Hi, I’m Paula and I’m passionate about kids learning how to code. I’m convinced that that if kids learn how to code, they’ll have the future in their hands. To know how to code, even at a superficial level, makes you better equipped to understand the world around you – a world that’s slowly getting more and more digital. Coding isn’t magic, but it may appear that way from the outside. That’s why I want kids to learn coding – as soon as possible!

Programming using a fun method
Programming using a fun method

My husband Mattias is a programmer and I asked him to teach our kids to program. They tried Scratch which is a fantastic and popular language, but the threshold was a bit too high. So I figured, “heck, they can can play games that are extremely complicated without any instructions at all but they can’t manage to program starting with a blank page”. I thought about it and figured that if there was a way to package programming as a game, then that should work! And if my husband who’s a programmer can’t motivate and help the kids learn to code, imagine how hard it must be for a lot of families that don’t have that support?

Learning is fun! Playing games is all about learning – to learn how the rules of the game work and how they can be used together to solve problems. Slowly getting better and solving harder problems. But games require a fun goal, a self explanatory user interface and a slowly increasing difficulty level that allows you to learn as you’re playing, without being “taught”.

 

So I figured that it should be possible to combine the two – to learn programming by playing a game where you use programming concepts combined in different ways to solve puzzles. I convinced my husband that he really needed to create such a game – parts of the game were created on a bed on Teneriffe (Spain) when we were visiting my family. My husband doesn’t like to hang at the pool that much anyway ;).

Now about a year later, with our own 10 year old as our main beta tester, we’re proud to introduce the BETA of Machinist-Fabrique. It’s a game where anyone who can read can learn to code in a fun and stimulating way.

It contains everything a game should, rewards (any task well done is its own reward, but we also have gold stars!!), a story and playful graphics. The player programs machines that push, lift and orbs around. The game is completely non-violent since it’s for educating kids (and adults).

 

Player programs elevator and learns about variables
Player programs elevator and learns about variables

Our Mission

Our mission isn’t just that our kids should learn to code but to reach as many kids as we can and give them a chance to learn to code! Machinist-Fabrique is not a free game, to install the game at home costs about $23, but it is completely
free for organized teaching events. You can use it in school classes, scout-groups or any bunch of friends sitting together. Follow this link for the specifics.

So give it a chance, all you need to know is how to read and the game will try to guide you through the rest. Read more about Machinist-Fabrique and how to download it here.

Contact me if you have any questions or suggestions at Paula@learntocode.biz.

/Paula