When parents think of video games, they might think of grainy computer games that seemed miraculous because kids could play them at home rather than in the arcade. True, parents today didn’t grow up pumping quarters into pinball machines, but video games have come a long way in just the past few years.
Today, the value of the video game industry has eclipsed Hollywood. Video games are played on phones, computers, gaming consoles, and tablets. The funding model has evolved, and there are options today that didn’t use to exist. Players can download a game for free, then make in-game purchases.
RP4K puts video games at the centre of our lessons, as classes revolve around teaching kids how to create their own video games, ones they can play and show off to friends and family. The idea is to teach kids foundational concepts in mathematics and computer programming in ways so fun, they don’t even realize they’re learning.
We use video games as a scaffold to frame our programming lessons around, but some RP4K students do go on to become professional video game developers. Many don’t, and that’s fine too! Your child may turn their passion for video games into a dynamic and lucrative career, or they could apply the coding skills learned at RP4K in a range of other professions.
If they enjoy the classes and don’t end up using the computer skills in their eventual profession, that’s great! We believe that computer programming for kids should be fun above all.
However, if your child wants to learn to code and experience a very positive impact of video games, some coding languages are better to learn than others. Let’s take a look.
The coding language C++ is one of the foundations for most major consoles and Microsoft Windows games. As an object-oriented programming language, it organizes code into self-contained and reusable units. Once you build an object in code, you can move and reuse it as you please, so it’s easier to build very complex games without building every element from scratch.
C++ is also a powerful low-level language, meaning it’s built for machine readability. When game developers want to maximize their creativity in game engines where interactive worlds are easy to produce, they use C++, even if its complexity means it isn’t the first language they start learning.
The graphics, sound, physics, and even the AI bot behaviour can all be controlled using C++. RP4K is proud to teach game programming courses reliant on C++, especially our newest course, Advanced and Applied Math and Physics.
The founder of RP4K was a mathematician, so math is in our DNA. However, we work with kids of all experience levels to make computer programming stimulating and fun.
Python is one of the coding languages students learn first, as its syntax is widely considered to be the most like English. This language can be an excellent gateway into video game coding development, even if it’s less commonly used by professionals. The game development library PyGame offers some exciting first steps into gaming.
After you learn Python, you’ll be more at home in more complex languages used in the field. RP4K teaches Python so kids can make a game resembling Pac-Man, one of the games that encourage kids to code because it’s simple and fun.
Students also learn how to write code in a language high in demand across many segments of computer programming.
Small video game companies use Java, as do mobile app developers. Some of the world’s top iOS and Android games run on Java, like Minecraft and Mission Impossible III. It also runs on Linux and Microsoft, making it popular with developers for its cross-functionality.
Java games often run on virtual machines, a software-based computing system that functions distinctly from physical host computers. This makes the games and other software run faster, cost less to create, eases distribution, and simplifies scaling up.
RP4K classes teach young coders how to create video games in the coding language suitable for their skill and experience levels. The languages they learn have multiple other applications, so they’re useful for countless other things.
Kids who learn these coding languages might not become professional video game developers, but they’ll have the ability to create their own path. Every type of business and institution across sectors needs computer programmers — coders can work on the frontlines of innovation for tech companies, become system managers for companies outside tech, create their own websites and apps, or do something that doesn’t currently exist yet.
As coders get more comfortable and proficient with computer programming, they get more adept at turning their imaginations into reality, turning the concepts they have into games and things people can really use. They may start with more beginner-friendly coding languages, but they can progress along a nearly infinite track — if something can be conceived, it can be coded.
If you’re considering enrolling your child in coding classes that are fun and supportive, with a maximum of three other students in the session, don’t hesitate to contact RP4K. We can help you decide which course is correct for them, and you can book a free trial lesson for parents and kids to test the waters before making a long-term commitment.