Recommendation needed: programming book

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by therealdt, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. therealdt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Location:
    northeast region
    #1
    Looking to purchase a programming book for my 10 soon to be 11 year old son.

    He's interested in programming a computer game.

    Thanks
     
  2. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #2
    One (age-appropriate) option would be Scratch.

    Scratch is a visual programming language that comes out of the Lifelong Kindergarden group at the MIT Media Lab. It is designed for 8+ year olds. Mitch Resnick (creator of Lego Mindstorms) is the project lead. Several of the graduate students that I advise have worked on the project. http://scratch.mit.edu/

    I am not sure what programming languages they teach in high schools these days but I could see Java being a good starter language... as he is interested in game programming, I would actually suggest the Processing programming language, as it is an extension to java and designed for visual applications. There are two great books for processing... they are not written for kids however... (http://processing.org/)
     
  3. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    Will he be programming a web game or a desktop game? If it's not a web-based game you should request this thread be moved to the programming forum. Just use the red and white triangle icon to the left of your original post and let the mods know you want it moved.

    There's no much you can really do, game programming-wise, with web technologies like JavaScript, but there's much more you can do with C++, Java, DirectX, etc. Finding something for an 11 yo is kind of tough too. What computer skills / programming skills does he currently have? A lot of game programming deals with advanced math skills so that's why I'm curious and expecting for him to be able to do.
     
  4. therealdt thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Location:
    northeast region
    #4
    He's more into a web game. Something like runescape, or another he plays often, the names are not available at the moment. lol

    He has basic computer skills, he's fluent with windows. lol He knows how to find folders, add/delete programs, etc. He has no programming under his belt, there was an afterschool program, but the class filled quickly. As for math skill, basic algebra. 3x/3=18...you know what I mean.

    I was wondering what programming language is the most basic. Or should I start him off with HTML.

    I would hate to buy c++ for dummies.


    @lucidmedia
    thanks for that
     
  5. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Runescape isn't quite the web game I was talking about. Yes, it's played online, but I meant web languages like JavaScript, PHP, and the like. Runescape is probably powered by C++ or the like.

    When it comes to programming, do games is generally on the hard side and not for beginners who have no programming knowledge. Of course he'll need to start somewhere though. Learning HTML alone won't get him anywhere really as it's a markup language, no programming whatsoever. Not that he shouldn't learn it though as any programming on the web will require a good deal of knowledge about it.

    Something like what lucidmedia suggested is probably the best bet. Doing anything game-like with the more popular languages will take a while to get thrugh if he's just starting out. If you believe he has a real interest in doing programming then you should get him a beginner's book and don't worry about games for the time being. I've heard Ruby is a nice language to start with to start understanding programming. I use to have a good link for an online Ruby book, but can't find it currently.

    C++ is very powerful and he should eventually learn it if he likes programming, but definitely wouldn't start with that language. There has been some groups creating kid-friendly languages, which also might be a good first step, especially to see if he likes programming. They allow for making games too, though simplistic, but definitely worth a look for his age. See the links below.

    http://www.linux.com/feature/155203
    http://www.simplecodeworks.com/website.html
     
  6. therealdt thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Location:
    northeast region
    #6
    Thank you. I'll find that book, somewhere. I have an idea where I should start, now that I know what to look for. I have enough time to find the book, will be a b-day present.

    Thanks again
     

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