We’re making a video game

I’m the assistant scoutmaster in my ward’s Boy Scout troop. I’m not very good at it. I don’t particularly enjoy camping without my family, and I’m not very good at tying any kind of knot other than a square knot or a one-handed bowline. It has been a real struggle to find ways to be useful to my troop and the boys that are in it.

While I was driving some of them home after a troop meeting a few days ago, one of them asked the others what they wanted to be when they grew up. One of them said they wanted to make video games. Being a programmer, I know that is easier said than done.

I started thinking about it though. Is it really that hard? What is required to make a video game? Well, nowadays you generally pick a platform, work within a framework, come up with a story line and some graphics, then code the game. I’m no good with graphics and story lines, but I can do the other bits. I browsed DreamSpark and found some free development tools and decided I wanted to offer to teach the boys in my troop how to make a video game.

Tonight we were having a movie night but a few people were running late so most of us were just hanging out, so I took the opportunity to bring up my idea to create a video game. They loved it! We spent 30-45 minutes coming up with a plot, weapon ideas, how the player should move through the game, power ups, customization options (like character clothes), and assigned a few people to draw some artwork.

We are going to try meeting once a week with whoever is interested so we can work on the game. The initial goal is to get a basic single level finished. We are going to use Microsoft XNA Game Studio with the hopes of having our game available for both Windows and Xbox 360.

I feel this is a bit ambitious, but I’m really excited about it! XNA uses C#, which I’m somewhat familiar with, and has a bunch of good books available for it. One of the boys has had a basic programming class before, so that should help some. And all of them play way more video games than they should, so they should know what makes a game fun or boring.

I’ll do another post once we get some artwork and a title, hopefully in just a few days.

One comment

  1. That is so cool! I’m an asst Scout Master too.

    Mostly I just try to be a good friend to the boys, treating them less like kids and more like friends. Sometimes they come over and build stuff in the shop. And of course, they all love my potato guns :)

    I built some penny stoves for our last camp-out, and the boys enjoyed seeing how they work. http://www.instructables.com/id/Pocket-Sized-Camp-Stove-The-Improved-quotPenny-/step7/Making-the-Penny-Stove/

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