$460
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
8
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Tue, July 28 2015 1:10 AM UTC +00:00
Clarissa RyanBy Clarissa Ryan
First created
Clarissa RyanBy Clarissa Ryan
First created
$460
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
8
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Tue, July 28 2015 1:10 AM UTC +00:00

About

What is Game Scribbler? 

Game Scribbler is a monthly subscription box which is dedicated to teaching programming through basic game development. It is geared towards development on the Raspberry Pi so the programmer is not required to have a fancy computer, or even internet connection..only a Raspberry Pi which can be obtained for way less than $100. 

How does it work? 

Each month, the subscriber will receive a game project workbook that outlines and details the code that is used to create a working game. Additionally, the project workbook will include mini coding projects designed to teach basic coding concepts that are going to be used to develop the game. 

Along with the workbook will be an SD card with the project game files, art, music, and sounds. In addition to the project files, the operating system and development environments will also be included and configured, so all the coder has to do is insert the SD card into the Pi and they are ready to start programming the game! 

Sample project page
Sample project page

Why target the Raspberry Pi? 

The reasoning behind targeting the Raspberry Pi was to help teach programming to everyone in a low cost and widely accessible way. One of the primary reasons for the creation of the Raspberry Pi is to help promote the teaching of computer science. By targeting the Raspberry Pi, I hope to reach people who feel like they can’t afford traditional computers as well as people who may not be able to afford internet, or have very limited internet. That is why through a subscription I send SD cards so that the coder can have all the files they need without having to download them, or rely upon the internet to use them. 

What if I don’t have a Raspberry Pi? 

For those who do not already own a Raspberry Pi, I have put together a basic starter kit which includes the Raspbian operating system, the development environments that will be used, as well as sample mini coding projects. I am using the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.  The only additional hardware outside of a Raspberry Pi starter kit the user would need is a TV/monitor that hooks up HDMI.

What are the features? 

  • The key factor is that the coder is given explanations as to what the code actually does and why I coded it the way I did, so it goes beyond simply copying and pasting code. I see to help facilitate the understanding of why code does what it does, rather than feeding code and hoping it is inherently understood what is being done. 
  • The coder will be given the option of different styles of art, music and background to use so that they may customize the game to their liking. Each game will come with different background music options as well as art options. 
  • Each project comes with an SD card which includes the Raspbian operating system and the programming environments. So there is no need to configure PATHS, install software, or messing with configuring operating systems. Just plug in the card and you are ready to develop! 
  • The Raspberry Pi is very affordable! There are several sites where you can obtain a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B for even under $50! This helps to target those who do not have computers, or internet as well as those who just want a device to program on and keep separate from their main computers. 
  • At the end of each project, you end up with a working game! All of that development offers instant gratification in the form of a game that you developed yourself! 
  • The project workbook and files are delivered to your house! You don’t have to download the files as I will send them with each monthly project. In the event that your card does not work, I will happily send out another one, or offer the option to download the files should you want the option to. 

Why teach programming? 

There are so many reasons why teaching programming is important!

  • Programming exercises logic skills. Every action requires a logical thought process to ensure that everything works as intended. This teaches cause and effect as well as how sequences should be logically ordered. 
  •  It reinforces the ideal that while the “big picture” is important, it is with the combination of minor details that can make a “big picture” actually become a reality. This is great especially at a young age because it teaches how to see a problem from all angles, construct and consider multiple solutions, and then logically diverge onto the best solution to the problem. 
  • Software engineering, and especially game development are not going away anytime soon, so having programming under your belt can only help 

Why target game development? 

Many of us, especially in my generation, grew up with video games and every gamer has that special game that defined their childhood. I remember as a kid I always wished I could do this, or do that in a game and wondered why isn’t there a game that does this. Game development allows people to actually tinker with a hobby they are interested in while learning logic and programming in the process. This makes picking up programming more fun and less intimidating. 

Another plus side to game development is the instant gratification. When you finish a game project, at the end you are left with an actual playable game where you picked the combination of art and music that suited your style. You can even go back and change these variables and compile the games with multiple different looks and feels. 

What languages are taught through Game Scribbler? 

I am gearing towards two languages: Scratch and C++. Scratch is a visual programming language developed by MIT and this is going to be geared towards a younger crowd with ages as young as 8 years old. This helps to teach logical programming without having to get into the nitty gritty. My second level is C++ which is widely used in several industries, including in game development. 

I am NOT looking to teach object oriented programming by any means, so for each game I will set up a framework to try to make the programming as straight forward as possible. Coupling this approach with code explanations and activities helps to make coding less intimidating. 

What is the inspiration behind Game Scribbler? 

A lot of the inspiration behind Game Scribbler is every kid, including the younger me, that has ever wanted to make a video game, but never had the means to do so. I grew up in the generation where home computers were starting to become big and while everyone around me had internet and computers, I did not. I got a computer when when I was halfway through my freshman year of college and purchased it myself. I did not start programming until i was about to finish my Bachelors degree. I eventually went back to school to pursue a masters in software engineering, but I feel that had I been exposed to computers and programming sooner, my career path would have been much much different. And the thing is is I see myself in other kids who may be in the same situation where they are passionate about video games, but have no computer, or no internet to be able to take their hobby to the next level. I know of kids who have done mindstorm programming at summer camps and loved it, but there is not a single computer in their house. It is those kids that I am looking to reach. It is the kids like myself who may have a passion, but no affordable way to tap in to it. 

What will the funds be used for?

The goal of the funds is to be able to gather the materials to start.  One facet is gathering and configuring Raspberry Pis so they can be distributed to those who need them, and another facet is dedicated towards the actual project workbooks.  Funds would help with printing the books, purchasing SD cards, purchasing replicators for those SD cards, and basically supporting myself and my son while I develop game projects.

Thanks everyone and I hope you support my project!    

Risks and challenges

One of the biggest risks comes in the form of being able to furnish enough project workbooks in the volume that I need. The actual printing should not be difficult, but rather the copying of the SD cards. To handle this, I would need to invest in a duplicator down the road.

If at any point I felt I could not deliver for the month, I would notify the subscriber and either send the product delayed, or send two projects the next month.

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    Project workbook in C++

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Funding period

- (21 days)