A week long online creative coding challenge & some fab playable platformer games!

For everyone who took part in Ready Maker 1.2 this summer, “get creating & have some fun!” are the words you would have heard from the Code Zone’s Tom before launching into an intense hour of creative coding challenges!

Day by day we were taken through the steps involved in getting our games from one level to the next. We started off with a palette of sprites (a tin can, a tyre & a seagull), a bunch of backgrounds & sounds and a set of challenge cards. We were taken through the code to get the game up and running in a really clear, step by step way. You could then go on to customise any aspect of the game and play around with the variables of the code to make the game totally your own – uploading drawings and backgrounds & adding new mechanics & features.

If you wanted to explore Scratch further and learn new stuff the Code Zone had also prepared a range of “hack it” challenges to suggest things we might like to try out ie figure out how to incorporate multiple enemies or collectibles, how to make coins appear on the platform or how to add in some power ups!

All the way through we were supported by Code Zone leaders who would be there in the chat or on a video call if we had a question or a problem like, “help! How do I write code as a tyre?”. At the end of the day we could share our games so that other people in the group could try them out. It was really fun and exciting to see what everyone else had made!

It was so neat how the whole platform was designed.  You could jump from the lobby area – where you could watch the day’s intro video, take part in the group chat & play each others games – back into your project, code & challenge cards & then into playing & testing out your game. As you completed days and challenges stars appeared next to your avatar so you could see how well you were doing as you went along.

The Code Zone team were online on the platform every day until 4pm to offer help so if you wanted to you could keep on making and tweaking. And… the ultra bonus is, we have FREE access to the platform for the rest of the summer (until mid September) so we can keep on creating games and learning!!!

Have a play of some of our games:

Christian’s game: PLAY HERE

Poppy’s game: PLAY HERE

Jake’s game: PLAY HERE

Ashley

Q: What’s your favourite computer game?

A: I think Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is probably one of my recent favourite games. I’ve always loved strategy games, and the Civilization series has to be one of the best!

Q: How/why/when did you get into coding?

A: I’ve always had a passion for computers and technology. From a young age, I’ve either built or fixed PCs and laptops. It wasn’t until about four years ago, when I met Paul, The Code Zone’s co-founder, that I started to get into coding. Seeing the cool projects Paul was able to work on inspired me to learn Python. Since then, I’ve never looked back! I’ve been able to build software that has created jobs, solve complex problems and, most importantly, allow me to work with Paul to start The Code Zone.

Q: What’s the favourite game you’ve made and why??

A: Recently I created a Zombie Apocalypse FPS game; I built it using Unity, which is a cross-platform game engine. It involved teaching myself another programming language and working in 3D. Pushing myself to learn a new skill, and creating a challenging game was a really rewarding experience.

Q: What is your top tip for budding young coders / games designers?

A: Keep things fun and simple! One of the great things about learning to code using Scratch is that creating something cool with a few blocks of code is entirely possible. By using something like Scratch it will give you the confidence to progress to another text-based language like Python in the future. The best way to keep motivated and learning is to continue enjoying yourself!

Q: Why do you think it is useful to learn how to code?

A: There are so many reasons! When you know how to code, it’s almost like having a superpower! You start to see the world differently and understand how all the technology we use every day works. Being able to code will mean rather than just using apps and playing games, you can be part of a growing community and contribute to projects or make your own.

Paul

Q: What’s your favourite computer game?

A: The Curse of Monkey Island

Q: How/why/when did you get into coding?

A: I started coding really during my A-levels where I found it just made sense. It really started to click during my degree in artificial intelligence where coding allowed me to solve problems and get answers to things in a whole different way.

Q: What’s the favourite game you’ve made and why??

A: I think it might have to be Don’t Wake Zonebot (you had to navigate your panda through a field of objects, and if you stood on too many it woke up the snoring robot who got very very angry)… It was a simple game really but it was the first that we’d built where we discovered how creative and engaged children can be whilst hacking such simple games… It transformed the way we thought about the code and games we wrote

Q: What is your top tip for budding young coders / games designers?

A: Fail, fail, fail and fail harder. Failing at code is one of the most glorious things you can do… There’s always something you can learn, always something you can improve, and you can do no harm when failing with code (yet)

Q: Why do you think it is useful to learn how to code?

A: Being able to write commands, telling your computer what to do, is one thing… but the skills you learn from being able to code will stay with you for life:

Critical Thinking

Persistence

Problem-solving

Maths and logic

Communication

Processing skills

Independence

Determination

Resilience

Creativity

Courage to try new things

These soft skills become a key part of growth; everything naturally picked up through coding can help children make decisions, open up career opportunities and build resilience.

Tom

Q: What’s your favourite computer game?

A: Mass Effect 1. It was my first real RPG that I played when I was younger and I have always been a sci fi fan. The depth and detail that went into the game coupled with the fact that my decisions mattered to the story’s outcome blew me away.

Q: How/why/when did you get into coding?

A: A couple of years ago. I can’t draw, act, sing or dance but I love video games so thought I’d give it a go making some.

Q: What’s the favourite game you’ve made and why??

A: Though it’s not the most exciting game I’ve ever made, I built a game similar to Frogger or Crossy Road. I expected making the obstacles spawn in correctly to be very complicated but in reality I was able to find a very elegant way to do it and it became a phenomenally simple game. That’s just as important, to me, as making th next Fortnite or Fall Guys.

Q: What is your top tip for budding young coders / games designers?

A: You have to find something that you’ll be motivated to do. Don’t force it, work on things your passionate about as much as you can because you’ll be in a better head space to learn.

Q: Why do you think it is useful to learn how to code?

A: It’s all about problem solving. You’re faced with a task whether that be to fix or to build something and you have to look at the scenario then work out the best solution to the problem. It’s phenomenally creative from that perspective!