Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Writing Computer Games

I recently came across a cool programming contest for female college students (details available at http://g4g.cs.uiuc.edu/ ).

Of course, I encouraged all my students to get involved, and almost invariably they said something like, "Programming a game is too hard!"

So I took a close look at the software used by this contest, and I must say I'm extremely impressed. Game Maker was written by Mark Overmars, and was designed to allow non-programmers to make games. Game Maker succeeds at this task by handling all the fiddly bits like drawing graphics smoothly and detecting collisions for you, while you just say what happens as a result of the collision. You can find Game Maker at http://www.gamemaker.nl

The best praise I can give Game Maker is that, if I were to design a game programming tool to make game programming easier, I would have done it exactly like Mark did. I don't often find programs designed so well.

So, if you are a female college student, and think game programming is too hard, do take a look at the Game Maker tutorials (available at http://www.gamemaker.nl/tutorial.html ). You'll find it's a lot easier than you think!

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