3D Game Design and VR for children

Why does teaching children how games are made matter?

Many children today have access to devices that allow them to play games – often becoming engrossed until they have accomplished their goals. However, understanding the process behind creating these games offers a whole new level of engagement and learning.

3D Game Design

Playing 3D games alone or with friends is both interactive and immersive, but the thrill of making games can take young aspiring coders to the next level when equipped with the right tools.

The skills that children acquire through the game development process are problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. They also grasp concepts that relate to scale, perspective and spatial relationships that extend beyond game design.

Additionally, collaborating with others is integral to the game development process, fostering teamwork and communication skills in children as they code and design together with their peers.

By offering children the right tools and guidance, we empower them to unleash their creativity and imagination. The workshops not only teach game design but also cultivate important skills that will serve them well in the future.

Register your child to the next 3D Game Design Workshop.

Game Design

Children love playing games but in our Game Design workshops they get an opportunity to make them.

In our recent workshop, the children delved into the world of game creation using a simple yet powerful 2D engine. The experience of building a game from scratch proved to be immensely rewarding for them. They dived into storytelling, character development, design, and gained valuable insights into the process of game development.

As the workshop progressed, it was immensely gratifying to witness the children’s enthusiasm and dedication. I couldn’t have been more proud of their creations. Here are just a few examples of their games, which I hope will serve as inspiration for others who wish to embark on their own game design journey.

Make a chatbot

A chatbot is a computer program or an artificial intelligence (AI) designed to simulate human conversation through text or voice interactions. 

A rule based chatbot follows a specific flow of conversation and provides pre-determined responses based on keywords or phrases a user enters. We interact with these chatbots on a regular basis – e.g. when you are doing online shopping.

And AI powered chatbot uses artificial intelligence techniques, such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, to understand and respond to the user. They can learn from interactions, adapt to different contexts, and provide more dynamic and personalised responses.

Python is widely used to build both AI powered or rule based chatbots. I love using this programming language to show my students that they can create a basic rule based chatbot with a few lines of code. It is an excellent way of introducing python syntax and an example of a real application.

If you are ready to move to text based coding, the next Make a chatbot in Python workshop is on 27th July at Yatton library.

Explore coding in Minecraft

I love teaching coding in Minecraft to young people simply because it’s such a creative environment. My workshops give children the opportunity to learn to code and then use this to automate tasks that otherwise would have taken them a long time to do!

Unfortunately, many children are missing out as Minecraft Education is only used in some schools. However, once the children have been introduced to Microsoft Code Builder – the coding platform within Minecraft – and picked up how Minecraft 3D coordinates work, it soon opens up a whole world of possibilities, exploration and play.

As I’ve said many times before, I’m a strong believer that learning through play is an important element in education – and the same is true when learning to code.

In our workshops we cover the principles of computer programming, computational thinking, collaboration and problem solving skills.

Check the next Coding in Minecraft Club session Yatton library, North Somerset.

Getting started with text-based coding

I have now been teaching coding to young people for 11 years and I’m very proud to have seen some of my students going on to take a Computer Science GCSE – and in a couple of cases – an A Level. They have told me that they were inspired after attending my coding clubs.

Most children start learning to code with coding blocks, which enables them to learn programming principles without getting the dreaded computer errors. Instead of returning errors, the code simply won’t do what the children expect it to do. This is why the core principle of problem solving and debugging is so key.

When the children are ready to experiment with text-based coding, it can at first be frustrating for them as now they do need to understand the code they are writing, pay attention to the programming syntax and be able to understand error codes. However, a gentle introduction can be achieved in a fun an interactive way. That said, the output needs to be immediate and the children need to be able to see that their code has worked.

One way of combining interactivity, fun and text-based code is by coding Apps with JavaScript. JavaScript provides the interactive learning environment to run web based Apps that can be played on a mobile device. My experience has shown me that children really want to be able to see instant results and interact with what they have created.

Another way of introducing text-based coding is by creating a website page using the HTML language to create the web page structure and CSS to add interactivity.

Of course, once the children have been introduced to some form of text-based coding, the next step is to develop their coding skills by programming with Python.

Our next Create fun Apps with JavaScript is on Saturday 11th March 2023.

Coding in Scratch

Scratch, the block programming language, continues to inspire children to learn to code. Last term we had plenty of projects where the children learned to draw, make games and created stories for their characters using code.

At the end of every term, the children get to create anything they want using concepts they have learned over the term. The variety of projects is always great.

October half term coding workshops

Over the summer we delivered many coding clubs and workshops at some of the libraries in North Somerset. After a short break, we are pleased to be able to offer a couple of workshops in the forthcoming October half term.

Coding in Minecraft

The Coding in Minecraft workshop will be held at Portishead library on Tuesday 25th October 2022.

This workshop will start your child on their coding journey. We will be introducing your child to coding using one of the most popular gaming platforms for young people. It enables children to be creative, learn problem solving skills and learn to code while playing in a safe environment.

This is not a course to teach how to play Minecraft but rather how to modify a Minecraft world with code, create small games and interact with one another. Along the way, children also develop problem solving skills by solving coding puzzles.

The workshop is suitable for beginners and all coding abilities. More information and how to book.

Game Pixel Design

The Game Pixel Design workshop will be held at Yatton Library on Thursday 27th October 2022.

If your child loves playing computer games, why not let them create them too! This course will show the children how to design and make a game. They will draw their own characters and create a story for their game.

Everyone is welcome. Older students (Year 6, 7 and 8’s) will create a more complex game which they will be able to publish.

For more information and how to book.

Minecraft continues to inspire children

Coding in Minecraft

Minecraft has been a part of growing up fro many children – my daughter included. The game has also evolved into an educational resource – with many subjects now taught – at least in part – through the platform.

Learning computer science within Minecraft has been available for quite some time using the RaspberryPi and the Python language. However, in 2017 Microsoft released a set of programming tools accessible for students and educators via is Minecraft Education Edition.

At Codingbug, we have been using Minecraft to learn to code. Children who are familiar with Scratch will find coding in Minecraft a familiar welcoming environment.

During the 2021/22 academic year, our Minecraft coders learnt how to modify a Minecraft World, created mini-games, and automated builds with code. Yes, in Minecraft it is easier to create a wall with code than it is to ‘mine’ it and build!

Coding in a 3D game is harder than coding a 2D game, but the children rise to the challenge and nothing seems daunting or complicated when you can play and interact with it afterwards. Furthermore, the children love being able to see their friends’ avatars and collaborate with one another.

Our next Coding in Minecraft course for primary school children returns this October half term (2022) and we look forward to having more hours of fun building with code.

Web wizards summer course

Over the last school summer term we ran our first Web Wizards online course for secondary school students. The course took place after school on Mondays over an 8-week period.

The students learnt web development principles using HTML/CSS and JavaScript. Having been a web developer myself now for over 25 years, it was a pleasure to teach a group a young enthusiastic students. Sharing these skills in an engaging and fun way to a group of teens is not the easiest of tasks and keeps me on my toes. But I was bowled over by the students’ ability to understand the HTML Markup Language and create their first websites. One of the students went even further and created a web App. (Pics below)

A website that uses HTML/CSS and JavaScript created by a student.

The Monday coding club allows students to develop their coding skills and take them to the next level – whether beginners or advanced coders. There is lots of collaboration and we learn together in a safe and friendly environment.

An Diary App created with HTML/CSS and JavaScript by one of the students.

This term (September 2022), we have a brand new course for those students wishing to develop their Python skills. Check the Pygame Lab for more information.

Learn to code at libraries

Over the first six months of this year we partnered with North Somerset Libraries to deliver a series of ‘in person’ coding clubs and workshops for young people. The programme was over-subscribed, attracting many children from different parts of the district. This was heartening given the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Attendance didn’t drop off through the course programme so I need to give a big thank you to all the parents and carers who ferried their children to the library venues – and the young people themselves, for their enthusiasm and commitment.

Thank you to those who have shared their feedback so far.

Here’s a quick visual summary of the programme!

Make a Chatbot in Python (Feb 2022 )

Children coding a chatbot in Python

A 3-hour workshop where the students created their first chatbot in Python. This workshop took place at Yatton library.

Introduction to Wearable Technology (Feb 2022)

Children learning basics of electronics

A 3-hour workshop where the children learnt the principles of Wearable Technology and made a badge that lit up. This workshop took place in the library at The Campus in Worle.

Web Design (March 2022)

Children building a website.

The children learnt to code in HTML and CSS and made a website about an imaginary pet. This coding club was delivered over 6 weeks at the Healthy Living Centre in Weston-super-Mare.

Create fun Apps with JavaScript (March 2022)

Children coding Apps in JavaScript.

A 6-week coding club on how to make interactive Apps. This course took place at Nailsea Library on Saturday mornings.

Physical computing with the micro:bit (March 2022)

Children coding with the micro:bit

Coding with the micro:bit was a coding club delivered on Saturday mornings at Yatton library – again, over 6 weeks. The pedometer was a real hit!

Make a Minecraft game in Scratch (April 2022)

Children coding a Minecraft game in Scratch.

A 3-hour workshop where the children learnt how to make a Minecraft game in Scratch. This workshop took place at Weston library.

Paper circuits (April 2022)

Children building a paper circuit.

A 3-hour workshop where the children learnt basic electronics concepts and made an electronic circuit for a greeting card. This workshop took place at the Healthy Living Centre in Weston-super-Mare.

Learn to code in Scratch (May 2022)

Children coding in Scratch.

An introduction to the Scratch programming language. This course took place over 6 weeks and by the end of the course the children had created a game which they could interact with. The course took place at The Campus in Worle.

Learn to code in Python (May 2022)

Students learning to code in Python

Learn to code in Python was another 6 week course for late primary and secondary school students. This course was delivered at Weston library. A big clap to those teens who got up early on those Saturday mornings… and remained wide awake during the lessons 🙂

Introduction to the RaspberryPi Pico (June 2022)

Making a traffic light system with the RaspberryPi Pico.

Physical computing with the RaspberryPi Pico. This was a 3-hour workshop where the children learnt to code a traffic light system. This workshop was delivered at Nailsea Library.

What parent’s said about our courses:

He loved it. Thank you so much for the opportunity. It’s definitely sparked a passion.

He absolutely loved it. He created a blushing cactus. He was really proud of what he created. Thank you so much.

She really liked it and enjoyed attending the course very much. She has been using the things she has learned at home.

My son really enjoyed coding club, and learnt a lot from it. He continued to practice what he had learnt at home. Now his younger brother is keen to learn!

He really enjoyed the sessions and was keen to show us the apps he’d created. He had previously only done a little coding in Scratch so learnt a lot. He liked being creative with coding, making apps that reflected his interests and sense of humour. Thank you for these sessions.

She was keen to go each week, a sure sign of the fact she was engaged! She has an interest in coding from doing Scratch at school and was pleased to show us what she had learned.

Both of my girls really enjoyed themselves. They were proud to show me what they had made when they got home and both said they would love to do another workshop one day. Thank you!

He is happy with it. He is into coding and Phyton is one of the hard things to learn. He learned so much from these lessons.