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I have a "how does one get started..." question, which I see from the FAQ is not one generally accepted here, which is why this is on meta. Please bear with me a few moments, read, and then perhaps direct me to where the right place to ask is. Thanks

My 11 year old son has been asking me how he can create his own video games. A few relatively short search sessions reveals hundreds if not thousands of sites that dedicate at least some significant part of their real estate to this aim. I don't know enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.

A couple of remarkable (to me) places/products that have floated to the top so far are Sketch and GameMaker. I found GameMaker by following links and discussions from the Gamedev.SE FAQ, and it looks to be a highly polished application with a track record and at least 2 highly reviewed books. Sketch doesn't have polish, but coming from MIT it certainly has cred, and not being a commercial venture it has a certain better-for-you-like-health-food kind of feel. The Sketch comic book intro would certainly go over well, though perhaps a bit on the young side.

I think either or both (and probably the few more I'll hear about after posting this) would engender more than a few hours of delight, entertainment, and learning. I do have some concern that they might be a gift of the kool-aid kind. I don't want to get my child hooked on a product, it's the process I'd like to feed. You know, game development.

So, are Sketch, GameMaker and their ilk islands or stepping stones for budding young would-be game developers? If islands, where or what are the stepping stones for this age?

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http://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/11i1z7/game_development_for_children/

I just added a FAQ section for the best answer I could come up with, since we often get this question: "okay so if I can't ask it here, then where should I ask it?"

In my opinion, though, this question falls under the last bullet point; it seems you've already done some research, so I'd suggest you simply pick one of the tools you think would be good and sit your child in front of it, and see if he likes it. Or try them yourself to see what you think. Everyone will have their own experiences and opinions about the different tools but you're unlikely to get a solid answer, other than your fears about isolation are unfounded and any experience is good experience.

And that, by the way, is why this is not a good fit for our site. :-P

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Well it's a bit complicated to explain, self-learning is the only way of learning and if he wants to learn game making then he probably will on whichever environment he can do so. Of course, some times it might be a bit complicated specially code-wise, but when he starts learning and seeing that he now has the skills to tackle the problems he once had, he will like it much more and keep on learning.

So choose whichever you think it's best and has more compatability and choices and etc.

Happy programming for your kid ;)

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direct me to where the right place to ask is

Somewhere not on Stack Exchange.

We are a Q&A site. Your kind of "question" is not about facts. It won't help build a knowledgebase of information (which is what SE is all about). Ultimately, it will just be a bunch of people saying what they think would be a good tool for children to use.

SE is not intended to be all things for all people. At the end of the day, we have to adhere to a specific set of guidelines for questions. And this doesn't qualify.

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When I began programming, I started with Batch. This is a horrible idea. Get your child set up with something like basic or simple. Then progress to Python(with a real ide) and then your kid should be able to code with almost anything.

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