in reply to
Learning how to program (for youngsters of any age)
This reminds me of a Maxis product called Klik 'n Play. First of all, I hate purposely mispelling words to draw attention (Limp Bizkit?). Second, I really liked KnP. It got me back into "creating" on a computer, after I got tired of programming BASIC. The concept was great: You had a library of sprites and sound effects, or you could import your own. You could setup different "physics" models, like platform, directional (like pacman, a topdown view), and others. You could set counters, loops, etc. You would use a point and click event based system to do basically everything.
'When player 1 presses "fire", shoot object "bullet" at angle="current player 1 angle'.
Then you would have something like:
'When player 2 contacts "bullet" reduce "player 2 life counter" "1"'
It was a fun product, that taught me the basics of event based programming very quickly. That experience came in handy when I went to learn Visual BASIC (*ducks*, repents).
That, in turn, carried over to Tcl/Tk, Perl/Tk, and most other GUI tools that I have used. The only disadvantage was that complete games took a long time to create. Their example app, which was Donkey Kong but with Romeo trying to rescue Juliet, would have taken me a few weeks of free time to do, even without having to create the graphics.
I should point out that the language that got me into programming was, in fact, LOGO. It was sweet. PEN UP. PEN DOWN. RIGHT 90. I was so impressed with myself when I figured out that I could get a circle by going forwards a little, then making a tiny turn, and repeating. I am still convinced that one of the best ways to learn looping is to draw polygons or stars in LOGO.
On a sadder, personal note, I threw Klik 'n Play in the garbage the other day while I was cleaning out my room in preparation for the move to college.