3D Game Programming for Kids: Create Interactive Worlds with JavaScript

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You know what’s even better than playing games? Programming your own! Make your own online games, even if you’re an absolute beginner. Let your imagination come to 3D life as you learn real-world programming skills with the JavaScript programming language – the language used everywhere on the web. This new edition is completely revised, and takes advantage of new programming features to make game programming even easier to learn. Plus, new effects make your games even cooler. When you’re done, you’re going to be amazed at what you can create.

Jump right in! Start programming cool stuff on page 1. Keep building new and different things until the very last page. This book wants you to play. Not just play games, but play with code. Play with programming. Because the best way to learn something is to have fun with it!

This second edition is updated from start to finish to make it even easier to get started programming in JavaScript. Every example has been updated to make it easier, with new example games to explore and new 3D effects that make your games even more fun! Want a red donut? You can make hundreds of them, spinning around like mad. Want to create a star field? Make a hundred or a thousand stars. Make them red, green, or blue. Explosions? Fireworks? Planets? It’s up to you. And, using a code editor created especially for this book, you’ll program right in your web browser. You’ll see the results of your work and imagination right away – right next to the code that you just typed! Along the way, you’ll pick up a ton of programming knowledge, and dive in even deeper with some more advanced chapters.

Whatever you want to do, this book has your back. Best of all, you get to create awesome games and say, “I made this!”

What You Need:

You need the latest version of the Google Chrome Web browser, available for free from https://chrome.google.com. You also need an Internet connection to access the ICE Code Editor the first time. ICE Code Editor will be loaded onto your computer, so you won’t need Internet access for later projects.

Q&A with Chris Strom, author of 3D Game Programming for Kids

Why did you write 3D Game Programming for Kids?

Like many programmers, I wanted to share my love of programming with my own kids as well as the next generation of programmers. I chose to wrap the message in the deliciousness of 3D gaming because that is what most kids (of all ages) want to create.

Let’s face it, no one learns to program because they think programming sounds like fun. Never in the history of the world was somebody sitting around the house or playing outside when the thought suddenly struck them that, “Hey, I think I’d like to learn programming, it sounds fun!” No, we all learn to program because we want to create something amazing.

And for the vast majority of kids, learning programming is something to do in order to create incredible games or weird simulations. My hope is that this book will enable kids of all ages to invent those things. And, if they fall in love with programming itself, I would not mind in the least!

Why JavaScript? Why not Python or some other language?

JavaScript makes so much sense for this book; it would have been a crime to try it in a different language. The initial reason that I opted for JavaScript was I wanted no barrier to getting started. Learning to program is hard enough without the initial pain and frustration of installing languages and tools. With JavaScript (and the ICE Code Editor web page) all a new programmer needs is a browser. In the Internet age, what could be simpler?

Most kids won’t want to hear this, but I also opted for JavaScript because it is extremely practical. It is the language of the web—web sites, web pages, web applications, and mobile applications are all built with JavaScript. People who know JavaScript are well prepared for the digital future. Being practical does have some advantages—like being able to share games and embed them on your own web sites!

And I have to admit that I love programming JavaScript. I have been programming JavaScript myself for years and never tire of it. I love it all the more for the incredible tools and libraries that have sprung up around it recently—especially the amazing Three.js library that we use throughout the book.

What kind of games will I be able to make with this book?

The book includes a nice variety of game types. Much of the first half of the book is spent creating a 3D player in a 3D world with a focus on making it as realistic and playable as possible. After that, we learn space simulations, puzzle games, mini-games, and games that simulate real-world physics. Some games include scoring, others a countdown timer, and some a little of both. Even though the name of the book includes “3D,” we also spend time on two dimensional games (think Super Mario Brothers). About the only thing we will not talk about is a multiplayer game—maybe that’s something for another book!

We won’t go into great detail about all of these things—this is a getting started book. But you should see enough to know how to start building these on your own. I cannot wait to see what you create!

Will I learn enough to be able to move on to other programming languages?

Absolutely! Programming languages are like spoken languages—there are lots of both kinds of languages and the more you learn, the better you get at learning. This book covers a ton of programming knowledge in addition to describing games and 3D concepts. Much of what you learn about JavaScript will be of use as you explore other programming languages.

That said, JavaScript is a fantastic first language to learn. It is the language of the web and you can use it to do an amazing variety of things — from creating web pages, to making web applications, to making games, to even programming robots! You could program only JavaScript for years and still learn something new every day, which is what makes programming so much fun!

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