Topic: Homeschool Product Review
You would think that I would have learned my lesson by now. I used to be one of those people who said "My kids will never do that!" or "I can't believe that they allow that to go on in their house." Of course, I said those things before I had children. And, you can probably guess what happened. You can be assured that with an asperger's syndrome child in my home that my kids frequently "do that" and many unusual things are allowed to go on in our house. I thought that I had learned my lesson and would never make a blanket statement like that again.
Well, open mouth, insert foot, a couple of months ago it happened again. I was asking my boys what things that they really wanted to learn in school this year. I wanted to know their interests so that I could adjust my homeschool teaching to their likes. After all, isn't that one of the things that makes homeschooling special? During our discussion John Allen divulged that he would love to learn how to program his own computer games. In my usual "I think I know it all but God is about to show me something" wisdom, I said "John Allen, that's something that you have to go to school a long time to learn how to do. Maybe we can look into taking a basic computer course at the local community college in a couple of years." When I was discussing this with a fellow Homeschool Crew member she said "Oh, my son has been programming his own computer games since he was 9 years old. What you need to look into is this...and this...". Well, I listened with half an ear but I was still skeptical.
Then, Lo and Behold, but what to my wandering eyes should appear, but an email addressed to the TOS Homeschool Crew from Tektoma. It seems that Tektoma was sending me a free three month subscription to their...you guessed it...game making tutorials so that I could review it and write about it on my blog! Boy does God have a sense of humor, and, boy do I need to keep my big, fat, mouth shut and just rely on God!
John Allen was thrilled when I told him what we were going to be reviewing and Tektoma has not dissapointed. You've seen the commercials featuring the guy offering a free tutorial CD for about any computer program. You know, the one who feels so sure that you will love it that you will buy more of his tutorial CD's for other things? Well, Tektoma is kind of like that. It runs on your computer and takes you step by step on how to build a video game.
Of course, when you get a powerpoint tutorial, you need to have the powerpoint progam to be able to use it. It wouldn't do you much good if you didn't. Well, that's the same way with Tektoma. You need to have some type of game making software so that the Tektoma game maker tutorial will help you. They work with Gamemaker, and had us download Gamemakers free game making software program before we began.
After you download the necessary items, the fun begins! Take a look at the great types of games that you can build. I like the way that Tektoma has different levels and tells you exactly what type of game that you will create and what it entails.
John Allen began with the "How to Make a Racing Game" tutorial because, being the kind sweet boy that he is, he wanted to make a car game for his brothers who love racing games (and, it helped that I threatened him to within an inch of his life if he didn't ). Anyway, after an initial period of getting used to the tutorial and how it works and after a few glitches that we had to work out (nothing major, just me being a non-techy type person) John Allen was on his way. Tektoma explains it so well, and the Gamemaker software was so easy to use, that he was soon well on his way to having a great Car Race game. All of the things were right there that he needed. He was able to place walls where he wanted, program the cars to do what they should, even put trees, bushes and other landscaping around his track to pretty it up! I would post the game right here, but, unfortunately, we have had a bout with the flu (twice ) so it isn't quite done yet. I will post it in the very near future.
I am amazed at the quality of work that he has done in such little time! This is fantastic. He now wants to create his own games and put them on a website that he built himself (using that other fantastic product that I reviewed earlier)! I can't wait for him to begin building more advanced games. While I'm not thrilled with many of the fantasy games that you can buy for game systems, perhaps he could build a Christian fantasy game. I've already talked to him about that.
I'm also impressed with the safety of Tektoma. There is a forum where you can ask more advanced game makers questions, and there is a question and answer section on the main site. Everything that is sent in to one of these areas is completely moderated so that even a young child can use it and you don't have to worry about unsafe content.
Tektoma offers a free 14 day trial so that you can try it out. Afterward, it is only $14.95 a month or $140 a year. To get to their great website, just click here, or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To find out what the other TOS Crew Members are saying, just click here. This is something that anyone would love, not just a homeschooler. Hey! It would make a great Christmas gift! Happy Homeschooling.