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Rasberry Pi Xmas present....?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by nixmith, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. nixmith

    nixmith Established commenter

    Hi All,

    My son (Yr 7 aged) has asked for some s'ware to make computer games for Xmas (not Scratch something more 'grown up') any suggestions?

    I actually have been thinking about getting him a Rasberry Pi kit for awhile, was just waiting for him to get old enough and I'm sure the time is right, this Xmas. Can anyone advise me what to get? I understand there is a Rasberry Pi B (is that like version 2?). I want to get him more than just the basic credit card computer, what else do I need? (I have approx £50-70 budget).

    I saw this on eBay, would it be fine (I have an old monitor and keyboard already):

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Raspberry...10-/161919014423?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6368

    I realise I'm asking this rather late, but I have already got a couple of books on Raspberry Pi for Xmas morning and he will be ok waiting till the New Year for the actual thing - we would rather do that, than get something useless or out-of-date.

    Many thanks

    Nixmith
     
  2. TonyGT

    TonyGT Established commenter

    There seems to be massive misconception as to what a Raspberry Pi is. Most non-experts I speak to assume it's some sort of programming machine made specifically for learning to develop software. This is perpetuated by the companies who sell them who frequently reel off lines such as "This Raspberry Pi starter kit could start you on the way to being a skilled programmer. The kit comes with the added benefit of having everything you need to start learning in one box." (this was taken from the advertisement you posted).

    A Raspberry Pi is just a computer. It's effectively the same as your desktop computer at home but on a smaller scale and likely less power. The idea of it is that you can you can mess around with, and change things that you wouldn't want to change on your computer for fear of rendering it a very expensive brick.

    So unless you have the knowledge and time to help him learn to make games on whatever software you choose, buying him a Raspeberry Pi is going to be the equivalent of buying him a camping stove because he has expressed an interest in becoming a gourmet chef.
     
  3. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    If I were 7 again (and yes it iwas a very long time ago and far away)
    I would much prefer to learn programming with one of these
    http://www.sphero.com/

    But if you insist on RPI have a look to see if you can find the PI magazine they were giving a Pi-zero away free on the December issue
     
  4. sirspamalotless

    sirspamalotless Occasional commenter

    Getting him working on code.org
     
  5. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    At the risk of sounding patronising, a Raspberry Pi is hardware (ie: physical component) and not software. If he wants software to develop games then you could do a lot worse than things like Kodu or Gamemaker. Both are free but have 'premium' options too.

    If he's looking to actually code, he'll need to learn the basics before jumping into making games. He could go down the route of codecademy (online training in different languages - not perfect in terms of teaching/learning but it's well supported and set up for someone who's enthusiastic) or download a program like Small Basic which would introduce him to text based programming - there are some tutorials on how to make basic games like Tetris on their website.

    All of those are free!
     
  6. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    If you do want to get a Raspberry Pi, you can get a kit that goes with it called 'Fuze' which is really good - we were going to buy some for school but budget constraints stopped us!

    http://www.fuze.co.uk/

    It gives you a keyboard and a load of input/output slots so he can make programs that make LEDs light up etc. They have some good guides on how to use BASIC and Python too - they said they were going to make more but not sure if these are still a work in progress.
     
  7. clickschool

    clickschool New commenter

    Late to the party I know...

    Visual apps include Kodu (free), Game Maker, Game Salad (used to be free but now subscription based). Check out many of the organisations offering Code Camps (can I mention any?) - can be pricey (check if grants are available) but it is intensive, small groups, lots of 1:1 attention, fun and with like-minded kids. (e.g. 5-6 hours a day for a week) - a good place to quickly learn the basics. If going it alone, there is a risk of losing interest as concepts can become frustrating.
    Lots of online resources - if you want to learn proper coding techniques then definitely Google: Greenfoot, Pygame with Python, Javascript games (it's pretty amazing what you can achieve with JS and canvas element in JS/HTML5).
    If you've already got a computer and want to learn how to code games, I wouldn't necessarily go down the Raspberry Pi unless you are into hardware too, and purchasing all the various LED and sensor boards, but this can soon lead to a few complexities.
     
  8. kash645

    kash645 New commenter

    Wow!
    This is cool!! I want one
     

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