Monday, December 14, 2009

Tektoma - Computer Game Programming

Tektoma is a new company founded in 2009 by Tom Marx and Matilda O’Connor to provide 24/7 video tutorials to children to teach video game programming. Tom and Matilda have many years of experience with management, engineering and tech stuff.

They have been teaching children for about 9 years now at a summer camp called “Bits, Bytes and Botes” each year. The children have been taught at the camp how to program and build their own video games. As it was costly for parents to send them to the camp they came up with an easier way for children to have access to this technology all the time. Two of their children in their families liked to do this kind of work too.

My curiosity was intrigued when reading some of the above information which is supplied on their website.

Through becoming a member to the Tektoma website for a monthly fee of $14.95 per month or $180.00 per year, one has access to Software to download to your hard drive and to tutorials that help you or your child to design the first game on your computer. On the site there are short examples to see or try out of the various video games you can make. I found the Software easy to download but for some reason my computer would not take the Advanced version which actually makes the game work a million times better.
With a membership comes the following access on the site:
Tektoma offers you this:
Engaging video tutorials for ages 7-17
Tutorials of varying skill levels and topics
Learn at your own pace in the comfort of your home
Natural progression helps develop technical skills
Customize your learning experience
Low monthly membership fee gives access to all our resources
New curriculums available monthly

Examples of Games are as follows:
Racing Game (this is the game made in the Racing Game Tutorial)
Arcade Game (this is the game made in the Arcade Game Tutorial)
Platform Game (this is the game made in the Platform Game Tutorial)
Fantasy Adventure Game (this the game made in the Fantasy Adventure Game Tutorial)
What's New Puzzle Game (this is the game made in the What's New Tutorial)

My 8 year old son listened to the first tutorial and was very confused. He did try the Racing Game online and found it frustrating as using the arrow keys to move the car around it’s racing track did not work well for him. I tried it too and realized you have to be one step ahead of the car’s next move before it getting there and it worked very slowly compared to the other vehicle speeding round the track.

The tutorials are very thorough and fairly lengthy but the process is slow and clear for a child to understand if they desire to learn all the key elements to making this work. I feel that my son is not interested in learning this sort of thing at all, and every time I tried to encourage him to do so he told me that he had something else to do. Perhaps he thought I was working him too hard!
I personally do not like video games very much so am obviously not really keen on learning how to program them. I became annoyed whenever I tried to build my own and could not due to not having the correct gadgets in my directory to work with. I do not like to say this but I think I gave up. The extra load of software on my hard drive made it have to work too hard as well. It requires at least 128 MB of RAM, Direct X with 32 MB of video memory, and a screen resolution of 800 x 600. For those who are 'techie' people you would probably enjoy this site and what they have to offer.

You can link to the Homeschool crew Review site and read what other families who were given this program to try out thought of this. I am not saying it is a bad product but one that I do not understand and no like to be using. Personally I can do better things with my time on the computer and so can my children. Please follow the links below to The Old Schoolhouse Crew review site and also to the Tektoma website too.
I received a 3 month subscription to the above company and access to their website. I have written this review to describe my experience with this product. I have received no financial gift for this review. The above review is my own opinion on this product.

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