Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Review: Tektoma


When the TOS Homeschool Crew was asked to review Tektoma, I had absolutely no clue what it was but immediately headed to their website to find out. I was beyond happy with what I discovered.

Take from their website:

Do you want to learn how to make video games?

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

Do why did this make me so happy? My oldest son is 13 years old. For at least the last year or so he has been bugging me to learn how to make computer games. That was his main focus in life. He spends hours walking outside and if you ask him what he's doing he'll tell you "Creating video games" - in his head - that he wants to make for real some day. This particular boy has always been pretty computer obsessed savvy.

Do you see the subtitle up there? It says "Game Tutorials for Kids." That sums up what Tektoma is all about. They have created video tutorials on how to create video games. The tutorials show how to use the free YoYo games software.

Okay, so if the software that is used to create the games is free, why the need for Tektoma? The tutorials show you step-by-step how to use that software. Obviously, one might be able to play around with it & not find a need for Tektoma, but I know my kids would have struggled.

When you arrive at the Tektoma website there are three icons to chose from - "Create" or "Play" or "Share." The "Create" button will allow your child to access the tutorials and begin creating one of five games. The choices are either a racing game, an arcade game, a memory game, a platform game (think Mario Brothers), or a fantasy adventure game. B13 has created all but a memory game at this point.

The "play" button allows you to play games. There is one game for each of the categories listed. These games are the ones created in the tutorials. There is also a place where members may upload and share the games they have made. While B13 hasn't done that, there is also a way to e-mail your games to family & friends. He has been sending his games to my brother who works on computers for a living. My brother has offered to be B13's beta tester. His daughters (ages 4 & 5) have also played B13's platform game as have I. It was interesting. He did a very good job considering it was one of his first games.

The "share" button allows you to upload your game to the site so that others may play it. It has to pass inspection from the site administrators first to make sure the content is appropriate. We have yet to do this but may in the future.

Overall this was a huge hit in our house. It worked best for B13 as this is a huge interest for him. He would spend hours a day working on his games and I was fine with that. It was typically in the afternoon after we were done with book learning. I still remember telling him it would all count as schoolwork. Priceless.

N8 did take a stab at creating a racing game but I found it a little over his head at age 8. Even though the tutorials are listed for ages 7-17, I think it's very helpful for those on the lower end of that age range to have either an older sibling or an adult with them to help them over the tougher spots.

Tektoma offers a free 14-day trial so that you could easily figure out if it were something your child would like and use before committing to a monthly cost. Tektoma costs $14.95 a month (you may cancel at any point) or you could purchase a year's membership for $140.

And this review would not be complete without a word from B13 himself.

I liked it a lot. It was very interesting and complicated in a good way.
It uses Dragon icons. Some are customizable.
You can create objects and rooms to play the objects in.
The tutorials were fun.

A boy of few words. Be sure to pop over to the Crew blog to read more reviews.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. All opinions shared are my own. TOS Crew Membersare given the product free of charge in exchange for our unbiased opinion of the product.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you addressed the free software. That got under my skin, and no one else seemed to notice that!


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