THE VIDEO GAME WORKSHOP: HERE'S HOW TO PROGRAM A GAME ON SWITCH

Announced for June 11 on Switch, L’Atelier du Jeu Vidéo invites everyone to create a game from A to Z. CNEWS was able to attend a preview of a new presentation session of this experience, focused on programming .

Nintendo Europe thus gave us a first lesson within the framework of this concept which intends to demonstrate, in a fun way, that anyone can program a game. Let us recall in passing that the Video Game Workshop will be launched on the eShop of the Switch at a price of 29.99 euros. At this price, Nintendo promises to give all the keys and tools to create, from the age of 7, the game of his dreams. 

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A total of seven lessons will be provided, each with a theme associated with a style of play. Platform game, racing game, escape game, shoot them up, fighting … Key genres are present here, with the possibility to build a game whose gameplay will be based on a traditional use of the joystick or with the accelerometer of the Joy-Con for games requiring to play with balance or the movement of a ball for example.

AND PROGRAMMING BECOMES A GAME

And as usual, Nintendo has devised a very easy-to-access solution so that programming becomes a game. Each lesson in L’Atelier du Jeu Vidéo lasts an average of 40 minutes, but can last up to 1h30. It is divided into four parts: the concept, the execution, a quiz (to see if the basics are well understood) and finally the test for yourself, where it is possible to start without a net.

Of course, the player can be held by the hand thanks to Nodons, small characters in the shape of buttons in order to personalize certain elements of creation and programming. A good idea to identify each function. Nodons also share tips and let you know when you make a mistake, all with humor.

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In the case of a platform game, the very first lesson first invites us to choose the buttons that will allow you to move the character. All you have to do is choose the dedicated Nodon (for example the one dedicated to multidirectional cross movement) to assign it by attaching it via a “point-and-drag” to the person. Another button (A) can then be assigned to the jump, it too will be attached to the character. The programming interface can then be paused to switch to the game world and see if the programming was successful. Ditto for the camera control system, where you can center it on the main character so that it follows the action of the character.

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Then comes the creation of the skeleton of the level to be crossed. It is here first possible to choose the obstacles that you want to place on the character’s path, to model their height, width, colors or materials. For each element added, a small drop-down menu allows us to choose whether we want this element or object to be visible or not, solid, movable, destructible … It is then possible to create and add elements to its as you wish. You can also configure the notions of space and time by redefining, for example, the physical laws that accompany the game, such as the type of gravity (or not) that you want or even configure the time it takes for an object to reappear.

Once the framework of the level has been created, we can then move on to the aesthetic phase to choose in what type of world we can evolve (nature, wood, construction …) and change the colors and textures of each element present on the level. Note that the Video Game Workshop offers a texture and drawing editor that allows you to customize certain graphic elements and even decide on the appearance of the main protagonist. However, it is not possible to import images or drawings that have already been made on other devices.

Finally, aspiring programmers who want an even simpler experience can connect a mouse to the console’s USB port in the dock connected to the TV. Most of the mice found on the market are compatible, according to Nintendo Europe and are recognized by the Switch.

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And for those who wish to share their games with other players, Nintendo specifies that this is possible locally if you meet another player who owns the console and the game, but also online via their Nintendo Online account. In the L’Atelier du Jeu Vidéo interface, you can enter your username or Game ID. If a person receives these items, then they can download the games remotely. Creators can also allow copies of their game to be created to allow another player to use that creation to add other elements. The original game will however remain the same.

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