You could learn to code by playing this videogame

It's an infinite loop of creativity

Coding is an intimidating thing to begin to learn when even its very name conjures up images of systems of random letters and numbers that have specifically ordered with secrecy in mind , to be understood by only a select few. It doesn’t exactly scream “fun” to the uninitiated.

But coding is a creative activity, it requires a powerful imagination and according to Bill Gates it “stretches your mind, and helps you think better” and it’s a skill that’s only becoming increasingly essential. Fortunately, there are initiatives out there trying to make coding as accessible as possible and one of the most exciting of these is the videogame CodeSpells.

CodeSpells is a sandbox adventure game in which players take up the role of a wizard, but instead of being provided with an established book of spells with which to defeat enemies and solve puzzles, players must craft their own spells using code. The game hopes to appeal to inexperienced coders by providing an intuitive ‘drag-and-drop’ JavaScript coding interface which where you can specify exactly what you want your spells to do, but it should also draw in more experienced coders who will find a great deal of creative freedom.

Right now the game has a single player sandbox mode in which you can code spells that use the elements and combine them in an infinite number of ways, manipulate the landscape, dragging up mountains to use as shields or even conjure up an implementable force field. It’s up to you; the number of spells you can create is literally infinite.

Below is a video in which one of the game’s developers Sarah Guthal talks about the idea behind the game and what she hopes to achieve:

The game is being developed by ThoughtSTEM, a company that focuses on teaching children how to code, and whose co-founder Sarah Guthals featured on Forbes 2016 30 under 30 list for science. Right now CodeSpells is in Steam Early Access for £14.99 after a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 where ThoughtSTEM are relying on contributions from players to help steer the game’s development. It’s still in the early stages of development, so not all the planned features have been implemented yet and the game is still lacking a good tutorial.

That said, ThoughtSTEM are very active developers, continually posting updates. It’s an exciting game to see in development, offering an incredibly clever way of showcasing the creative possibilities that being able to code presents.