Saturday, December 12, 2009

TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Tektoma

Tektoma is a website with tutorials on how to make online games. My boys were thrilled with this product. I did not have to do much to get them to do the Tektoma tutorials, they spent a lot of time working on their games and want to continue doing so.

I asked the boys to do the actual review of the website since they are the ones that used it. I think they did a great job. If you have any questions about the Tektoma membership leave a comment for us.

Tektoma makes video tutorials for use with a simple, yet powerful, game creating program called GameMaker 7. The tutorials are designed for kids age 6-16, and are explained clearly and precisely, and thus are easy to follow. They recommend starting with the beginner game tutorials, making a racing game, and working your way up to a fantasy adventure game, also known as a role-playing game. The tutorials take from 45 minutes to several hours, depending on the game you are making. They are each in 7-12 parts, and you can fast-forward or rewind to where you left off. The games they teach you are relatively easy to expand, as I did with my racing game; adding bonuses and a difficulty setting. The games you are showed how to create involve squishing or attacking enemies with weapons (axes, swords, etc.), but no blood or gore. Most enemies simply disappear or fade away when defeated.

Nathan's Racing Game (screenshot)
The site is user-friendly, and has several example games you can download, as well as FAQ's, help, and other helpful features. New tutorials are added every few months. There is also a small forum where you can ask for help or request a new tutorial.

Nathan's Platform Game (he is still working on this one)

Here is a link to Nathan's executable file. You can go to this link, download the racing game he made and play it. He revised this many times and says it is way better than the sample game on the Tektoma site. Play it and leave us a comment to let us know what you think.

Here is a link to Nathan's post about the games he created with Tektoma. He has more details and screenshots of the games on there. He also has a demo of his platform game that he is still working on.

To start, the tutorials are easy to use. The person teaching you speaks fast enough so it doesn't take hours, but slow enough so that you can keep up with what he's teaching. It uses step-by-step programming, so that you can have time to do the things he teaches right along with him as you are viewing the lessons. You can have two windows open at the same time with the tutorial in one window and the Gamemaker program open in the other window and not just follow along but also create your own game as you watch the tutorials.

The tutorial has a pause/start button so you can stop the video and do something. You can also fast forward and rewind the video in case you missed something.

There are three hardness levels in Tektoma: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Furthermore, the site is easy to navigate. There are three main buttons on the home page: Create: Takes you to the page where you can choose tutorials. Play: Takes you to a page where you can download examples of the games you'll be making, and games that other Tektoma members have made. Share: Takes you to a page where you can upload your game.

An administrator will evaluate your game to make sure it's appropriate. Then if it is, it will be posted on the Play page. This function insures that the game you download will be safe for kids to play.

The Game Maker download is completely free. When you first start it up it will ask you if you want to use advanced mode. You need the advance mode to have all the features for making the game like the tutorials say. The Pro game costs money. If after you finish the tutorials you want to get a better programming experience then you can buy pro version.It does have some features the free program does not have but they are extra's and you have everything with the free program that you need to make the games in the tutorials.

Cons: NONE!

General Information about Tektoma

  • HOME (the basics and links to try out the games to see what can be made using the tutorials) 
  • ABOUT TEKTOMA (information about the owners/writers of the tutorials  
  • WHY TEKTOMA (more information about the website including safety of the games, content of the website, and pricing
PRICE: Just $14.95 per month or $140 per year gets you access to all the tutorials as well as online help via the forums. Payable by credit card or Paypal. Monthly fee automatically renews until canceled.

Free 14-day trial
Earn Free Membership Time by Telling Your Friends: Use the Tell Your Friends link at the top to invite your friends to try out Tektoma, too. When they become paying members, you get 15 days free. There is no limit to the number of referral credits you can earn.

***NOTE: If you sign up for Tektoma and pay for a monthly or yearly membership and use this link you will give my boys 15 days free. Please if you are going to purchase a membership use this link and help my boys have some more free access to make more great games.


You can of course still use the regular Tektoma link, but using the link above will give us the 15 free days. We only get the 15 free days if you purchase a membership not if you only do the free trial.

Out of five stars the boys give Tektoma:

We hope the boys can complete all the tutorials for all the levels that are currently on the site during our 3 month subscription given by Tektoma, if they cannot we may get an extra month or two for them. Later when new tutorials are uploaded we will consider getting memberships for short periods of time so they can do the new tutorials. They have thoroughly enjoyed the tutorials and it made it very easy for them to learn to use the Gamemaker software.

Check out the other reviews of Tektoma here at the Homeschool Crew Blog.

***Tektoma provided me with a 3 month subscription so that I could do my review. Though I received this product for free I have given an honest review of them here in this post. 


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