Advice for Beginners?

Hi. I am a 13 year old who is new to programming. I have managed to make a few simple games but i wish to make something with more substance. I need a good tutorial with in depth explanations of nearly all functions. Anyone got anything for me?

@jlslate - I’m sorry… That just bought me to this image I just threw together:

Hey there Jordan,

Codea comes with built-in API manual, and link to complete lua 5 ref.
But that’s not going to get you anywhere. Do you have any idea on what you want to do ?

What I mean is that built-in functions are never enough, and you always end up making your own algorithms to fit your needs etc…
What you need is a goal, even if it’s nothing concrete, then I’m sure we’ll be able to help you out :slight_smile:



Hello Jordan,
I am actually only 12, and I started coding at 7. Here’s what really helped - Start with a certain function or two, write an example program with it, and then I get it. Then I moved I real games. I suggust starting with some old games, for instance, I coded pong. Snake wouldn’t be too hard either. Then start edging away from already made games. For instance, I created a space game with scrolling stars, ships that you can change their direction and move there (I had to learn sin and cos for that), you can shoot each other, warp from each side of the screen to the other, added collisions, and added space-like physics so when you move in one direction, you keep going. But what I learned from that, is these things:

  • Put as many things in functions or classes as possible.
  • Map out the flow of the game (so you don’t feel a need for goto).
  • Always look for premise library’s first (like my scrolling background library).
  • Have fun or you won’t have great quality or want to keep programming.

Hope that helps! Have fun! Need help with a specific type of game? LMK.

This may be below your level but you may want to skim it

Pick the example that’s closest to what you want to do, and study it. Get to know it backwards and forwards, until you can tell what every single line is doing. Modify it, until you can tell ahead of time what doing different things will do.

Then - pick one small part of what you want to make, and make it - an animation loop, or movement, or touch controls, or something.

Eventually, you can start putting them together into bigger bits. It’s like lego - start small, build it bigger.

Do NOT try to make something huge at first - it’s hard, and you’ll get discouraged. Set reasonable goals, build them, and move on, and in a year or so you’ll be making amazing things.

I had to learn sin and cos for that

See, maths is good for something.

Trig isn’t math, it’s MAGIC!

Thanks for all the advice. Sorry for not checking this thread recently, I have been MIA. Over this time I have branched out a bit, I now am pretty fluent in Python, JavaScript, and I am trying to get C. I’m also looking into advanced maths, just to get the basic functions of trigonometry down. I’ve made a few programs before, such as a rotating wheel with its own physics (Before Codea was updated) a single player pong, and a simple target shooting game which used math.random.

I reckon there may be a few folk who could benefit from a collection of tutorials on Codea (and Lua) so I have started one at

My aim is to publish at least one tutorial per week but that will be dependant on interference from the RealWorld™.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Thanks @Reefwing ! I think that is one blog I will be following!

Tutorial 2 is out now!