Getting a kid started with programming

I recently had a kid that wanted to program as well. He's about 12. Wanted to program games, but didn't get very far in a directX book.

I had a couple choices for him, due to some requirements: 

  • Something easy to install or didn't have lots of things to install 
  • Something with a all-in-one gaming library 
  • Something with some sort of community around it. 4) It'd be nice if there was a book for it.

So with those there, there was: 

Ruby and HacketyHack. http://hacketyhack.heroku.com/ It also has a app framework called shoes that you can use to build both games and apps. However, since _why left, all this requires a lot of hand hold to set up.

Lua and Love. http://love2d.org/ Lua is an easy language to pick up as it's pretty minimal, and love's 2D engine is pretty fantastic. I've used it before and it's pretty easy to get started with, and plenty of examples, as well as a vibrant community.

Python and Pygame. http://www.pygame.org/news.html Pygame has all of the above, and for me, the final winner, since there was a book that walks the kid along from basic text games to the graphics part. http://inventwithpython.com/ 

Just in case there are those of you out there that are looking for things to help out your little programmer.  Are there others you'd recommend?

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