Developer: Primer Labs, based in San Francisco, California
Founding date: March 17 2010
Press / Business Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Code Hero is a game that teaches how to make games that teach everything else.
Code Hero started with Alex Peake working on an educational game about the history of science called Primer that was going to end with a final secret: a level that taught the player how to make more levels and expand on the game to teach more things. It became apparent that the final level should be the first level and actually the entire game should be about learning to make games. Alex began developing the new game concept to teach game programming to enable people to make new educational games.
Alex built the first prototypes to show how players could shoot code at objects to alter the environment and solve platforming puzzles. He enlisted the help of his friend and fellow Unity teacher Charles Zannorman to help design and program the early prototypes. Charlie started his own game called Mathbreakers and Alex continued working to develop Code Hero into a first episode with a set of learning levels that culminated in beating FizzBoss. FizzBoss was the classic FizzBuzz job interview programming test turned into 100 space invading robots that must be defeated in 60 seconds with a code ray that shoots once per second. With this prototype to show, Alex sought additional funding to develop the game into a more complete experience.
Alex launched a Kickstarter and it was wildly successful, gaining over $170,000 in funding. He began hiring new full-time team members to develop the game from a prototype into a complete game. They worked on it for about 6 months and showed it at PAX East and PAX Prime.
PAX Prime 2012 was the first public demo and release of an early version of Code Hero with level-editing and coding features that resembled the full Unity Editor and puzzles that required the player to edit the world and monsters to escape from a labyrinth. It was an encouraging reception to the progress on the game to that point, but a lot of work remained to build the content that the new editor tools made possible. Unfortunately, funding plans to support development beyond the dwindling Kickstarter funds fell through and the team faced a difficult situation. They tried to raise additional funding without success and suspended work by the full-time staff. Alex remained working on it solo.
Without funding, the Kickstarter audience grew frustrated with the lack of progress and updates. Alex released a new version with the Voice of Ada Lovelace teaching how to use the new editor tools. Updates were sporadic till 2015 when Alex began posting monthly updates and media showing the new, much improved version of Code Hero.
In August 2016, Alex relaunched Code Hero’s online presence and prepared to release the new versions towards a 2017 release.
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Nicole S. Greicar