Despite having no previous experience in coding – except for a small foray in trying to teach myself html – coding is something that I’ve always admired and wished that I could learn fluently. So when the opportunity arose to review Fuze for the Nintendo Switch, I was very excited.
Fuze is a coding application for the Nintendo Switch that aims to provide an intuitive, clear and versatile programming environment which takes the best from a variety of programming languages such as C, Python, and BASIC.
But when it all comes down to it, how accessible is Fuze for beginners to coding, really?
It can seem somewhat daunting at first, but upon loading the software you are greeted with a simplistic screen with a set of tiles. A tutorial is available to explain each section, making it easier to find your way around. Further to this, there are a whole host of other resources available to help guide the beginner coding enthusiast, such as the official forum, Fuze Arena YouTube channel, and a detailed project book.
I decided to start with the project book as I fancied a structured tool to guide my learning. Personally, I think this is a good choice for beginners as it contains a variety of short, concise activities to get you to grips with some basic coding functions – in this case creating loops, variables, and if statements. If you find these activities too easy then each page also includes various ‘hacker challenges’ which will test your understanding of what you have learned so far, increasing the difficulty as it goes on.
I completed the project book with relative ease. Syntax highlighting was one feature that made this a lot easier. Although not unique to Fuze itself, it helps to break the sections of code up and makes them easier to read. Not only this, but I found it helped greatly in pinpointing those small errors which will inevitably be made when learning something new.
When it comes to inputting code there are a variety of options available to you. Simply use the inbuilt keyboard with the joy-cons or via touchscreen – or even better, plug in your USB keyboard for an even more efficient coding experience. I’m not denouncing the inbuilt keyboard by any means, I was actually quite impressed with how fluid it felt when using the joy-cons; but typing with a full sized keyboard is much more user friendly, especially when it comes to this.
In the programs section of the software you are able to play a variety of pre-built games that showcase a little of what can be done in Fuze. Not only is this a great way to gain some inspiration but it also lets you view the code for each game, thus furthering your understanding and knowledge of how the code works behind the front end. If there’s anything you don’t understand or if you want some advice on a feature you want to implement in your own game then the official forum is the place to go, as there are software devs available to answer any questions you may have.
The media tile contains an absolute treasure trove of music, sound effects and graphics that are all available to use within your own project, or easily create your own using the Tools feature. This is useful for beginners, not only as a source to stimulate creativity, but to understand the different parts that make up a game and how they combine to make the end product. I could have spent hours sifting through all of the content available and working out how these could be implemented in my own game.
A comprehensive glossary is found in the help section where you can look up a vast variety of command references that can be used in your game. These are organised into sub-sections, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. They cover all bases of game creation from 2D/3D graphics to screen display to file handling and everything in between. Not only this, but you can find even more tutorials that further enhance your concept of game creation from the ground up.
Ultimately, I feel that Fuze is easy to get to grips with but will take a lot more time to master. I won’t be making my own game anytime soon as I simply do not have the time to spend on it, but don’t let that stop you by any means. Fuze is evidently a labour of love and you will get out whatever you’re willing to put in. The software is jam packed full of features, the only thing stopping you is your own imagination.
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