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Fuze Basic for Nintendo Switch (fuze.co.uk)
90 points by Fr0styMatt88 38 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 46 comments

It's really annoying to me how opaque this product is and how any useful tutorials or downloads are behind a login wall.

It promises a lot but tells me very little. Same goes for their now out of stock dedicated hardware.

Not only is the download behind a login but they also force you to receive marketing material.

Other than that, I’m genuinely excited about this.

Why is it so difficult to figure out how to get the software?

The Switch version at least is available on the Nintendo eShop on the Switch, fully approved by Nintendo (unlike the Ruby interpreter that shipped inside 'A Dark Room' on the eShop).

I got this around a week ago and started hacking out a simple Asteroids clone. Sadly, it's right now super buggy and as someone else mentioned a lot of information is locked behind sign-up screens and so on... I only had my phone on me and tried to sign up but couldn't get the site to work, so I tweeted the official twitter account a few messages but didn't get a response. The showstopper issue I had was that it's hard coded to a UK keyboard layout (fair enough) and I couldn't work out how to type a | for an 'or' operator (shift-\ did not work!). Not only that, but the on-screen keyboard doesn't appear to have one! The API is fairly powerful, I hope they keep updating and ironing out some of the issues.

edit: I just signed up now and managed to log in, and I was expecting forums or at least a blog but I can't find anything. Hopefully some kind of community feedback loop is in the works.

I hope someone finds a way to escape the sandbox with this, just like with smileBASIC on the 3DS.


Switch is already hacked in every way possible, there's no real need to do that.

From what I've heard it's getting to be difficult to find a model that can be exploited with the bootloader exploit. Given that Nintendo also bans units that have been detected playing pirated games, buying one used seems like a risky proposition too.

> easy as BASIC, powerful like C and versatile like Python.

lol, heard that before.

> Over $1,000 worth of high-quality gaming assets

According to who?

So, is this a gamemaker being released on switch? I don't get it.

You're supposed to write code on a touchscreen switch keyboard?

Coding on a touchscreen keyboard can't be any worse than coding on a ZX81's keyboard, surely? I'm pretty sure it would be much better, in fact, especially if you used the ZX81-style one-keypress-gives-whole-keyword trick.

The Switch supports USB keyboards and mice.

How!? I had no idea. Via some sort of USB-hub?

The Dock has USB ports

Also any old USB-C hub works for it. Not all of them can charge it, but any of them can be used for connecting a keyboard/mouse/wired controller

> FUZE4 takes as many pros as we could cram in from a mix of these languages (C, Python & BASIC to name a few) to create a language that is as easy as BASIC, powerful like C and versatile like Python.

Is it me or has this become more and more of a theme for new programming languages? Do they even deliver on all these promises?

Those promises are "easy" to achieve for a certain interpretation of what they mean.

BASIC itself, through things like peek and poke, can give you the "power of C", and with subroutines if you create a stdlib that you inject, you can certainly make it as high-level and versatile as Python.

That doesn't mean that you get the benefits of C, Python and BASIC all at once though. You've achieved the overly-broad goals, and can say you haven't lied, but the impression the consumer has won't live up to the real world - because they're expecting the cultures and communities of those languages as well.

QuickBasic/TurboBasic, VisualBasic, Dark Basic, Gambas, etc. managed to evolve BASIC very well.

So did the Blitz BASIC family. The thing that always impressed and astonished me about BlitzMax was just how many games seemed to actually get _finished_ with it. Lots of them even looked very polished. It was really cool to see at the time (around 2006ish I think is when I was following it, though not exactly sure).

That was the first programming language I ever learned - lots of fun memories spent in Blitz3D and BlitzMax trying to make "the next Skyrim" with high school friends.

The newest member of that family is Monkey 2 [0], not to be confused with Thorsten Ball's Monkey [1].

[0]: https://blitzresearch.itch.io/monkey2

[1]: https://monkeylang.org

Please allow me to clarify a few things here.

My name is Jon Silvera and I run FUZE Technologies Ltd.

First off why is this item called Fuze Basic for Nintendo Switch. The product is called FUZE4 Nintendo Switch and sorry folks but it is not BASIC.

We are an education company - we deliver coding workshops to young people around the country. We developed FUZE to help us achieve this. The results have been so positive we decided to bring it to new platforms like the Switch.

The site mentioned below being behind a login wall.. fuzearena.com is a community website to support FUZE. Due to many of our users being children we absolutely have to moderate the site and due to the sharing nature, that is using Nintendo friend IDs we must have accountability.

The out of stock hardware is an old product using old versions of FUZE BASIC (the previous product that has nothing to do with FUZE4). We hope to release new hardware with the new version of FUZE4 in the future.

I wasn't aware about forcing you to receive marketing materials - i will look into this. It should not be the case.

The software is called FUZE4 Nintendo Switch - it is available on the eShop. I don't think we could have made it any easier to get!

The release version has a few bugs, more than i would have liked. There is a patch already in the approval process with Nintendo. This fixes almost all of the known bugs and certainly gets rid of the worst ones.

This is a games console - it will always be restricted. The point is that this is a learn-to code app for users to get to grips with coding by programming games. If the users move on to Unity + C# or C++ or Python or Java for that matter then our work has been a success.

However, Windows, Android, Raspberry Pi versions will follow and if we do reasonably well then Stadia, XBOX, Playstation & Apple devices. The bulk of these will allow for a far more open landscape.

Sharing on the Switch however is perhaps not as restricted as you imagine and it is likely to improve over time as Nintendo trust the application more.

"easy as BASIC, powerful like C and versatile like Python" - Try it! This was our objective from the beginning.

"Over $1,000 worth of high-quality gaming assets" - you want a fight - step outside. Actually the real cost is a lot higher as many assets we're created exclusively. However if you go to Itch.io and a couple of other content sellers and combine everything we included then it comes to just over $1,200. And yes, we do have the artists approval in every single case!

The touch keyboard works really well and it is no ZX81 - I know this because i started on the early Z80s. I code using the screen a lot and whilst it won't replace a proper keyboard it is very, very usable. However plug a USB keyboard in and you're all set.

"every "coding for children" thing is fake" - now this is a good comment and i generally agree. The problem is we spend too much time teaching kids to play at coding rather than teach them real text based stuff. The problem is that things have been dumbed down so much people have forgotten what kids are actually capable of. At FUZE we teach text based coding, always have and always will because that is what it is. Someone still has to write Scratch and so on. We teach kids from six and up - in the early years it's all LOOPS, VARIABLEs and IF THEN statements but we quickly move on to arrays, vectors, lists, structures, 3D and so on.

"Why did they write their own language? Why not just use an existing language?" - We are teaching kids to code. Right now kids are taken from Scratch to Python - the jump is too much. FUZE is a transitional language designed to lower the barriers of entry to the real world languages.

Look folks, all we're trying to do here is provide an accessible, easy to learn coding environment to get more kids into coding. The fact FUZE is powerful enough and 'real world' enough for seasoned coders to enjoy is a bonus and it helps everyone if the pro's can help the newcomers.

Oh, someone said they thought it was freeware. Hmm.. nope. It cost over £250,000 to develops.

There will be free versions around the education channel and maybe players in the future but for now we need to recover our investments, buy flash new cars, buy a lot of drugs and go on a few crazy holidays, so just buy the damn thing!

I think I have covered everything.

But to summarise, we are trying to make a living by making an accessible learn to code platform to encourage more young people to get into coding.

It's bloody good and as such it deserves a tad more love!

Jon Silvera FUZE Technologies Ltd / feel free to email, i'm easy to find.

> There will be free versions around the education channel and maybe players in the future but for now we need to recover our investments, buy flash new cars, buy a lot of drugs and go on a few crazy holidays, so just buy the damn thing!

I understand that this is tongue-in-cheek, but maybe this isn't the type of thing you want to be saying when trying to market a product for children?

He's not saying it in marketing material, though. He's saying it here. Context matters.

Thanks for being here, and for all the work you put into educational materials. As easy as it is to hate on "coding 4 kids" products, it's a real under-served niche that has the potential to do a lot of good in the world.

Despite the proliferation of electronics and software, the generation of kids growing up today doesn't have the same access to the underlying machine that we took for granted. I don't think any 8 year-olds are getting root access to their iPhones and installing terminal emulators...

Submitter here Jon,

Firstly - I must apologize for submitting as 'Fuze BASIC' - indeed my confusion was from your previous product; I did not realize that 'FUZE4' was actually a new name and just thought it was a clever way of saying 'FUZE BASIC for Nintendo Switch'. EDIT: Mods, could you change the title if possible? I can't edit it myself.

Everything else you've said - I 99% agree! (I think we could have an interesting discussion around "every "coding for children thing" is fake"). I started out on the Commodore 64, reading the books and typing in the program listings; I'm thrilled that you've made something like FUZE4 and think it's a wonderful fit for the Nintendo Switch. Lots of people own this console and now they too can have the 'coding out in the living room on the TV' experience that I (and I'm sure many others here) had growing up. I also think having the tutorial material built-in is great; I have fond memories of spending evenings immersed in the comprehensive QBASIC help documentation, way before the days of the Internet and a thousand distractions.

I'm glad to hear that you've submitted a patch to fix many of the bugs - that comment was the only one that gave me pause with regards to purchasing FUZE4 right away. With that out of the way, I'm really looking forward to diving in!

One final note - I think the Nintendo Switch eShop stands out as a platform that hasn't raced to the bottom when it comes to the pricing of games. I hope it stays that way.

I'll have to check this out.

I'm reminded of the hidden Ruby interpreter, too bad that wasn't cleared beforehand, I'm sure there would have been a way to make it work: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/05/game-with-hidden-ruby...

This reminds me of Codea for iPad. For me what makes Codea so great is that there are actually games and apps in the App Store that are built with Codea.

With Fuze is it possible to make a build of the game which can be run on other platforms? If your game is really good, could you build it for the Switch marketplace?

Have there been any other games besides Cargo-Not made and released with it?

I really really wanted to like Codea, but couldn't get my head around how you'd organize a big project with it. That and I find touchscreen keyboards terrible to code with.

EDIT: Found this forum thread for games and apps made with Codea, looks inspiring: https://codea.io/talk/discussion/1983/app-store-games-and-ap...

I love codea, but a bluetooth keyboard case for the ipad is a must.

I've been really looking forward to this for the last couple years, and am glad to see it finally released, but I must have missed the memo when they put a price tag on it, because I thought it was going to be freeware.

The only disappointments in how FUZE has evolved is that they don't seem to want you to actually SHARE anything you make. You can only share your made games with people on your friend's list. You can't publish them anywhere. Supposedly you can make external assets to push to the Switch, but without the ability to share games I've made, I'll be less likely to pay for it.

The requirements from nintendo to prevent code sharing really crippled the networking in smile basic, that was pretty dissapointing.

Of course if you've run fuse galle (or however you spell it) you can go grab a fairly complete python environment from a homebrew developer and just run that, there just isn't a decent editor you can run directly on the switch (yet.)

I read somewhere they’re going to release a player that’ll be free of charge. So you’ll be able to share games with anyone with the player.

They could go 100% retro and release a printed magazine with type-in listings.... :)

Surprisingly this isn't linked on the homepage for the software, which is very strange.

I'll go straight: every "coding for children" thing is fake and does not work. Give a kid a book on real coding when he/she is ready (in any sense) and it's done.

I think FUZE is closer to a fantasy console (eg- PICO-8) than it is to a 'coding for kids' thing (eg- Scratch or Alice), since you have to actually type in code and that code is text. There's nothing wrong with 'coding for kids' things either IMHO; I find the design of them quite interesting actually (from both a language design and a UI perspective).

What do you define as 'real coding'? What kinds of things are you thinking of as 'coding for kids'?

The point of coding apps isn’t to get kids proficient at coding.

“Does not work”- for what criteria of work? Because as a means to get kids exposed to ideas in programming and/or get familiar with how code looks and not be apprehensive of it, theyre great starters for many.

I think Scratch is pretty darn good.

I thought it would be a version of https://www.fuze.com/ for the Switch...

For some reason HN changed the casing of my submission title - 'BASIC' got changed to 'Basic'.

From what I've seen, there's some software that massages titles. If you can't edit it at this point, you can email the mods using the Contact link in the footer to request a correction.

How do you type in that language on that device? Moving on a virtual keyboard using the joystick should be supper hard way to do it.

The switch has a touch screen so it shouldn't be harder than on a phone. - form factor aside -

When you take the JoyCons off, the form factor of the screen unit is essentially a slightly bulky phablet.

You can't really grip the Switch like a phone, because the rails that the Joycons slide into are uncomfortable. And it's a bit too small for typing on a desk as I might with an iPad.

I also believe that you can use a bluetooth keyboard with it, though I haven't tried.

Why did they write their own language? Why not just use an existing language?

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