[Edu-sig] Python programming game

Michael Hearne mhearne808 at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 6 06:20:26 EST 2003

All - I have an idea for a game, or rather a game
(buzzword alert) framework, that would help people
learn how to program in Python.

The basic idea is this:

Python supplies several methods of interpreting text
as Python code.  These could be used to design a game
where students are presented with the description of a
program (script, function, class) to be written, and
the input and output for above program.  The player
then writes Python code according to this stated
design, and then the game tests that code against
expected results.  If the player's results match the
expected results, he or she advances to the next

In order to be really effective, the game should have
several elements:
   - a good story
   - decent graphics (not my forte)
   - increasing levels of difficulty
   - a clear end goal

I'm thinking it might be possible to create an
architecture that supports game modules (a la D&D),
where these modules present different stories and
challenges.  It is also my hope that these modules
could be constructed without writing any new Python
code, but simply text (XML?) files that contain the
text of the story, the "design", and the rewards for
failure.  This may not turn out to be possible, but
it's an idea, anyway.

My problem is that I really feel like I need someone
else to bounce ideas off of, and perhaps start
developing with.  I have some initial questions to the

1)  Is there anything out there like this?  I read a
review of one of the Matrix videogames, where part of
the challenge was writing code in C.  Not being a big
gamer, I haven't attempted to verify this.  (Would be
cool, if true.)

2)  Is there some major technical reason why this
isn't possible on any scale other than trivial?  I've
done some initial prototyping, and you can in fact
read in text, interpret it, and check the results. 
Haven't tried anything complex.

3)  Does someone want to run with this idea and just
build it?  Honestly, I think I might rather just
_play_ this game than write it:)

Any input would be helpful.



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