[Edu-sig] (Fwd) Re: Some thoughts on RurPle / TurTle

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Wed Jun 28 23:25:09 CEST 2006

> " Is it possible to learn inheritance, polymorphism, event handling, and
> inner classes, all while dodging bullets and executing precision attack
> maneuvers? A surprisingly addictive teaching-tool-turned-game-craze called
> Robocode is about to make this a reality for Java developers worldwide.
> Follow along as Sing Li disarms Robocode and starts you on your way to
> building your own customized lean, mean, fighting machine. "
> http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/java/library/j-robocode/index.html
> http://robocode.sourceforge.net/
> francois

Yes, I'm pretty sure Robocode is one of those being field tested by
Saturday Academy, although not in my classes so far (I checked it out
on my own time though, eyeballed some of the Java).

I'd be in the market for something similar, although I'd like a more
introspective Turtle and more psychological challenges, ala the
Zoombini series, Myst and Uru.

I think what's happening is Python's edu-siggers are persuasively
demonstrating that entire Logolike robotic play worlds are within
reach of a solo coder.  They work actually pretty much as advertised,
come with documentation and demos, plus you get to study their inner
workings and learn from a potential peer (an ideal combination).

The overview experience one gets from rolling one's own, better
qualifies one for project management positions when a larger team
shows up, ready to recode it in OpenGL or whatever, with high def
Turtles swimming amidst colorful corals, looking for Nemo, avoiding
natural predators or whatever.

In other words:  as I learned long ago, the solo developer is quickly
outclassed by what teamwork can do, when it comes to finalizing a
commercial and/or educational product.  We've discussed this several
times on this list, in connection with game development.

In my own career, I couldn't compete with the corporate spin-offs from
the likes of my CORIS and CLAIR (inhouse cardiology apps).  I've never
been much of a game developer (but I did use PyGame to write myself an
open source PowerPoint alternative).

Some people misconstrue the open source revolution as a battle against
large companies, but that's not the case.  What IBM is doing for Linux
is huge, and not because SCO thinks it owns the Unix brand name (what
could be more irrelevant?).

But on the other hand, there's no substitute for rolling one's own,
and how one gets to be on these high powered teams, is by wrapping
one's head around the problem, and publishing solutions, even if just
in pseudo-code.

In an already big project, building credibility may involve simply
submitting small patches (you need overview for that too, where
multiple dependencies are involved).  But a lot of times, one just
goes for green field development, per the recent Pata Pata example.

Show what you're capable of, advertise your skills as a lone hacker,
have emacs will code.

People think:  wow, what return could we get with more people like
this on our payroll?  A lot, I would expect.  The Python community is
overflowing with skilled people.  And the meme pool is set to expand
even more, as a new generation starts hacking on cell phones.

Python: the full monty for mobile applications
Victor Keegan
Thursday June 22, 2006

(my thanks to Phillip for the heads up on this one).


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