[portland] learn to program / robots game?
jek at discorporate.us
Fri Sep 7 00:18:30 CEST 2007
A 10 year old friend wants to learn about programming. He's on the
other side of the country, and I don't have all that much time
available to tutor remotely. So I've been thinking about a way to
get him a focused introduction that isn't overwhelming or boring.
Way back when, there was a great programming game called RobotWar
that I remember very fondly. In it you wrote programs that control
robot tanks on a battlefield, and the basic skills of programming
with functions, variables, etc. come pretty naturally as the player
tinkers with their robot for increased longevity and/or lethality.
That game is long gone (it's been 25 years? yow.), but I still
think that or something like it is a great introduction, especially
for an isolated but interested student. I've made a cursory
inspection of current variants and I didn't turn up any actively
maintained descendants that appealed to me. The big modern one is
Java, and I've got misgivings about the accessibility of that one
for programming beginners.
Does anyone have any suggestions or experience with
beginner-friendly programming games? I'd kind of prefer one with a
restricted language (to encourage innovation with limited
resources), but maybe I'm just being old and crusty. And probably
not Internet-based, at least in any socially interactive way.
I'm thinking maybe an intro to Python as a second step, probably
with pygame. (He wants to write games, of course...)
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