Joefish
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:31 am

Re: Programmer's Quest – The Programming RPG

Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:07 pm

Abishur said:


It's a fun sounding idea, and I hope someone makes a system using just that, but it's outside the scope we got going for this game

I actually have a couple ideas to help with overcoming the issue of information/syntax overload.  We're not just going to drop them cold turkey into this world, it's very much going to be designed in such a fashion that you slowly get introduced to the various programming functions.  That said, we're really hoping that this game is an effective and fun way to learn programming on your own so I'm rather committed to keeping things on a real world programming language level



We're probably thinking of different age groups here.  I just remember those first introductions to computers on the BBC with crane-loading and treasure-map navigating games that required simple input strings.  Although maybe we can skip the 'my-first-computer' aspect of those games nowadays...

mole125
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:01 pm

Re: Programmer's Quest – The Programming RPG

Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:17 pm

I've not thought it through fully but I can't see why having value storage slots (registers) would be particularly hard to design for while keeping most simplicity.

In fact I'd be tempted to make 'maths' tokens have the ability to take mathematical expressions as a free form token attribute so that the user can just write A = B+1 and have the results stored in the A slot. The aim is to make a fun way to learn programming, if we go too low level we'll be creating a generation of assembly programmers instead (not sure if that is a bad thing or not!)

Ashibur seems to have slightly different apprach for his game, which is also perfectly valid and promissing, so we should perhaps stop hijacking his thread and start another thread about a graphically orientated programming game with more of a starting basis of a graphical logo style programming structure.

User avatar
abishur
Posts: 4477
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:10 am
Location: USA
Contact: Website

Re: Programmer's Quest – The Programming RPG

Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:30 pm

mole125 said:


Ashibur seems to have slightly different apprach for his game, which is also perfectly valid and promissing, so we should perhaps stop hijacking his thread and start another thread about a graphically orientated programming game with more of a starting basis of a graphical logo style programming structure.


I remember a flash game I played not too far back where you had a little robot that needed to turn on lights, you would string together words to make him do it (forward, forward, right, up, on, down, etc)

Found a link to the game: Link
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

Joefish
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:31 am

Re: Programmer's Quest – The Programming RPG

Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:19 pm

Interesting - yes, that's the sort of thing I had in mind to start with.  But maybe a free-form mode to begin with that just lets you click each icon to trigger the action, to see what they do.

Though does that ever introduce more flow control tokens?  I can see movement, action, and sub-routines, but I don't see loop controls or conditional branching (at least, on that initial screen).  I'm guessing it only forces you to use functions for repeated sequences by not having enough space in the main program.

Also, there's a presumption there that you inherently understand that the icon flow goes from left-to-right across the top row, then the next row, etc.  A single list in a straight line would be a more natural experience for a novice.

mole125
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:01 pm

Re: Programmer's Quest – The Programming RPG

Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:50 pm

Joefish said:


Interesting - yes, that's the sort of thing I had in mind to start with.  But maybe a free-form mode to begin with that just lets you click each icon to trigger the action, to see what they do.

Though does that ever introduce more flow control tokens?  I can see movement, action, and sub-routines, but I don't see loop controls or conditional branching (at least, on that initial screen).  I'm guessing it only forces you to use functions for repeated sequences by not having enough space in the main program.

Also, there's a presumption there that you inherently understand that the icon flow goes from left-to-right across the top row, then the next row, etc.  A single list in a straight line would be a more natural experience for a novice.


I pretty much agree with all you say there, it really isn't obvious that you go left to right and you could really do with being able to insert steps when you make a mistake. Also the language isn't anywhere near turing complete and a bit repetitive. I'm sure we could come up with something better

User avatar
rurwin
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 4258
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:16 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Programmer's Quest – The Programming RPG

Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:40 pm

I've been fiddling with something of my own, fired off by this topic. I thought I'd pass back some of my musings in case they might fire off someone else.

Cholo was a very early wire-frame 3D FPS adventure game. The basic premise was that humans were stuck in a nuclear bunker and the robots above would shoot anyone that came out. The player started controlling a robot rat, explored the world and hacked the robots they came across and took control of them, until they were finally able to open the bunker.

I'd love to do something in 3D, but the OpenGL documentation is horrible, so I'm doing plan-view 2D. And the plot will diverge somewhat of course. Whereas Cholo was all real-time FPS, my game will concentrate more on programming the robots to achieve each required step. At first you only need to give the commands in immediate mode, but then you have to get a robot through a radio dead spot or something, so you need to give it a sequence of turtle-like commands. And it gets more complex from there, until you have several robots all running different programs and cooperating to achieve your goal.

I've just realised that the various robots don't need to be programmed in the same language. So the first devices the player might discover could be simple push-button things, then some robots could be programmed in Scratch-like jigsaws, until the really advanced robots could use a fairly complete textual language.

That does not need to make the program much more complex of course. All you need to do is to present the same language in different ways with a varying set of allowed verbs and nouns.

So the Robot Rat might have a Scratch jag-saw piece labelled "Forward" with a thumbwheel to set the distance, and an advanced robot might expect "Move(Forward, 10)" but the underlying engine would parse both to the same representation.

oninoshiko
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:16 pm

Re: Programmer's Quest – The Programming RPG

Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:47 pm

mole125 said:


I pretty much agree with all you say there, it really isn't obvious that you go left to right and you could really do with being able to insert steps when you make a mistake. Also the language isn't anywhere near turing complete and a bit repetitive. I'm sure we could come up with something better


Please run with this. Feel free to add a section of the wiki to sort out how it works. It might get in it might not, but it definitely wont if noone is working on it.

I can't speak for Abishur, but *I* am open to new ideas, provided they work and are fun.

oninoshiko
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:16 pm

Re: Programmer's Quest – The Programming RPG

Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:26 am

Sorry, I really haven't been able to do much of anything this week/last weekend, BUT I did manage to get almost completely cought up with my yard-work (hopefully in a couple of years I'll have grapes... I'm still considering planting some raspberries on the west side). I'm going to be takeing a small road-trip up to Chicago to help one of my coworkers pick up a car (his wife doesn't like driving up there).

Since nobody has offered up their art talents (if you have them please (PLEASE!) help out!) I guess I'll have to do some basic tiles. I'm thinking the engine should be able to easily handle many layers with (real, honest to god alpha) transperency, so we can reuse things better.

Now, this may seem excessive (and maybe it is) but it should allow us to "build" rooms up. for example you can put a table in, and on it put a candle-stick, and then a candle and then add an (animated?) flame. I'd really be much happier writing the code for this then trying to do pixel art, but I really need some "test data."

The downside (and I use that loosely) is that this almost requires me to go ahead a write a map-making util. They files that define the maps, as well as the files the specifiy the properties of tiles are all xml, but putting together layered xml is not something I am particularly inclined to do by hand.

Thoughts?

Return to “Other projects”