While I am writing this, I am watching my code control over 80 space-ships it has built, tuned and refueled. However, early testers have sent me screenshots with hundreds of ships! (Which is why I had to switch to WebGL from pure CSS)
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. What are we even talking about here? About two weeks back I started developing content for learners that was intended to be as engaging as possible. I soon ended up building a game that is purely controlled by code. Little starter scenarios like this can be loaded into the code editor and executed. Soon it was clear that students tended to develop algorithms that would play the whole game for them. So instead of writing commands one by one, I all of a sudden had the opportunity to evaluate how they constructed code and how complete programs are written.
As a teacher that was great as I was able to see the progress, the level of abstraction and the creative mindsets of the students. Better yet, the efficiency of these programs could easily be measured against each other. A leaderboard was the next logical step.
If you magically found yourself reading this, I want you to understand this as a challenge, as an invitation. I would specifically be interested in feedback on different levels:
- Do you think such concepts can improve your coding?
- Is the current "go figure it out" approach too difficult to begin with?
- Is there anything about the game itself you dislike/like/propose?