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Show HN: WebGL Minecraft-like scripting environment for teaching programming (webblocks.uk)
66 points by cjdell 541 days ago | hide | past | web | 22 comments | favorite



Very nice. My kids (9 and 11) would love this, if it wasn't in english, they currently use Scratch or code.org a lot. Any plans to make this available (translatable) in other languages? German in our case. Language is really a big entrance barrier in this age.


Use it as an opportunity to teach English. I started out with translated manuals (Norwegian) as a kid, but quickly "ran out" and had to work my way through English manuals and picking it up as I working my way towards some other goal basically snuck a lot of English learning in under my radar - I didn't really realise how much English I was learning until later.


Same here, I went from a 2 in English (almost lowest grade) to 5 in three years thanks to programming books and games :-)


Language options would be great to have. If this becomes popular it will be a priority. At the moment it's more of a concept that I wanted to share but help is always welcome :-)


Language is more important than coding skills at that age. Start early enough and they can't thank you enough. A problem with some bigger countries is that they are used to get everything translated to their native language and have no incentive to learn a second language.


Interesting. It would be nice to have tab support in the editor.

One thing I noticed was that it took several seconds to construct large shapes like spheres - It might just have been JavaScript being JavaScript, but it would be good if you could improve performance somehow.


Or animate them with step-through?


This is very nice. Mind talking more about what you built it with?


Think I'll put together a blog post about it when I get time. Link in the bottom right takes you to the source if you feel like tinkering with it. Happy for others to use/adapt this project of course!

I'm honestly surprised we're not seeing more stuff like this now that the web is such a powerful platform. I want to inspire people into making more of these kinds of things :-)


A blog post would be very nice. Given the multitude of options outs there its easy to forget about things like this. Its good that you are generating awareness for it. I was surprised when it worked on my phone. :)


It uses Three.js 3D middleware (that has a WebGL renderer). [from looking at the filenames]


Pro-tip: If you jump (space bar) several times, you can fly...


That's an amazing feature/bug!


It was originally a bug, but then I upgraded it to a feature. :-)

There is also fly mode, see buttons on the right.


Why no mouse input?


Would like to add this soon, was slightly fiddly so stuck to keyboard for now. Have got Cardboard support but just as a proof of concept, needs more work :-)


Click and drag to look around (I hate it when WebGL demos monopolize the mouse) would be neat and pretty simple to implement! :-)


Mouse input now working thanks to Jason McGhee :-)


Whilst the shift-mouse is horrid, I understand the rationale.

At least make the cursor stay in the same postion when this is used, otherwise you have to keep releasing shift, moving the mouse back to the center, and pressing shift again.


Unfortunately, you can't move the mouse back to the center. Javascript does not allow hijacking the mouse. I bet you can imagine why. If there's a better way to do this, by all means make a PR. I know this is a dreadful solution, but it's better than nothing.

EDIT: I stand corrected! I found a way! PR in. I'm using requestPointerLock


Yes, Unity WebGL uses it as well, pretty sure.


That's cool, congrats!




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