As for complaints, I think it's important to respect some parents' wishes for their kids not to play games that include killing. Although most parents wouldn't complain.
It is easy to marginalize this as bowing to political correctness. What brings it home for me is the actual classroom experience where you can visibly see a significant portion of the class tune out with the reaction "this is not for me" if you start to focus on shooting, exploding, killing etc.
With Scratch I can build lessons around music, art, and storytelling that teach the same programming fundamentals and are much more engaging to the girls who don't play FPS or RPG shoot-em-up games. Those inclined in that direction always find ways to introduce some explosions and blood into their projects, so it is not really at the expense of their experience.
I raised these concerns to the CodeCombat team on their forums several months ago when I first looked at their offering. They acknowledged that their platform could be used to design non-violent activities, and maybe they have done so by now. I could see how they could build some resource gathering or other missions that don't require killing.
Something that would get 75% of your students involved sounds like a huge win compared to standard curriculum programs, as soon as a class is required it's going to involve people that have 0 interest in it from start.
I do however agree that a required class does pose an engagement challenge. Computer Science will be a compulsory subject for UK school kids from September.
Our mission is to become the way that pretty much everyone learns to program.
edit: Seems to only happen after clicking log in on the main page right side bar rather than the header one.
Sorry about this–we take security seriously.
PS. Here's my entry code: https://gist.github.com/mpolyak/8af627cbdf596b5e294a
I wish I had more time to optimize it as well as develop additional army building strategies.
See you at the next tournament!
We're working on the next tournament level, which will be ready for playtesting soon–message me if you want to help! Otherwise, it should be launched in a few weeks, so follow our blog to know when it starts. Not sure whether there will be prizes, but there will be glory.
Hope to see some more in the future.
2) The intro/tutorial is fantastically well done. Like really, really well done.
Most of our libraries and engines and such are listed here: https://github.com/codecombat/codecombat/wiki/Third-party-so...
There are probably a few more in use. If you are really interested, all the code is open source, so you can dig into it here: https://github.com/codecombat/codecombat
The real difficulty in learning programming isn't syntax - it's semantics. And when you finally become skilled in that, it's separation of concerns and modularization. Any programming learning tool should mirror those notions as players develop "skill". Otherwise, as a user, you'll end up great at programming simple AI's...without any knowledge of how programming actually works.
An expert beginner is a person who is very competent in one area, but is unable to expand their horizons without making some very big changes.
In a perfect world, I would love it if this game slowly turned into a real programming environment, where the user experiences freedom with a trajectory that will push them into learning core programming concepts.
Study that, for starters.
Please fix how it scales for vertical displays. I know that's a strange case, but it's near unplayable on a large 1200x1920 due to the graphics being scaled by the horizontal size of the browser.
Perhaps when a display like that is encountered, logic moves the code editor below the gameplay window and keeps them equally sized horizontally?
Should I just wait for the next blog post explaining things more? :D
We're on all the time that we're working (though we may often be afk hacking away on the site/business). There you'll also often find the people who wrote the parsers we have, but mainly you'll want to chat with Nick Winter, who wrote Aether.