Saturday, November 2, 2013

Report from Today's LiveCode Workshop at the AECT Conference in Anaheim

Many thanks to all of the people who came to my LiveCode workshop today at the AECT conference in Anaheim. I really enjoyed teaching the workshop and sharing the "joy of programming" with everyone. Every time I teach LiveCode, I get a little better at it, so I appreciate the friendly attitude of the entire group. I enjoyed and benefited so much by meeting and getting to know such a great group of educational technology professionals. I hope everyone felt their time spent today at the workshop was worthwhile.

Special thanks go to Guanhua Chen, one of our very talented students in our research master's program at the University of Georgia, who graciously volunteered his time to assist me today. He did a fantastic job of jumping from person to person as little problems popped up. I definitely owe Guanhua several lunches back home in Athens.

I've updated my workshop web site in several ways, so I hope others who are learning LiveCode will check it out and use it as a learning tool:

I added several new resources to the site. One thing in particular stands out. In teaching the workshop previously, I found it is difficult for people to really grasp how even version one of Lunar Hotel Shuttle works. I think the obstacle is that there is a lot of code related to the physics of the simulation, plus I show this at the end of the day when everyone's brains are already pretty full of thoughts of coding and scripting. Consequently, people have a hard time seeing the underlying, elegant, structure. So, I put together a much simpler game called "Catch a Number" that uses exactly the same looping structure, but which needs very little code.

This little game demonstrates a very powerful model of scripting for projects where you have some basic script or "engine" being run continuously in the background while the user gets to interact with it various ways. This is in contrast to the more common and simpler programs that "wait" for the user to do something before anything happens.
Here is a screen snapshot of this simple game:
[ Get the free LiveCode Community version. ]

The program immediately begins counting when it is opened, starting at 1. The user then tries to "catch" a number as it flies by, with the number they caught being shown in the bottom text window. You can also pause or restart the game.

Here is a visual of the programming model or logic:

If you go to the Lunar Hotel Shuttle project section of my workshop site, you'll find this corresponds exactly to the model I use in that program.

So, I had a great time today and I hope to present this workshop again next year at the AECT conference in Jacksonville, as well as other venues as well if the opportunities present themselves.

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