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Mr. Dagger, teach us more!

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The Teachin' Lingo

As I've mentioned below, I've got myself a position assisting teaching a Grade 11 computer science course for a semester. Today was our first 'real' day of teaching, and it was very awesome. It was the typical 'get started' business: show everyone how to load up BlueJ, dish around the few pages of intro material, and start coding up those 'Hello world!' programs. Was better than it sounds. ;)

For the majority of the time I was simply walking around the classroom peering over students' shoulders checking up if they needed any help. At first a lot of people had the issue of their sourcefile name and class name not matching up, generating errors. Doh. And then the business with Java being case sensitive; unlike Pascal, which the course had previously used. Those two hurdles done, people were spewin' out lines to the console in no time. Was great to see that my efforts helped those people along to getting their programs done. Sure, sure, it's may be just ego points, but it feels good. :P

Got wrapped up in a conversation for a bit with myself and several other students who were interested in game development and going into the game industry. Mind you I'm no gamedev industry pro here, so I could only offer the smaller things: beef up your math marks, code code code!, build up a portfolio of your programs as you go, make sure you finish what you start, and of course visit gamedev.net daily. (Couldn't resist plugging the site for them, heh) And bookmark the Java docs for easy reference.

They seem to be a really bright bunch. The teacher's really flexible as to how the course is going to be taught (we're making it up as we go :P), and I'm to write a few little fun applets over the weekend to serve as some example material on Monday. Guess I'll need to do some hardcore commenting!

More Skirmish!

And what's a Friday without some work on Skirmish Online?

Fixed up some peevish bugs today, where the game object (desks, trees, rocks, etc) collisions were broken. Bullets and players could simply walk right through them. Very weird. I then discovered the cause was related to the feature I was implementing at the time: MINIMAP!

What game is complete without a nice juicy minimap? Took a bit of painful work to get the tiles/graphics compressed to the proper dimensions and placed onto a large-ish texture, but I finally got everything right. Then the blips came in: self, friendly, and hostile. Maybe a neutral blip type later if there's ever a game mode that requires it. By default blips will not appear on the minimap, but rather only with the inclusion of somesort of radar item. I'll launch into a rant on how the inventory system is to work (it's groovy), but every item plays its balance into things nicely.

The next item on the list is utilities. I need to get a vertical list of utilities on the right side of the screen with keymapping and names being listed beside them. And of course bugging Draffurd (the proud artist!) for some utility icons. The first utilities I'll likely make are simple ones like medkits and adrenaline injections. Then others like radar and motion sensors.

EDIT: No screenshot? Let's fix that:

(Opacity will be customizable eventually!)

Fun times ahead. :)
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Urgh... unless BlueJ has improved radically from the last time I was cursed with it, you're in for some very confused and annoyed students. Of course, it may just be that I'm spoiled from all my use of real development tools, but BlueJ was one of the most crippled, claustrophobic, unfriendly, and unstable pieces of software I've ever had to use. Good luck with that.

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@Apoch: Really? Perhaps it has improved since you last used it, I'm not sure. But so far we've found it really easy to use and organize applications with. Not to mention that it's pretty lightweight, which is really important on these low-end machines we're on. ;)

@Rob: I'll always be smorter than you.

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