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This text-based, spaced themed adventure game in Python is an eight-part, major programming project. It is intended to be used when students have completed our programming resources and is ideal for consolidating all the learning objectives into one large program.
THE T.I.M.E. APPROACH
Each of these eight stages follows the Craig ‘n’ Dave T.I.M.E. approach to programming.
You can learn more about the T.I.M.E. approach here: craigndave.org/programming-with-time
Each stage begins with a brief introduction leading into the Try phase, where students will type up the base code for that stage and get it working.
THE CODE WORKS!
These programs have been endlessly play-tested to ensure they work. If a student claims the code does not work, have them check the following:
Debugging code can be really frustrating, but it is a valuable lesson in perseverance and accuracy. Let the students struggle as much as they – and you – can bear.
ONCE THE CODE ID RUNNING CORRECTLY
Students should play-test the game and identify weaknesses in the interface themselves. The program will most likely crash when an invalid input is made. Students will find this frustrating, particularly if they are a fair way into a play-test – this helps to underline the importance of anticipating misuse when studying concepts like robust program design and writing maintainable programs.
Students will also find it infuriating that they need to press Enter after the command MOVE, which creates a good opportunity to talk about interface design, text parsing and string manipulation techniques.
Once the game has been play-tested, students should think about some of the questions in the Investigate section. You could instruct students to answer these questions formally in another document, exercise book or learning log, or use them as class discussions.
EXTENDING THE STAGE
Students should attempt some of the Make challenges, commenting the code so they can understand how it works. At the very least, it is good practice to explain the purpose of a function so that all students can make at least one comment, even if they don’t understand the code itself.
The next stage is not dependent on the completion of any challenges. Although the early stages only have a handful of simple Make challenges, later stages have more than students can reasonably achieve in lesson time. These challenges are separated into difficulty ratings from one to three points.
One approach could be to set students the challenge of completing six points worth of Make challenges for each stage, allowing student choice and differentiation. For example, students who find programming more difficult could achieve six points by completing several one-or two-point problems, while more able students could complete two of the three-point problems.
EVALUATING THE STAGE
Each stage ends with some Evaluate questions. You could formalise this stage, asking students to answer the questions in an exercise book. Equally, this section offers excellent opportunities for individual, group or class discussions – and for you to provide oral feedback.
ABOUT THE GAME
Based loosely on the films Life (2017) and Alien (1979). In the game, the player navigates around a space station called “The Charles Darwin” which has of a number of interconnecting rooms. The object of the game is to find and trap a queen alien called “Telium” that is located somewhere in the station. Not wanting to get into a conflict with humans unless necessary, the queen will attempt to escape to adjacent rooms when it is encountered. To win the game, the player must lock the appropriate room in the station so the queen cannot escape. Once trapped it can be killed with a flamethrower. A variety of additional objects are populated throughout the space station to enhance the adventure.
LEADING FROM THE FRONT
Although these resources are designed to be carried out independently by your students, we appreciate that you may want to structure and lead the project from the front. That is why we have provided a PowerPoint that introduces the project and each individual stage. If you are using these presentations, your students can skip reading the introduction handouts for each stage.