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Computer Club Cancelled Until Further Notice :(


I’m afraid that the changes to the school computer lab are still precluding us from restarting the computer club. It seems that all of the club’s tools and code samples were removed by the school over the summer and we have been unable to get them reinstated so far – without basic coding tools we obviously cannot teach coding.

We *hope* that we might be allowed to restart in the next half of the term but as I’m sure you can appreciate it is quite a commitment for the helpers (and your parents!) and after four cancellations in a row I think we are better to write-off this half-term now. I am, of course, very sorry.

If you are still coding in your spare time (I hope you are) then do drop me a line at my raspberrypilot.com email address at any time with any computing questions you may have and we can still try and help out with your code and projects.

Hopefully see you after the half-term break.

E

Google Cardboard


Last week Andrew brought in a very cheap solution to virtual reality hardware.  This was the Google Cardboard, which was introduced to Android developers in 2014.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Cardboard  A new version (Cardboard 2) has been released in 2015 which is slighly larger and has a different input method.

It is simply a large piece of shaped cardboard, a couple of 45 mm focal length lenses, some velcro, a couple of magnets and a mobile phone with some software.  https://www.google.com/get/cardboard/

 

If you can get the lenses, you can build one yourself really easily; but to buy one from Amazon costs in the region of £6 - so just buy it.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cardboard-Virtual-Reality-Glasses-Headband/dp/B00V7Z2XM0

 

More excitingly for GCC is that you can download a 'unitypackage' for unity and create your own virtual worlds which you can experience on your Google Cardboard.  https://developers.google.com/cardboard/unity/

 

Finally, although this works on iOS and Android, only Android allows you to put the resulting program on the Android phone for free.  http://developer.android.com/develop/index.html  Until XCode 7 and iOS9 is released, you will need to pay Apple for a developer account to put your program on an iPhone.   https://developer.apple.com/programs/

Google Cardboard

First GCC Session of the New School Year!


I hope you’ve had a good break over the summer and will have some interesting computing projects to show me? GCC kicks off again in earnest on Wednesday 17 September at 19:00 until 20:00. *PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF TIME*, the 1 hour sessions will start 30 mins later than last year at 7pm and finish at 8pm to give everyone a little bit more breathing space to arrive on time.

If you have your own laptop, see if you can bring it along. We can help set it up for you to work on your games between sessions.

Topics we will be covering include:

  • Getting Started – including setting up your own game development environment at home on a PC, Mac or RPi.
  • Memory & Variables
  • Text Input - print formatting and strings
  • Decisions
  • Loops
  • Introduction to Pygame
  • Creating Graphics - using paint.net
  • Rectangles & Collision Detection
  • Nested & Variable loops – using python turtle for drawing repeating patterns
  • Collecting things together - Lists & Dictionaries
  • Events - mouse & keyboard input, plus timers in pygame
  • Randomness
  • Functions
  • Pygame fonts
  • Introducing the Tiled Map Game
  • File Reading & Writing - procedurual HTML creation
  • Modules
  • Objects – Object-Oriented programming principles
  • Game Timing
  • Networks
  • Plus lots more…

I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s news and getting amongst a load of interesting projects.

E

Minecraft Modding Week!


Cottages created using ScriptCraft in MineCraftAndrew is going to start teaching basic minecraft modding this week (2nd July). Once again the school computers can’t be used for this so if you have your own laptop, please bring it along – especially if you already have Minecraft installed. We’ll bring all the additional installation files you will need. If you don’t have your own laptop then don’t worry – I will bring a couple of extra laptops for you to use.

First session – Wed 11th June


As usual we’ll avoid a session during the hectic first week back, so *don’t* come along this Wednesday (4th June), our first club session will be next week – Wednesday 11th June. Lots to see and discuss then.

This term we will take a look at some alternative input methods – in particular the mouse – so that we can add some option and title pages with clickable buttons and settings.

We’ll also look at some more sophisticated sprite animations and sprite sheets. All good stuff and it should all contribute to making your current game projects even slicker.

Oh, and I have an updated SDK for the Oculus Rift, so towards the end of term will have another play with immersive virtual reality…

New Games Section!


Using impressive keyboard cunning and code cleverness, Daniel has converted a number of our python games so that they can run in a standard web browser (such as IE or Chrome). Check out our new Games section from the menu on the left to see the ones we’ve done so far. First Daniel ported the python code to java and then, using a graphics library called LibGDX, he was able to serve up our games inside a normal web browser window! I’m sure he will explain and demonstrate the process at a future club session, but for now just sit back and try out a few of your own games published for the first time right here on our own website!

Sessions this half-term


Firstly, there is *no* session tonight (30 April) – we usually allow a week after the start of new term. So the first session will be next Wednesday (7 May). I shall not be slacking this evening though – Daniel has been doing some amazing work to port some of your games so they can be played from within a web browser so I will be updating RaspberryPilot.com all this week with links and details.

watch this space…

GCC for the new term!


I hope your half-term break was spent coding? If not, don’t worry because GCC starts again this week – Wednesday 26 Feb. We shall be be starting something new so I hope to see as many of you as possible.

Recursion Computer Science Fair – Stratford


WP_000683We joined the nice chaps at King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon for the first Recursion Computer Science Fair, organised by Richard Barfoot, Head of Computing. The Kenilworth School stand was focused on computer-based ‘making’. With a 3D Printer, an ‘Egg-bot’, a home-built computer-controlled drawing machine and a commercial milling machine on display, we were able to show lots of ways that Computer Numerical Control (CNC) can assist you in realising your designs and inventions.

Emily (Year 8) decorated a dozen eggs over the course of the fair using computer drawings created in Inkscape – a free, open-source, vector drawing package. The designs were converted into motor movements by the Egg-bot so that it could draw them on the surface of an egg using a fine marker pen.

Lewis (Year 7) ran a Shapeoko CNC machine, built from a kit and controlled using an Arduino open-source computer, which also had a Lego pen-holder WP_000690. Visitors to our stand were able to select a design using a touch screen and have the computer draw it for them. Sam, aged 8, came back several times in order to see *all* pictures on offer but his particular favourite was Lego Batman.

WP_000684The fair was packed with lots of great stands with plenty to do. Near to us, Paul Foster from Microsoft ran workshops for the kids to construct their own digital camera using components from their Gadgeteer range. The Retro Computer Museum team put on an awesome display of computer games history for us all to play – the young and not-so-young alike! The students of KES showed an impressive array of their own computer games and robot projects. Plus *a lot* more besides…

Thanks for inviting us Richard, and I’m already looking forward to next year!

KES Recursion Computer Science Fair, Saturday 15 February 2014


image

I’ll be there to represent GCC & Kenilworth School and I’ll hopefully have lots of interesting things to show, including my usual Raspberry Pi goodness, a CNC-machine, a 3D printer and lots of homebrew games! Also at the fair will be robot wars, electronics projects, hands-on activities and lots more.

The fair will be open between 11.00 – 16:00, and all are welcome.

More details can be found on the website: http://www.recursioncomputerfair.co.uk/

Hopefully see as many of you there as possible!

Happy New Year!


Welcome to 2014. I hope everyone had a great Christmas break and spent their time coding on exciting new gadgets? Santa brought me an Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset, which is extremely cool. The dev kit has kept me fully occupied over the holidays and I’ll perhaps demo it at one of our meetings soon.

Our first session for 2014 will be on:

Wednesday 14 January at the usual time of 6:30pm.

We have lots of interesting projects for the new term, so we're looking forward to seeing you all then.

GCC Part II–The Director’s Cut


WP_000313So here we are at the start of the new school year, but never fear – with the new term comes the all new Games Creators Club!

We’ve had to move our club night and we will now be starting 30 mins later. However, we are also going to *double* the duration of each session. For all-comers in the first hour we’ll be working on Minecraft mods using Python then, in the second hour, we be able to focus entirely on more advanced coding topics for Year 9’s and up using Unity 3D. Please watch out for posters in the school and check with your tutors for a full update this week.

GCC goes with a Big Bang!


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Well done to everyone who helped out at the Big Bang Show. I’ve had very positive feedback from the organisers 3and I think that we can be really pleased with the interest we generated both from the students and the teachers who attended.

We had several Raspberry Pi’s on the go showing python scripting for Minecraft. We were also running a slick professional game compiled from source C++ code on the RPi’s. We can’t really claim any GCC credit here, but playing Quake 3 at full frame-rate on a pocket PC was cool and does show off what our little club computers are capable of when suitably motivated!

I think we also need a particular mention for Tim for his RPi phone controlled disco setup – a really ingenious effort and all his own work. A genuinely impressive combination of electronics, internet comms and PHP – well done Tim!

2Tim’s fully functioning project put my (notably unfunctional) homebrew CNC machine to shame, but I have been working on it since the show, so watch this space…

Luckily we also had a Cubify 3D Printer beavering away to build a plastic Raspberry Pi case from a 3D computer model. A power cut at a rather critical moment meant we had to start the build process again from the beginning but people didn’t seem to mind. Watching the machine creating a real object, apparently from thin air, was mesmerising.

GCC at the Big Bang West Midlands - 25th June 2013


The Games Creators Club will have a stand at this year’s Big Bang science and engineering fair at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on 25 June. We will be part of the Imagineering area and we will be showing off our latest game designs, Raspberry Pi contraptions and discussing all things computery with whoever is interested! All of year 8 from Kenilworth school will be in attendance, plus hundreds of other students from across the region. Should be great, but we’d better get our games finished in time...!

Find out more details from the website: http://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk and http://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/westmidlands/nearme.cfm

Computer Science Gets EBacc-ing!


Michael Gove (the Education Secretary) has announced that Computer Science will join the ‘core’ subjects that will contribute to the new English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Braodly speaking this places Computer Science on a par with Physics, Biology and Chemistry and follows a continuing response of the government to redress the loss of *real* computing skills that have been eroded by a general confusion with IT literacy.In a speech last November Gove said:

Imagine the dramatic change which could be possible in just a few years... Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations using an MIT tool called Scratch. By 16, they could have an understanding of formal logic previously covered only in University courses and be writing their own Apps for smartphones.

This is precisely what we hope to achieve at GCC!

For more info see: https://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a00221085/ebacccompsci

and: http://academy.bcs.org/news/bcs-calls-computer-science-be-included-ebacc