Congratulations to all our ninjas who received belts in Summer 2017!

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On 27 May 2017, at our final CoderDojo Athenry session of the 2016-17 year, we awarded a total of 93 belts to our ninjas for their great individual achievements in acquiring and demonstrating coding and computing skills. And then we had a party with pizza!

Here is a link to our presentation from the day: CoderDojo Athenry Belts Day 2017

We are very grateful to Clarin College Athenry and the principal, Ciaran Folan, for their enabling CoderDojo Athenry by making the school and its wifi available to us.

We are also very grateful for the sponsorship and support we have received this year:

  • Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board, who provide us with an annual Youth Club Grant
  • Medtronic, employer of our mentor Declan Fox, who provide us with a grant to match Declan’s excellent volunteering
  • HP Enterprise, employer of our mentor Mark Davis, who provide loaner laptops that we make great use of
  • Boston Scientific, employer of our mentor Kevin Madden, who provided us with a set of 3D printers this year, which allowed a great new learning experience

Because of these supports, no child or parent/guardian ever has to pay to participate in CoderDojo Athenry.

This year also, mentor Martha Fahy introduced a new idea, “Java Dojo”, where parents can buy a cup of tea/coffee, providing additional funds. With these, we have been able to buy a speaker system, electronics needed by some of our groups, and our own 3D printer! Thank you, our CoderDojo ninja sidekicks!

And of course we must thank our mentors, who volunteer their time and expertise entirely without charge week after week, to make CoderDojo Athenry the success that it is.

Here is the full list of belts we awarded:

  • Explorers:    44     (39 Yellow & 5 White)
  • Advancers:  18
  • Bodgers:     17
  • Hackers:      8
  • Creators:     5
  • Black Belt:   1

Special mention must go to Eoin Clarke, who received our first ever black belt award. Eoin has been in CoderDojo Athenry for several years, working his way up through the groups, and this year took on the role of Mentor. Well done, Eoin!

Above are some photos of the belts awarded. You can find more on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CoderDojoAthenry/posts/1465673366786859

CoderDojo Athenry is now closed for the summer. See you all in September!

Platformer Engine Week 2

This week we did a little code to finish our engine and spent the rest of the time working on our own platformer games using it.  The code changes we made to last week’s game engine were:

Hit Boxes:

Fixed the platformer so that our character doesn’t get snagged on edges by its whiskers.  This we did by learning about hitboxes. The hitbox is just a costume which is rectangular in shape.  Before we do our animation, we switch to the hitbox costume and after we switch back to the costume we want.

hitbox

Head Bumping:

Fixed the platformer so that we can bump our heads against the platforms without popping up.  This was by adding a couple of lines to the “stay above ground block” sprite to move down if we are touching the ground while moving upwards.

The entire code for the platformer is below:

platform_code

DOWNLOAD THE FULL PLATFORM ENGINE CODE HERE!!!

Example Game: Mentor Dash

Finally Mark showed an example game pulling all the elements in together – “Mentor Dash”.  It has the same code as we covered, but adds a bit of animation, level changes, sound and some sillyness.

mentor_dash

DOWNLOAD MENTOR DASH HERE

There were lots of brilliant ideas from the ninjas on their own games .. looking forward to seeing what you can do!

Advancers: Scratch Platform Engine – Week 1

This week was quite busy in the Advancers group.

Talk on Coolest Projects

  • Oliver gave a talk on the “Coolest projects” and many of us are planning on targetting it this year –
    • the deadlines are Mid-March for submission of ideas and Mid-June to attend the event itself!
    • Mark and Oliver are going to dedicate the last 30 min of each week to helping people with their projects.

Platform Engine

We started a platform Engine and got most of the code done – next week we’ll finish up the engine (not much code, honest!) and see what it would take to make it into games.  A Platform Engine is something that’s useful in lots of types of games or interactive adventures – be they mario-style or escape-room style, etc.  Once we have this platform engine done, we can easily apply it to other cases.  Think about ideas for platformers for your coolest project!

platform_week1

Things we got working:

  1. Gravity so the player falls
  2. Stopping when we hit the ground
  3. Not falling “into” the ground
  4. Walking along bumpy ground
  5. Not walking over bumps that are too high (like walls)
  6. Jumping

Things we didn’t get working (yet):

  1. “popping” up over walls
  2. Animating our walk
  3. Snagging on edges
  4. Scores, lives, etc.

Next week we can look at the above to see how we might do it, and also what it might take to make it look pretty, add a loading screen, etc.

The full code for today is below (click to view large):

Code from Week 1

Code from Week 1

We will finish this next week and make a game out of it!  You can download the project from here

Advancers – Text based coding with p5.js

This week we tried something different with some text based coding.  We learned that for text basoslcyofed coding, we need a good text editor.  The text editor we picked was called “Atom” as it’s a free, powerful text editor that works on Mac, Linux and Windows.

Unfortunately.. with some network and pc problems.. it took longer than I hoped to get things installed on people’s PCs, but even then we managed to make a great start on some code and actually built some quite cool stuff.

For anyone that missed last week.. it would be great if you could run through the steps below and we will be ready for the next stage!

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Image editing with the Advancers

wilber-bigThis week at Advancers, we took some time out from programming to review image editing, and play around using the highest quality free image editor in the world, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, also known as “The Gimp“.

Mastering Gimp, or a tool like it, is essential to be able to produce the images you will need for high quality games.  It’s also very useful for touching up photographs, chopping people’s heads off and sticking them on others, etc!

After taking some time to get it installed on most people’s laptops, we reviewed the most important parts of this incredibly powerful program:

  1. Installation of Gimp
  2. The basics of how to open and create a new image file
  3. The Gimp toolbox, how to change colors and use the brushes to paint.
  4. Layers and how they can make your life so much easier when it comes to image editing
  5. Selections, what they are used for and how to use them

Installing Gimp

On windows or Mac, GIMP can be installed by browsing to https://www.gimp.org/ and selecting “Download”.  On linux it can be installed from the app store/package manager on your distribution.  Note: some people last week had Chromebooks and I mistakenly told them that gimp wasn’t available on those devices – I since checked and it is available, though as it’s a web-app it is not as good as a locally installed version – check out this video for instructions on installation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtdcukXILJg .  It is also not quite free too since you need to pay to save your files.  Click read more for more details!

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