[Chugalug] Learning Python via Minecraft

Dr.D don at coastlandtech.com
Sat Aug 31 23:45:27 UTC 2013

I just hate it when you point out a program like Blender.... 
The rest of the day goes to hell.... 


-----Original Message-----
From: chugalug-bounces at chugalug.org [mailto:chugalug-bounces at chugalug.org]
On Behalf Of Mike Robinson
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 9:24 AM
To: chugalug at chugalug.org
Subject: Re: [Chugalug] Learning Python via Minecraft

> Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2013 21:21:38 -0400
> From: Tim Youngblood <timyoungblood at gmail.com>
> Let's face it, the turtle (Logo) just isn't cool anymore. So glad to 
> see this. Now I have a reason to allow my kids to get into Minecraft. 
> Treading lightly on this!

Today, I think that in order to be truly motivated to get into a programming
language, you need to have a genuine, self-felt need to do it.  The novelty
of computers (alas ...) is forever gone, so there has to be a "payback."  In
the work-a-day world of IT, that of course could be "writing a script to do
in a few seconds what would otherwise take a laborious hour."  (Wheeeee ...)
But that's not really enough.  There needs to be something that -you-
(whoever you are) want to achieve, such that writing computer software is
the most effective or the only means to do it.

My personal fave happens to be the 3D Computer Graphics program, Blender.
(http://www.blender.org)  Which does very astonishing things(!) and which is
scripted in Python.  Furthermore, there's a reason why Python was chosen, I
think:  for its ability to efficiently handle vectors and lists (without
(annoying) ((little) parentheses)).  There's voodoo math in those scripts
that I do not (yet) profess to fully understand.  I'm fascinated by that
sort of thing -- about "how to make a digital machine Do Stuff" -- and I
still am.

Another thing that I find very, very compelling is non-procedural languages
that are designed to do a unique and difficult task ... such as G-Prolog,
whose finite-domain problem solver allowed me to solve a logic problem ("The
lady in the red hat is not sitting next to the sofa.") involving 21
variables, and then to solve a Sudoku problem from hell.  Figuring out how
to use this tool to do that, and thus to be "first to find" on a
Terra-cache, was a delight.

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