Learn To Program A Dalek: BBC Creates Game To Teach Kids Programming And Coding

The BBC had created a game that not only plays to the fandom of Doctor Who, but fans of the Daleks as well. The Doctor and the Dalek tasks the player with solving puzzles by entering commands that teach not only basic programming, but coding as well. As the rogue Dalek is controlled, the player must ensure its survival in order to save the universe.

The overall goal of the game is to save the universe, however, the purpose is much larger in scope. By inserting basic coding and programming into the game play, the player is introduced to the skills in a fun and engaging manner. The Doctor and the Dalek will run on most platforms and is based on the Unity Engine. Peter Capaldi and his voice make an appearance in the game alongside the good Dalek. The entire game will take place over eight missions and is reminiscent of a basic platformer that incorporates jumping, shooting and collecting items to advance.

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Dominic Conner, a writer for The Register, was able to observe as his son played the game. He shared some of his initial thoughts on the game and its difficulty.

“The puzzles are spiced up by including the ability to program your tame Dalek to change color and loudly emit the standard set of empty threats they feel make them sound hard.”

He went on to say,

“Code elements are dragged and dropped into a timeline, which is then executed step by step with the Dalek following your orders. This provides the sort of feedback that appeals to kids – but you can have bugs that you need to sort out, where the Dalek gets stuck or drives off the edge of the zone to fall into an eternal abyss. Inevitably the kids fated to grow up as Register readers will contrive to make their Daleks’ demises as entertaining as possible.”

The programming aspect of the game is simplistic in nature, yet offers a foundation to expand one’s knowledge upon. Upon its initial release, The Doctor and the Dalek is intended to be played without adult supervision or the supervision of an experienced programmer. However, in the future, teacher packs will be introduced to further teach the basics of programming and allow for more structured design. The Doctor and the Dalek will officially release on Wednesday at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/games.

There is no word whether or not a future episode of Doctor Who will incorporate a similar idea.

[Photo Courtesy: Radio Times]

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