I have been vert fortunate to have the opportunity to work for an organization that has allowed me to learn basic coding skills. When it came to this project, I was stumped on what to use! I have invested hundreds of hours into programs like Hour of Code and Code Academy in the past, and wanted a challenge. This is where I found Make School! Make school is a college out of San Francisco that teaches computer science. Not only can you enroll, but there are hundreds of online tutorials that you can access for free! When digging through their tutorials, I found Code Wizard Castle, and felt it was totally up my alley. It is a step by step tutorial that teaches you the different components of basic programming.
At the beginning, I found this tutorial straight forward. There was a second tab I would change too with the explanations of the code I needed to interpret, and what it should have looked like. The visuals were SUPER straight forward, and very clear. My goal with each section was to not look at the answers. I wanted to be able to understand what I was typing, how I could make changes, and see it appear successfully on the right-hand side of my screen. Using Screencastify, I tracked my progress! You can see it below.
Step 1. Creating a Castle and a Wizard!
This was one of the more challenging parts, largely because I am so used to block coding. It took me to long to figure out how to get my wizard to appear on the screen. Once I figured it out, I realized I hadn’t turned on screencastify yet… oops. I decided to mirror my wizard after Ron Weasley, one of my all time favourite characters from the Harry Potter series. He is also the clutziest, so I thought it was fitting that if my code was a mess I could just blame him.
Step 2: Familiar, scroll and broom.
Once Ron was in the castle, it was time to get him a friend! I tried to create Rufus, but it was it was outside the capabilities of the tutorial. So I had to settle for a cat. Once Ron’s cat was settled, it was time to unpack his scroll and broom! Placing them in particular areas of the screen was challenging. When inputting the coordinates, I had place the items based on their middle, so it too some tweaking to get them where I wanted.
3. Wizard, cat, and a bubbling cauldron.
Next it was time to disspell the leg-locker curse and let Ron and his cat move around the room! This part of the code was particularly challenging, because Ron followed my house. Once I learned how to stop him from walked infinitely, I was able to hold the shift key and have him only walk when I wanted. His cat was more straight forward, and just paces the room!
Finally, it was time to light a fire under the cauldron! This part of the code had me going into the pre-written design and tweaking it. I was very afraid of breaking the code and having to start over!
4. I should be able to do magic, right?
This was absolutely the most challenging part of the entire tutorial. I was supposed to write code that changed the spell Ron case in each room! As you can see, there is a 10-minute video dedicated to his cat walking across the screen, while I continually flipped back and forth from tab to tab troubleshooting the code.
First, Ron was supposed to say “hmm” when you clicked the mouse! Clicking the mouse triggers the spells, so we needed to activate this key. This was the first time I had to look at the solution because I just couldn’t figure out where I was going wrong.
Once the “hmm” code was up and running, Ron was able to cast Changicus! A spell that would randomly change the colour of his wand, and later his entire outfit.