Adventuron Classroom - IF Creation Tutorial for 8 to 12 year olds (with supervision)

Adventuron Classroom was released a few weeks ago, and is a web based text adventuring system with built in tutorial.

With Classroom, games can be packaged as standalone HTML pages, with autosave features, and usable on mobile and desktop devices.

The design intent of “Classroom” is to act as a simple entry point to teach children the fun of interactive text based adventure games, and to encourage kids to learn to code at the same time as crafting their own simple stories.

Classroom is a subset of the full version of Adventuron, designed to facilitate simpler adventure games, and to minimise the frustration of “too many options”.

Adventuron is not entirely aligned with the seemingly serious-minded “interactive fiction” community. It more closely aligns with traditional object/treasure centric games that were very popular in the UK and Spain in the 80s and early 90s,

That said, The Beast of Torrack Moor (30th Anniversary Edition) proves that serious IF is also possible on the platform.

Adventuron Classroom consists of a number of lessons, and is aimed at 8 to 12 year olds primarily (with adult supervision).

It features illustrates by Mark Harrison.

Lessons are intended to guide the reader, with no prior coding experience, to coding a simple and cliche text adventure game, the type that was common in the 80s.

I feel that games need to be more whimsical, and more graphical, if IF is to gain new young authors. Young authors will age, and tell more serious stories as they mature, but the on-ramp in my view is certainly whimsy, and trope based games.

Adventuron is a database based format, with a fixed logic loop at its heart - intrinsically less flexible than VM based approaches. That said, I feel that the theming, the tooling, and the conceptual simplicity make it a worthwhile project.

Adventuron is intended as a stepping stone to something else, perhaps Inform 7, ZIL, or perhaps Python, Java, Typescript, or C++.

Scratch is an excellent teaching language, but nothing engages children’s brains like storytelling - and this is where I hope that Adventuron will fit.

I will continue to develop the system, to write more tutorials, to simplify the UI, to add more interactivity, and a lot more features.

I hope that this isn’t an inappropriate place to share this information.

Some Screenshots

Twitter Link

@LearnAdventuron

Games written with Adventuron

https://adventuron.itch.io

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Hi, All,

I expect that quite a few educators might be interested in the approach that the Adventuron Classroom folks are proposing.

For one thing, Adventuron Classroom (or “AC,” for purposes of this forum post) is a highly-developed system. It includes a video introduction and an extensive tutorial that walks the user through the code of a complete, not-so-short game. At the end of the tutorial, a student or teacher finds a thorough and clear reference guide for the AC authoring system.

The goals of Adventuron Classroom include typical officially-sanctioned objectives, in this case, educational goals of the UK. The Classroom documents include an extensive treatment of how Adventuron programming meets these standards (https://adventuron.io/files/Adventuron-Classroom-Curriculum-Info-20190501.pdf). Some readers of this post may be familiar with Gerald Aungst’s “Interactive Fiction and the Common Core, which offers a similar correlation between IF and the United States standards (https://geraldaungst.com/2012/11/if-and-the-common-core/).
However, the Adventuron designers have something more specific in mind, as well. They write, “Adventuron is intended as a stepping stone to something else, perhaps Inform 7, ZIL, or perhaps Python, Java, Typescript, or C++” (Adventuron Classroom - IF Creation Tutorial for 8 to 12 year olds (with supervision)).

To achieve this programming goal, Adventuron Classroom teaches students to write IF stories, not with an obviously-friendly system, such as Quest or Inform 7, but, instead, with a user interface that looks more like that of a conventional programming language, complete with arcane punctuation and double ampersands.

Here’s some sample code.

Adventuron Classroom helps students to produce this code by providing a three-pane user interface. The left pane offers a tutorial or other documentation, the middle pane displays the source code, and the right-hand panel presents the story itself. Perhaps even more helpful is a utitlity that allows the user to activate a template for whatever the student is apparently trying to do. Thus, the student does not have to worry so much about the tricky punctuation, though he or she still has to know where to plug in the information that the code requires.

You can see this feature in action on the Adventuron Classroom Website
(Adventuron Classroom - IF Creation Tutorial for 8 to 12 year olds (with supervision)).

Adventuron Classroom tries to make itself accessible, even to younger students, in other ways, too. For example, it helps students to use a subset of the Adventuron system, not the whole Adventuron authoring tool. This subset guides users toward a two-word parser, suitable for straightforward old-school text adventuring.

So what do you think? Does Adventuron Classroom offer a strong alternative to Adrift, or Quest or Inform 7, if the goal is to eventually help students to transition to traditional programming languages?

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“arcane punctuation and double ampersands.”

Pulling no punches :slight_smile: