Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The positive thing about the DCPU16

The DCPU16 is the new (imaginary) CPU that controls your space-ship in the as-yet-unreleased game 0x10c.

When we got our first computers in the ’80s and ’90s we were enthusiasts and our interface with the new world of computers was via magazines and school chums.

These magazines were read carefully cover-to-cover and would contain a mixture of articles including columns on game programming and puzzles.

The BBC in the UK even tried to kick-start a nation of masters by building their own computer and sending a TV series in how to master it.

That is, if you had a computer in the ’80s or ’90s you got a lot of exposure to subtly disguised lessons in mastering it.

By the end of the ’90s lessons in using computers became part of the curriculum: that is, using Office and such.  There’s even an official European ‘driving license’ qualification [*] in using productivity apps which, I think, mostly centres around learning the toolbars rote.

Despite the Internet, its rare for people these days to dive into mastering their computers, into programming them.

These days the youth generation are consumers who shrug and imagine that computers are for entertainment and not much else.

They’d be hard pushed to even discover our programming world.  Its only really after they actually actively choose to be a programmer and embark on a CS degree that they get any exposure to our cruel on-line community and the discouragement of being a newbie.

And now Notch saves the day!  Straight from his Minecraft success, he goes out and builds a new Elite-like game where, to gain advantage, you use scripts to optimise your spacecraft.

Imagine the new generation of young players who are exposed to this!  They may be tempted to begin to understand these strange hieroglyphics and move towards master.  Its so subtle they’ll enjoy the transition.

Finally we have a new BBC Micro we can all learn to program on.


*) side story: I recall a friend who took so long getting his masters (too busy writing code cleverer than you and I could attempt, for some map-maker) that the uni announced that he was no longer qualified to complete his CS degree as he didn’t have the new obligatory ECDL; I took great pleasure in imagining him sitting down and learning where they’d hidden the bold button on the new Office ribbon


  1. williamedwardscoder posted this

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