/* jquery */ /* jquery accordion style*/ /* jquery init */

22 November 2012

A Quick Guide to Scratch on the Raspberry Pi

Would you like to delve into the world of animation and game creation? Do you want to bring your imaginative ideas to life without learning a software development language?

With Scratch, from MIT's innovative Media Lab (media.mit.edu), you can construct all kinds of multimedia projects without writing a single line of code. Find out more in Micro Mart issue 1236 - out today.

Here are a few extracts:

The fully visual interface is aimed at anyone old enough to use a keyboard and mouse. In fact, you hardly need to use the keyboard at all.

Scratch does away with the traditional editor and symbolic language approach. In its place there's a collection of graphical, snap-together programming blocks. Blocks with different shapes that lock together in specific ways. Blocks that perform distinct operations. Blocks with entry fields and drop down lists for specific data values.

The easiest way to dive into Scratch is to start with a ready-made program. This way we'll have something that works immediately. So we'll do just that, then spend a little time discovering how this particular example is put together, before making some changes of our own.

As we've seen Scratch makes it easy to create multimedia software, and have plenty of fun at the same time. For more inspiration visit MIT Media Lab's large and dynamic educational community at scratched.media.mit.edu. A community who frequently updates this website with new projects and helpful videos.

Visit my Raspberry Pi page for news, reviews, advice and tutorials.

18 November 2012

Enterprise Games by Michael Hugos

In fitting with the subject matter this book has a lively, engaging and conversational delivery. In structure it's loosely divided into three parts.

Part one addresses the business-centric application and potential of what Hugos refers to as Game Mechanics. It stresses the need for game-like goals and rules, real-time feedback, player engagement and generating a desire to participate. Here you'll find a succession of insightful thoughts and challenges to the status quo of business operations.

The second and third sections are filled with examples to illustrate Game Dynamics in action. Examples as divergent as multi-player online games, social media, mobile apps, 3D animation and visual data analytics. These sections are quite similar in form, with the latter focusing more on the social implications.

Is the book an informative and thought provoking guide to Game Mechanics? Yes it is. Does the book contain examples of how specific companies employ Game Mechanics today to attract, engage and motivate your customers or employees? Absolutely.

However, this book doesn't answer the puzzle of how to implement Game Mechanics inside your own organisation. It's left to the reader to find their own path within the gaming framework. Such a description isn't really possible. After all, there are so many routes to take, so many options to explore, there isn't one simple formula that will work for every organisation. A positive book in nature, the optimistic highroad focus means it doesn't really explore the potential drawbacks and consequences of a game-centric approach.

The world of Game Mechanics is at an embryonic stage. Enterprise Games is a comprehensive and accomplished entry point to exploring this new world. In the coming years it will be interesting to see who's had the foresight, bravery and determination to make it work.

1 November 2012

Raspberry Pi Updates and News

Keeping up with the news and events in the fast moving Raspberry Pi world can be tricky.

Read my Raspberry Pi Updated article to discover the essential manufacturing, availability, software and community news - out now in Micro Mart issue 1233.

Here are a few extracts:

Coinciding with the revision 2.0 announcement is the news that Raspberry Pi boards will now be manufactured in the UK. It's a happy announcement in these times of gloomy economic outlook and high levels of unemployment.

The Sony factory, situated in the Welsh town of Pencoed, is the chosen site. Sony have had electronic manufacturing facilities in Wales for the last 40 years, and this particular factory is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Current production is around 2500 per day.

News and magazine coverage only seems to grow with each passing month. Here at Micro Mart we've published numerous Raspberry Pi articles including a getting started guide (July Special issue), building a media server (issue 1222), the summer coding competition (issue 1219) and a six part introduction to Python (issues 1220 to 1225).

Issue six of The MagPi monthly magazine, dedicated to Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, came out this October. Each issue has a wide selection of hardware and software projects - such as the Skutter robot - plus a generous sprinkling of tutorials and tips. And best of all it's free to view and download.

Visit my Raspberry Pi page for news, reviews, advice and tutorials.