Day two of Kodu.

I had found two videos on how to make a Pacman like game with Kodu.  Not two good videos, just two videos.  The guy doing the videos assumes the watcher knows how to do what he is doing.  He does something, I spend 30 minutes figuring out how he did it.  Actually it is teaching me a lot about Kodu.  The digging around and trial-and-error is teaching me a lot more than if I were just following clear directions.  I am also learning a lot about an X-Box controller.  I do not have to look at the controller any more to figure out which button is red or yellow or whatever.  I am not a gamer so the controller is not instinctive like it is with my students.

Some lessons learned.  Have the video drivers up to date.  That was good for at least a couple hours entertainment.  Kodu would not load on my desktop so as usual I hit Google.  The solutions did not fix the problem so I had to use my own brain.  The stress!  Kodu was working on a cheese bag laptop and not on my fancy desktop so it had to be something stupidly simple.  Update the video drives and poof, she works.

Kodu is pretty processor intensive.  My poor little school AMD laptop fan is a hummin’.  The i5 laptop at home is a hummin’.  The i7 tower with 8 gb of RAM has no problem.  I really like the fact is does actually work on the cheesy laptop.  I will be interested to see how it holds up as the project gets more complex.  Kodu has a little thermometer on the right side of the screen to indicate the level of complication of the project.  I am not sure if that is RAM usage or processor usage but it will be interesting to see how the laptop handles things as the project goes higher on the thermometer.  Right now I am just starting to tickle the thermometer and I have not even put any moving parts on the game board.

After two days of serious dinking with Kodu I am not sure I would give this to a programming novice cold turkey.  It is something a novice could easily work with but some initial guidance would really lower the frustration level.  There is almost too much “stuff” available to work with.  Lots of tutorials and lots of projects to work with.  That much “stuff” is a bit intimidating and confusing.  Kodu needs some kind of progression levels or a “do this first” type of guide for the novice to begin with.

This is one of those things I really want to have down pat before I throw it at the kids.  A lot of the building is technique which takes a lot of time.  Where things are, how to handle cursors, and how to save projects where you want them to save all takes time to figure out.  I do not want the kids spending a lot of time on the administrative details even if it would be a good learning experience.  Kids have a tendency to bail when things get ugly that way.

This weekend I will dig through the Resources tab on the Kodu website.  I also intend to spend a few hours working through Pacman video two.  The weather is supposed to be a bit rough and wet so no bike riding.  Maybe a short 6 mile trail run and a weekend of Kodu with some recovery beer.

Did you know beer is an excellent after run drink?  It is not much on recovery nutrients or rehydration but it sure is good for the aches and pains.  And it tastes sooo much better than that protein and recovery powder shake.  I wonder what would happen if I made the shake with beer instead of almond milk?  Probably just ruin the beer.  I am not risking the anger of the beer gods by experimenting with their miracle drink.


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