My OLPC Journey Jan 2011
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Soldiering On ...

Jan 2 Apparently my activities prevent some XOs from going to "sleep"- this is most unsatisfactory due to the wastage of battery power. I'm getting a lot of help from the Sugar Development Mailing List folk and hope to have a solution before too long.

In between times I'm beavering away at "Castle". Here's a screen grab to give you some idea of how the graphical interface is going. Here you see the player about to move into another "room" to the East. Movement is controlled by the green buttons (still to be labelled with arrows) - rather like controlling a ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle).

The current "room" is the Pool but the player is ok cos she has a mask & snorkel in her bag.

In the corners you can see three other objects waiting to be "picked up". At bottom right is a sapphire (worth points of course) and there is a magic bag at bottom left - picking it up fills your bag to the brim with objects.

The smiley is showing that you have 1 "wish" at this stage - you can wish for any object.

There are 16 "rooms" and over 20 objects - and also 5 magic spells.

Jan 6 The XOs arrived from the US today. I managed to get them "talking" to each other.

Have finalised all the rooms in Castle - here is a map from an actual game and I'll list the rooms for you:

  1. The Entrance
  2. The Gas Chamber
  3. The Teleporter
  4. The Thieves' Den
  5. The Ice Rink
  6. The Pool
  7. The Hidden Trapdoor
  8. The Map Room
  9. The Dark Cave
  10. The Wizard's Cavern
  11. The Dungeon
  12. The Laser cave
  13. The Genie's Lair
  14. The Casino
  15. The Treasure Trove
  16. The Jungle

Jan 8 Learnt lots from the Sugar Development Mailing List discussion about the "lack of sleep" problem. Big contribution from James Cameron. As a result I have upgraded the six published activities - they are all now "sugar coated" but , more importantly, are all "battery friendly" in that they allow the XO to sleep when inactive.

Tried the latest "Boxes" on my "new" XO-1 and it behaved impeccably.

Martin is back from Summer Vacation so we are well into tweaking activities 7, 8 & 9. Doing them one-at-a-time so "Eleusis" is under the spotlight at the moment. Have just finished revamping the user interface and I think it's much easier to follow what is happening - let's see if Martin agrees

Jan 10 Eleusis is now public: link.

Castle is basically finished but I've taken a little side road and produced Actvity No 11: a 12-piece version of PJ which I've called "PJ Lite". The pieces are all the right way up - there is no rotation facility. Here's a pic:

Jan 13 Castle tweaking time. Reworked the Map Room. When you click on the map, this is what you get. Notice how mousing over a room shows you the room in detail.

And I just completed my first real game with a score of 46,656! Rather impressive when you realise that the jewels are worth a maximum of 4 each. How did he do it ?!?!?!

Jan 15 Finished tweaking Castle - played another careful game today - this time I scored 129,963!

Decided to create a web site to accompany Castle. It includes a list of possible class activities to assist teachers. I may go back and set up similar sites for some of my previous activities.

Jan 19 Rectangles and PJ are now public.

Castle is now with Martin. First on his wish list was to be able to use the arrow keys as well as the arrow buttons. Just between you and me ... working with keystrokes has defeated me until now. But once again James Cameron came to my rescue and now I can work with keystrokes with no problems.

Jan 21 PJ Lite is now public.

Activity No 12 - "Trails"

Jan 22 Hard to believe but my inspiration for this original game came from "Scrabble".

Activity No 13 - "Sudoku"

Jan 26 What better way to celebrate Australia Day than a new activity completed - yes completed!

Jan 27 As an ex-teacher, I'm convinced that activities need to be presented in a structured way. With this in mind I'm trying to create worksheets to accompany some of my activities. Here's what I came up with for "Spirolaterals":

Spirolaterals Ideas

1. Find all the things you can click on and work out what happens when you do.

Green button - the turtle starts drawing.
Red button - the turtle stops drawing.
Black button - clears the drawing area.
Blue button - new pattern (only after a success).
Numbers - increase - note Right click decreases.
Drawing area - full screen version of your drawing.
Peter the Magician - help by correcting one of the numbers.
The Turtle and the Hare - change the drawing speed.

2. How many points for a correct picture?


3. What happens if you ask for help?

Lose 1 point for each corrected number.

4. Draw an ok picture with all numbers as large as possible.
(This is quite a challenging question.)

5 3 5 5 3

5. There are 124 different pictures - how many have you done so far?

6. Who has the Highest Score so far? The Spirolaterals Champion.

Activity No 14 - "Jumble"

Jan 28 My "Hidden Objects" activity. Players have to find 20 objects in the jumble.

Jan 29 A very exciting day ... Castle has just been released at SugarLabs ... even as I type I imagine it being downloaded and played.

And I think I might pause to draw breath ... Martin still has 3 new activities to check out ... and I need a break! Going to spend a bit of time polishing my Python skills. (All my activities are written in this language.)

Jan 31 Trails is now public.