Code a Colony - Research & Development
In response to our market research, we formulated a series of features that have acted as points of focus throughout the development of CodeAColony:
A block based programming interface that facilitates an intuitive comprehension of nested/convoluted flow control structures, so that flexible and dynamic algorithms can be easily created to drive autonomous behaviour.
Cartoon style graphics with commical game challenges, and an anouncement system to facilate the development of story-based progression with future updates.
An openly navigatable, dynamic game environment with changing contexts that necesitate the construction of complex conditional algorithms. The player needs to spend their time programming decision-making structures rather than defining a static sequence of behaviours for a specific context (as is the case with other educational programming games).
Known issues / improvements (highlighted through user testing at Bristol Grammar School):
More intuitive user interface / easier controls
Add more variety to scenery / different terrain
More story needed (we have built an announcement bar, top left, which could be developed further to provide more of a story based experience)
Options for different skins / game themes (space, underwater etc.)
Ability to build new hives / compete with other hives
Despite the main menu options, a tutorial mode has not yet been created
Algorithms are a key feature of the reformed national curriculum at Key Stage 3, and our bee colony concept is uniquely placed to explore this topic. Complex problem solving algorithms are often inspired or informed by the natural world, as we learn from the processes and behaviours that biological systems have evolved over millions of years to overcome difficult challenges. Social insects, such as bees, are a common area of study for this purpose. The ubiquity and real-world impact of swarm-based problem solving algorithms, along with their potential definition by relatively simple rules, makes this an appealing educational topic.
Swarms are also fun to manipulate and observe, with the possibility for large overall effects instigated from a small amount of user input.
Feel free to download our alpha release and have a play!
Bees stunned after stinging spider
Game over scenario