Update: Robocode tournament continues on this Friday (7/1) and the next few fridays from 5-7 PM.
I am cutting and pasting this information as I physically sit in this amazing facility. I have found myself the expert at sourcing computer science programs for children, and as I watch my offspring completely at home with like-minded kids, and wonderful adults facilitating, I’ll put some basics into this post, just to get the word out.
So we are physically at the Howard Area Community Center’s Computer Clubhouse, which, if you click on that link, will tell you:
The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network is an international community of 100 Computer Clubhouses located in 20 different countries around the world. The Computer Clubhouse provides a creative and safe out-of-school learning environment where young people from underserved communities work with adult mentors to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology.
What we’re attending is part of the Game Maker Academy. Today they’re installing Robocode. The information of that includes:
What is Robocode?
Robocode is a programming competition where the goal is to code a robot to compete against other robots in a battle arena. The player must write the AI of the robot telling it how to behave and react to events occurring in the battle arena.
Robocode is designed to help you learn Java, and have fun doing it.
Workshops and Competitions
Free Robocode workshops and mini-competitions will begin on Saturday June 18, and will continue on Saturdays through the end of July. All workshops will be informal, and are designed to introduce the basic functional coding strategies you’ll need to create a successful robot.
The Robocode CHICAGO tournament will be held on Saturday, July 30 at the Howard Area Computer Clubhouse, 1527 W. Morse, Chicago 60626. The tournament structure, rules, and prizes will be announced on this page in the coming weeks.
Robocode CHICAGO is hosted by Game Maker Academy and the Game Design Club.
So the final cut and paste I’ll do is about Game Maker Academy, from their “About” page:
Game Maker Academy began in the mid-2000s as series of workshops developed to nurture STEM thinking, foundational programming concepts and digital literacy skills within a computer game design context. The initial workshops were hosted at the Wilmette (IL) Public Library and the Park Ridge Public Library.
These programs were organized as informal, learner-centered workshops within the constructionist tradition, and were inspired in part by the example of seminal hacker spaces such as the People’s Computer Center, the Homebrew Computer Club, and by the Computer Clubhouse Network established by The Computer Museum (now part of the Museum of Science, Boston) and the MIT Media Lab. The earliest programs focused upon the Game Maker platform created by Mark Overmars of Utrecht University. Additional programs were soon offered, using platforms such as Scratch, Alice, Robocode, Greenfoot, Starlogo, and a variety of open source media editing tools. Soon, workshops were being offered at youth centers and libraries through north Chicago and its suburbs.
The Origins of the Game Design Club
Seeking to sustain the creative atmosphere and hacker spirit of our earliest workshops and open labs, a group of participants proposed the creation of an informal club that would take responsibility for organizing and hosting monthly meetings, as well as additional workshops, competitions and design jams. Entirely self-funded, the group established the Game Maker Academy website, and commenced hosting a cycle of retro gaming tournaments and design workshops focusing alternatively on game design, animation, and digital storytelling, as well as the ever-popular Robocode melee tournaments.