Learning Programs

These are some of the programs I have tried to learn more about in my free time over the last year. I am not currently that advanced in any of them.

 

python logo

One of the activities I have taken up in my free time is learning a programming language. Several friends in the computer programming field suggested that I start with Python. My knowledge of programming is still very basic at this point, but I feel like I am slowly getting more familiar with it.

Currently Working on:

Principles of Computing offered by Rice University on Coursera.org (next class after Introduction to Interactive Programming)

Previously Worked Through:

An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python

This is a class offered on Coursera.org and was designed by the faculty at Rice University. The emphasis of the class is learning some of the basics of Python by designing interactive games. The creation of each game emphasizes the new concepts learned each week in the course. Games are designed on a website called code sculpture, which utilizes java script and some unique python libraries to make programming animated games fairly simple. The class does a good job of teaching basic syntax, data types, and operations in a fun and interactive way. This class is great for people who know a small bit about programming in Python and want to learn more about it (or reinforce what they learned before). Registration on Coursera.org is required to take this class.

Invent You Own Computer Games with Python

Learn Python by writing game code. This tutorial begins with some fairly basic (for programmers more experienced than me anyway) ASCII (text only) games and then moves on to more advanced games programmed with the aid of the Pygame module, which include graphics, sound, and more dynamic user input. Unfortunately, this learning tool has very little interactivity (it’s basically copying code, and then learning about what you did), but it does provide new Python users with some programming fundamentals, some neat tricks that I had not seen before, and a unique approach to teaching Python.

How to Think Like a Computer Scientist

Covers a lot of introductory programming topics with several examples to work through at the end of each lesson. Overall, a nice and thorough tutorial to work though. This website also has more advanced topics to work through after user finish this tutorial.

Computer Science Circles

A great place to start learning Python! Does a good job of covering the basics of programming in Python and provides lots of examples to work through in each section. I especially enjoyed the multiple interactive examples located throughout each section that help reinforce key concepts as you go.

 

blender logo with text

Another program that I am trying to learn how to use is Blender. Blender is an open source three-dimensional imaging software package. At this point all I have done is a very basic tutorial. My hope is that I can use blender to model my ideas before making them out of polymer clay. My long time goal would be to start doing some animation work.

Previously Worked Through:

An Introduction to Blender 3D: A Book for Beginners  (PDF download)

If you don’t trust links to PDFs from websites, I don’t blame you, just do a google search for it. This is the book I am currently working on. It is for an older version of blender, but so far the information still seems relevant. A nice introductory guide with some good, but not always great, explanations and lots of images.

Blender Cookie: Blender Basics

My first introduction to using blender. An overall easy to follow series of videos, with a lot of good information. Sometimes it goes a bit fast, especially if you are trying to work in blender while watching the video, but you can always pause or rewind the video. Links to some more advanced videos are located at the bottom of the page (not all videos are free though).

Other sites:

Blender Guru

A rich collection of information and tutorials, but I haven’t had much time to look through it yet.

 

MMF 2  Multimedia Fusion 2

Software used to build video games, which is especially useful for people who have no little programming experience (developed by Clickteam). Two dimensional games can be built through a largely point and click interface (though more advanced features also exist). Users place objects in to their games, such as players or balls, which can then be given additional logic and conditions to make their application more interactive. Used to develop professional games that can be found on such distribution systems as STEAM.

I have currently completed some online tutorials, but hope to do some more work soon!

ClickTeam Online Tutorials

Tutorials provided by ClickTeam that cover many different topics and range from easy to difficult. A great resource to look to after completing the basic tutorial included in the program.

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