Graphics Studio students are exploring extensions such as VPython and Pygame to create 3D graphics, video games, and other multimedia applications.
I have learned this year that Python is a wonderful programming language to use in a course that emphasizes computer graphics. I know of no other commonly-used programming language that contains a built-in turtle graphics module, and while other languages allow you to write graphical user interface programs, Python's built-in tkinter package makes GUI programming quite simple and straightforward. Students used turtle graphics and tkinter throughout Blocks 1 and 2 in this course.
More recently, we have ventured beyond the standard Python installation to explore third-party extensions to the language, which provide even greater functionality. We worked with VPython for much of Block Three, which is the Python programming language plus a 3D graphics module. And in Block Four, students learned how to write programs in Pygame, which is a set of Python modules designed specifically to make it easier to write video games and other multimedia applications. In particular, Pygame has built-in collision detection, which saves the programmer the trouble of writing tedious, low-level code to determine when two objects on the screen collide with each other.
Several of my students chose to use Pygame to write small-scale simulations of actual video games. Here are screenshots of some of these programs. Can you identify the real video game that these programs were intended to mimic? (WARNING: This may be a difficult task if you are over 18 years old…)
-- Steve Gregg