MOO-cows Mailing List Archive


Learning MOO Programming

  I have been sitting on the sidelines for quite a while now.  
Occasionally we see a wizard who asks what seems to be a simple 
question.  We all agree that these people shouldn't be given the power of 
being a wizard, but what can we do?  There is no structured method of 
learning moo programming.  Especially for someone who doesn't have any 
programming experience.  I am making an attempt to remedy that situation.
  I have brought up a small moo on my machine using WinMOO.  The entire 
purpose of this moo is to teach programming.  I am in the process of 
writing a set of tasks that a player must go through in order to prove 
exper programming ability.  It won't be easy, and it would take a newbie 
months to get through.  But they would come out of the program as a 
better programmer.  They will have gained the knowledge they need in 
order to be a useful wizard.  I am attempting to create a structured 
learning environment.
  Why would anyone want to sign on to a moo that they have to work?  Here 
is my plan.  They will want to learn because there will be incentive to 
learn.  Everyone signs on as a builder, and in order to get a programmer 
bit, they have to show building skills.  It is outlined in ?progbit what 
they need to do.  Once they have *earned* their programmer bit, they can 
then work toward earning a wizard bit.  This is a huge incentive for 
anyone who has never had a wizard bit.  I know all of you have gotten the 
newbies on your moo that barely know how to describe themselves and they 
want a wizbit.  Seems that some of you even gave them one.  On my moo, 
they will have to go through a large series of steps that prove they have 
learned to program in order to get a wizbit.
  What does this accomplish?  The people that make it through the program 
will be competant programmers.  Other new moos may elect to draw their 
new wizards from my pool of "graduates" even.  It gives players incentive 
to actually learn.
  What security precautions have I taken?  Players are not required to 
register their email addresses.  The reason being that anyone has the 
ability to earn a wizard bit there.  Also, $ will remain 
0 (not that it matters with WinMOO).  I will not be installing anything 
fancy such as FUP.  It's a bare core will no frills.  New wizards may be 
required to divulge their email address to me as a personal security 
precaution.  Is it dangerous to give _anyone_ a wizard bit?  Yes, I'll 
admit there is a slight risk.  But I feel that if anyone takes the time 
to work through the entire program just to get a wizbit in order to cause 
trouble, then there is no stopping them from causing damage as a plain 
programmer anyhow.
  Sounds great!  What are the problems?  Since I'm running the moo off of 
my PC, I have to bring it down every day.  Every time it comes back up, 
it's at a different dialup port.  This makes it hard for players to 
find.  Also, I won't be able to use the phone lines for hours each day 
starting in 1 month.  My roommates would kill me in my sleep ;)  I 
seriously need someone to donate space on their machine.  If you have 
room on yours, just remember what a noble cause it is.  The moo 
population can benefit greatly from a project such as this.  Another, 
perhaps larger problem is this:  I need help writing ?wizbit.  It has to 
be written as if a person who has never programmed before is going to be 
going through it.  It has to cover every aspect of programming, and it 
has to be simple.  That's impossible!  You must be crazy!  No.  Not at 
all.  When I started, I knew nothing.  Now, although I am still learning 
new things every day, I feel I am a competant programmer/wizard.  But I 
would be much better off if I had had a structured programming 
environment in which to learn.
  I would greatly appreciate feedback/suggestions and if you have a lead 
on a site, or if you can afford to donate space on your machine, we 
really need it.  If you are on Lambda, Rupert, Moo2000, or Aqua, feel 
free to page me.  Otherwise, go ahead and email me.

Adam Summers
(a.k.a. Kephren)


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