Using Children’s Development Language for a Gamification Platform: The Reasoning Behind Choosing It and Our Experience
Chapter 1: Drag and drop interface
One of the key challenges in creating gamified experiences in a gamification platform is the development of the game logic and functionality. While traditional programming languages such as Java or Python can be effective, they can also be complex and difficult to learn, especially for non-technical users. This is where Google’s Blockly comes in.
Google’s Blockly is an open-source visual programming language that has emerged as a popular tool for teaching kids and people that are interested in programming but don’t have the appropriate knowledge, due to its ease of use and versatility. But its power and complexity should not be taken lightly. Blocky can do a lot more, including type checking, code generation, code editing and debugging.(Luis Ibanez, 2015). In this article, we will explore the advantages of using Google’s Blockly to create and edit all types of gamification mechanisms, as well as best practices for using this tool effectively. We’ll get the chance to understand this software better from our specialist insights and what were the criterias that made our team decide to use Blockly as development language for Morfin.studio.
“Programming has followed a steady progression of becoming more and more accessible,” says Neil Fraser, one of the Googlers behind Blocky. “From Assembly, to Fortran, to C++, to Python, to Blockly, each generation gets to use an even higher-level interface. Eventually one will be able to instruct computers with completely natural language. At which point everyone will be able to tell a computer what to do.” (Cade Metz, 2012)
Morfin.studio was created with the goal of being accessible to everyone, whether you’re a community owner, teacher, team leader, child, developer, IT enthusiast, business owner, or someone with an innovative idea who wants to create custom gamification. In order to achieve this, the developers at Morfin had to find a solution that would make the interface both easy to understand and responsive. This means that no matter who you are or what your skill level is, you can use Morfin.studio to bring your gamification ideas to life. To achieve this goal, Morfin’s developers adopted Google’s Blockly open-source code and integrated it into their platform editor.
Besides many benefits, one of the main advantages of using Google’s Blockly for gamification is its ease of use. Blockly’s visual drag-and-drop interface makes it easy for even non-technical users to create programs. This is because Blockly abstracts away the complexities of traditional programming languages, making it possible for users to create programs without having to worry about syntax errors or other technical issues.
In order to give you a clear understanding, it would be best if I could demonstrate using some accompanying visuals. (This is something that sets us apart from other gamification platforms – we believe in complete transparency.)
Let’s take a look at the editor when you first begin your project. You may notice a similarity between this image and the one found on Blockly’s website.
Depending on what you wish to create, you can choose blocks from the left side menu and stack them to the main block, in the same way you’d piece together Legos. The blocks are organized by category and color. Each block is a code, a variable, a counter or an “if-then” statement and piecing them together, you create simple functions. And as you piece simple functions you design an entire game logic. This project, when finished, needs to be submitted for approval and once approved by our team, you can release and install it into your community.
In conclusion, the integration of Blockly into platforms like Morfin.studio makes it possible for anyone to bring their gamification ideas to life. With the continued evolution of programming languages and tools like Blockly, it’s clear that the future of programming will become even more accessible and intuitive, enabling everyone to instruct computers with ease.
Luis Ibanez, (2015). Blockly makes it easier to learn to code | Opensource.com. Available at: https://opensource.com/education/15/2/blockly-makes-easier-every-one-learn-code.
Metz, C. (2012). Google Blockly Lets You Hack With No Keyboard | Wired. Available at: https://www.wired.com/2012/06/google-blockly/.