London Dojo & Github

I’m fairly new to github; to git, in fact. Truth be told, I wouldn’t even have bothered with it if it weren’t for the fact that ntoll organises the code for the London Python Dojo around it. And that the game engine we had decided to use was hosted there. While I’m all in favour of DVCSes (you just *know* what’s coming when someone says “I’m all in favour…”, don’t you?), the problem is that there’s only one Subversion, but there are at least two if not three — depending on your view on bzr — DVCSes with fairly widespread support, and they’re all subtly or radically different. I more-or-less committed to learning Mercurial, because it’s what Python’s moving to, but that doesn’t help me when other people are using git. Oh well…

Previously on London Dojo: we cloned the crawlr engine from axedcode’s github repo. And found, ironically, a maze of twisty passages all alike. We went north, south, east and west in search of treasure but found only darkness… Fortunately, the man himself spotted that his game engine was flavour of the month and got in touch to ask why, and to offer a newer, better version: axengine2. Which is a lot cleaner, even if there are some questionable design choices…

So we did that. And I spent half an hour at the beginning of last Thursday’s Dojo going over key pygame concepts — rects, surfaces, sprites, and sprite groups — and giving a whistle-stop tour of the codebase which, slightly surprisingly, reimplements the Python class inheritance model in JSON, backed up by Python classes. Sort of. There was half a chance we might even have a live Skype connection to the author at the beginning of the session — before he started work over in the States — but timing didn’t work out so it didn’t come off. Shame.

We set to work again, in teams as usual, each team having a “Dojo Quest” and 90mins to complete it. Naturally, everyone was still frantically coding at the 89-minute mark. (I know we were, having made a critical breakthrough in our attempt to introduce a joystick-controlled second player [*]). We had the usual show-and-tell of: a menu system, some background sound, the two-player mode, hidden treasure, and something else I’ve forgotten. By which time it was getting on for 10.30pm and there was only just time to pull a name out of the hat for the winner of the O’Reilly Book-of-the-Month on XMPP, which we hope to use for the inter-dojo gameplay.

The Dojos are always fun; they’re also nothing like the disciplined Dojos which others favour. Basically, it’s a social coding exercise with a fair bit of laughter and passenger-seat driving. We seem to be nudging the 30 mark every month at the moment, so watch the Python UK mailing list for the announcement that tickets are available and get in there quick.

[*] We delayed ourselves a little by confusing the KEYUP / KEYDOWN constants — which indicate depression and release of keys — with the constants indicating the up and down-arrow keys :(

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