Ryan Warsaw

Ryan Warsaw

Software Engineer

© 2020

Hacking on Games with Thimble at MozFest

Mozilla Festival is a weekend long event that’s ran yearly at the Ravensbourne college in London, UK. The festival focuses heavily around Internet issues and features a diverse selection of topics, spaces and sessions to choose from.

There are six spaces in total at MozFest, and they are: Decentralization, Digital Inclusion, Open Innovation, Privacy and Security, Web Literacy, and Youth Zone. Each space is represented on a separate floor at Ravensbourne and there sessions being run all weekend on the corresponding topic/floor.

For my 3rd MozFest, I’ll be facilitating my second session in the Youth Zone space, and will be volunteering in the Thimble Zone as well. My session is titled “Hacking on games with Thimble” and intersects with the work being done in the Web Literacy space, but is oriented towards youth.

This made the Youth Zone a perfect fit for this session. In the session we will learn how to use Thimble, Mozilla’s open source online code editor by hacking on flapper, a remix of the classic game “Flappy Bird” built using basic web technologies specifically for this session.

My goal with the session is to not only explain how Thimble works, but help break down initial barriers when learning to code, by showing how anyone with a little bit of determination can make their own basic games like flapper.

The current state of Computer Programming curriculum, for youth especially is terrible. It’s bland, boring and full of abstract topics and concepts that mean nothing if you don’t know how to apply them to real world problems.

This session says “no” to every conventional belief for teaching programming, we’ll dive head first into real-world problems, we’ll teach to the problem not the solution, and most importantly we’ll not try to hide behind a million layers of abstract and will show real world technologies, and how to use them.

In order to do this, I’ve chosen games as the medium for information transfer, hence the design and development of flapper. As for the problem, that’ll differ for each attendee and how they chose to manipulate flapper.

Games make a great medium due to the high level of depth they provide (You’re literally creating your own little virtual realm), but also because it’s a highly responsive environment and you can see your changes in real-time.

This keeps attendees engaged and that’s important. Game development is also a very exciting and always evolving field with developments like VR, AR, etc.

So that’s what I’ll be doing at Mozilla Festival 2017, if you’ll be attending the festival feel free to join us in the Youth Zone for the session, you can find it under the name “Hacking games using Thimble” under the Festival schedule!

You can also keep up with developments, and also get notified of the official time and date for the session by following me on Twitter @ryan_warsaw.