A quick look around the internet reveals several programs that aim to teach today’s youth how to code, and now Ubisoft looks to up the offering through the popular Rabbids series of characters. Rabbids Coding features a story in which the creatures need a helping hand to fix their spaceship, and coding will be the key to repairing the damage.
The educational software disguised as a game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal, and developer Anthony Kozak spoke to TheGamer about the overarching goals of the project. The project was jointly conceived by Ubisoft Canada and Ubisoft CSR teams with the aim of creating an educational game for kids to teach them programming. Ubisoft sought to leverage the popularity of well-known characters to further attract youth to the game.
Kozak goes on to explain exactly what the game teaches its users, “We cover the early concepts, like how to create a chain of instructions, how to use conditions such as ‘If this happens, do that,’ and how to use loops to repeat instructions.” Players will then need to consider how best to combine all elements to create the most efficient set of instructions, which in turn will result in a higher score if done well.
For the unfamiliar, there are many other games that seek to also teach children how to code, though they often have different goals in mind. Other popular are CodeMonkey, CodinGame, Flexbox Froggy, CodeCombat, RubyWarrior, CodeHunt, to name a few. When asked how Rabbids Coding would differ, Kozak turned to the brand power that comes with the franchise, “I think the game is quite attractive for kids, having those well-known Rabbids as the main characters, and using a really easy and step by step approach to help make it more fun and engaging.”
Disguising education in games is not a new concept, and Kozak explained how the game was not out to compete with any other coding titles, but rather to complement the range of offerings. He states, “Our approach is purely philanthropic, providing one more way to learn programming and having it available everywhere we could. Part of our CSR initiative involves partnering with libraries, schools and other entities to help spread it, even to kids that don't necessarily have a computer at home. Accessibility is the key here.”
From this point, Ubisoft is also considering what next steps to take along this path. Future plans will depend on the feedback and lessons learned from Rabbids Coding. The important thing is that this is a great first step for children to gain exposure to the concept of coding in a fun way that rewards exploration and creativity.
From here, users will have the basic logic of programming necessary to move onto the next level, and Kozak explains that, “The logic is common to every language, and only the syntax will defer. Some languages are easier than others, but it depends on what you want to create.”
Hopefully the Ubisoft initiative will be successful, both to spur developers to develop useful and educational software, and for their own continued development of more software like this in the future.
Source: Anthony Kozak, game developer at Ubisoft