May 20, 2024

PyDiophantus maze game: Play it to learn mathematics or implement it to learn game programming in Python

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Abstract

Serious games or educational games have attracted the interest of instructors and researchers for several years. In the field of education, serious games are being used for motivating students, attracting their interest in cognitively demanding fields and making the teaching and learning process more fun. Moreover, learning through implementing games has been proposed as an effective alternative to the traditional instructor-centered approach to teaching programming. Towards this direction the study presented in this article aims to investigate whether it is feasible to learn programming concepts, as well as game programming concepts, through implementing a game in Python. More specifically, the study presented has the following goals: firstly, to review and comparatively analyze existing game engines and libraries that can be used by novice programmers for implementing simple games in Python; secondly, to investigate whether it is feasible to implement a simple but yet meaningful game that can be used as a prototype for learning programming concepts and game programming concepts in Python. In order to reach the second goal a serious game was implemented as a case study, using the free and open source Python library of pygame that based on the aforementioned comparative analysis is appropriate for novices. The PyDiophantus Maze game that was implemented can be used for teaching and learning game programming in Python, but also for learning mathematics. The article concludes with proposals for utilizing the game in mathematics and (game) programming education, as well as plans for further research.

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