Mozilla Festival takes place over the weekend of 6th – 8th November at Ravensbourne College, London. #MozFest as it’s more affectionately referred to, attracts a world wide audience of digital makers ranging from journalists, teachers, community leaders to web and software developers. I submitted a proposal together with David Whale earlier in the year to lead a Minecraft Mini-Hack-Jam. We’ll be leading this workshop at 12pm on Saturday in the Youth Zone, Room 212, 2nd Floor.
Minecraft offers digital makers a 3D virtual world which can be used to design and create objects and environments which can then be explored. The version of Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi computer has the added advantage in that users can use Python, a text-based programming language to control how these objects interact with the user and with each other using resources like these from Raspberry Pi. David has written a book together with Martin O’Hanlon called Adventures in Minecraft.
The aim of this Hack Jam is to enable participants to understand the creative and educational potential of controlling Minecraft with code on a Raspberry Pi computer, but then inspire them to lead a similar event in their community. Any resources created for the Hack Jam and post event evaluations will be shared under creative commons afterwards. While workshop participants of any age and experience will be welcome, it’s hoped that older participants will benefit the most in terms of using this event as a model they can replicate in their own community or school.
The Hack Jam will begin with a brief introduction to programming Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi, participants will work in teams to first design and then create a Minecraft challenge assault course.
This Hack Jam workshop will last from 1 to 3 hours, and comprise of five phases.
1. EXPLORE – Participants will first use Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi in creative mode to create a building – this will enable participants who have no prior experience of Minecraft to understand the Minecraft environment.
2. UNDERSTAND – Participants will be introduced to the potential that the Raspberry Pi offers that enables Minecraft to interact with other software and hardware. We will provide them with some recipe cards.
3. DESIGN – Participants will work in small teams to design a mini Minecraft challenges for other participants to solve.
4. CREATE – Each team will then create their mini Minecraft challenge.
5. EVALUATE – Participants will visit other teams to try their Minecraft challenges as part of an assault course.
Participants will be organised into teams of up to 5, if we only have 5 participants we’ll organise them into two groups. 15 participants would be organised into 5 groups of 3. If we have 50 participants, there will be 10 groups of 5. The Hack Jam needs at least 2 hours to realise it’s full potential. If it was compressed into 1 hour it wouldn’t allow enough time for a complete experience.
All the code solutions for the Minecraft challenges will be published on GitHub for others to share and collaborate with. We will encourage participants to write blog posts about their experience of the session and how they intend to use it themselves as well as publishing our own post event evaluations.
If you’re planning to visit MozFest, it would be great to see you there. If you’re not able to attend the Mini HackJam, please ask David or myself how it went. Also, there’ll be a large number of the Raspberry Pi community there out in full force.