Bas Wijnen is a high school physics teacher who is very interested in free software and hardware. Most programs he writes, and robots he builds, are to solve a problem he has. If other people can also use them, that's a bonus. Because of this, most of his current projects are related to teaching physics.
Recently his preferred program language is Python, but he still uses C++ for tasks which require the speed of a compiled program, and for programming firmware on Arduino-based systems.
Highlighted projects (all only have working titles, which will probably change):
- classgame: A game where students must reach the finish on a map filled with obstacles (and other players) by solving basic physics tests.
- python-webgame: A framework for creating web-based multiplayer games in Python.
- lesverhaal: A (single player, for now) visual novel engine with complex answer types (not just multiple choice) and teacher supervision.
Watching people discus a subject is a good way to learn about it. With this in mind, I decided that a visual novel would be a good way to get middle and high school students to learn about physics in a pleasant way. Instead of (or in addition to) answering questions about what they will do next, they can answer questions about the physics, to demonstrate that they understood it.
For writing visual novels, Ren’Py is the engine of choice. However, it has some drawbacks for this purpose. Most notably that as a teacher I want to monitor their progress. So I want to see their answers. That is not (reasonably) possible with Ren’Py. So I decided to write my own engine, which for now goes by the name “Lesverhaal”.
In this talk, I’ll explain the design of Lesverhaal, how I solved some problems and what problems are still left to solve. Spoiler: the main thing left to create is not code, but story content.