I recently released "Adventuron Classroom" which is an online text adventure development system with integrated tutorial - aimed at 8 to 12 year olds.
With "Classroom" - students learn how to use the keyboard, how to use variables, conditional statements, how to add event handlers, and subroutines. The lessons are animated, delivered step by step, and the lesson plan (and all sample code) is built into the editor itself.
I've spent three years building Adventuron and the Classroom project under the assumption that if children have a story to tell, even an immature one that coding should become fun and engaging.
Classroom includes a subset of the total available functions of the "big" version of Adventuron. Classroom also added a documentation delivery system and a full step by step tutorial.
The integrated tutorial is split into many different parts and state is saved. The documentation system is bespoke and has been developed around this use-case and includes colourful illustrations by Mark Harrison. Upon completing the tutorial, the will hopefully be fully equipped to create a similar text adventure. The tutorial teaches students how to compile their text adventure into an offline-enabled HTML file; able to be executed on desktop, mobile and tablet computers - distributable on game distribution platforms such as itch.
The goals of Adventuron are as follows:
(1) To act as a first (stepping stone) language for children, especially those that are not responding to existing techniques.
(2) To encourage children to tell stories and empathise with characters within those stories.
(3) To act as a fun group activity, including parent + child teams.
(4) To allow children to share their stories with each other on modern platforms with zero friction.
(5) To discover new talent, and to provide them the tools they need to make all-new classic text adventure games, armed with a completely fresh perspective.
1 - Adventuron Classroom
Adventuron Classroom is the browser based authoring system for text adventure games (with super-easy code completion support).
Lessons to be taken under supervision or in a team.
The editor features easy to use context sensitive autocomplete features, which are introduced layer by layer in the integrated tutorial. Adventuron is text-centric and will help children become familiar with the keyboard, but won't require that they have a good memory for function or variable names.
Adventuron supports graphics, sound effects, text decoration, and more.
NOTE: The Classroom editor is restricted from running on mobile OSs right now because the UI is not at all optimized for small screens (yet). Games produced with Adventuron will run on mobile fine.
2 - Interactive Introduction To Text Adventure Games
Excalibur (Text Adventure Literacy Project Edition)
It's a VERY safe assumption that most people under the age of 30 don't know what text adventure games are, and certainly don't know how to play them.
Without this knowledge, Adventuron is useless so this colourful text adventure game teaches children how to play text adventure games (inbuilt tutorial). Excalibur doubles as the game that students will learn to code in the Adventuron Classroom integrated tutorial, and playing this interactive tutorial is part of the lesson plan built into the current edition of Adventuron Classroom.
PLAYABLE ON DESKTOP, MOBILE + TABLET. Touch enabled.
(3) A Video Tutorial (for older children / adults)
Video Tutorial - How To Make A Text Adventure Game In 30 Minutes
This video is not aimed at children as it has a rapid pace, and tends to assume knowledge of keyboard navigation shortcuts. The full adventuron tutorial does not make this assumption, and teaches children how to use keyboard shortcuts as part of the lesson plan.
(4) Adventuron Games
All the following games are free, DRM-free, donations-disabled, with no ads, or in app purchases.
The Path is a text based puzzle game. Not a traditional text adventure. You don't have to collect objects, examine objects, or navigate. It's a puzzle box, with fun imagery and scenarios.
The Beast has some light scary elements but there is no violence or colourful language. The Beast was written by Linda Doughty in 1988 and was ported (with graphical enhancements) to Adventuron last year by myself with the full consent of the author.
The Cave Of Magic is a single puzzle adventure game, that should be very easy to solve after completing the Excalibur tutorial game. The purpose of the game is to act as a second path to learning adventuron concepts via the video tutorial listed above
Excalibur (Spanish) is a Spanish language version of Excalibur, and is designed to demonstrate the Spanish language mode of Adventuron as well as be a fun and interesting game for Spanish speakers or learners.
(5) Tutorial - How To Port A Simple Adventuron Game To The ZX Spectrum
A guide on how to port simple adventure games to the ZX Spectrum is available here. This feature currently beta, and will improve in the future. Hoping it will be fun for parents and children to develop games for the Spectrum together on the Pi (or other desktop computer).
Proof of concept here (tap file download).
Future Developments / Final Words
Adventuron is under active development, and a map viewer / editor is next in line, as well as a graphics editor.
I do hope that educators take some time to consider how Adventuron might fit into their teaching plan. I'm happy to support anyone that would be willing to trial this in a classroom setting, and to work on features that make Adventuron easier to administrate for the classroom.