[etoys-dev] Animation support

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Sat Mar 27 10:08:09 EDT 2010

On 26.03.2010, at 17:36, Steve Thomas wrote:
> So I have a  limited understanding of Etoys design philosphy and the execution semantics of operating in a timeless fashion and while I can appreciate the differences between execution models, from a child's perspective the question is: "can I make it do what I want, without getting so frustrated I give up?"
> From a child and teacher's perspective the things that the Scratch execution model allow me to do that have value, in particular:
> Ability to Visually Debug scripts (Edit -> Start Single Stepping) I have used this on a number of occasions when kids were stuck and got them to "look at" how there scripts were executing and this was a great tool to help them to think about how the scripts work and resolve their problems
> Ability to create what i will call "Sequenced Animations and Sounds" (as mentioned earlier)
> Ability to "pause" the action
> No, I am not suggesting changing the execution semantics or a re-design, but simply asking how we can solve these problems within the Etoys paradigm.

The "visual debug" would be very hard to add after the fact - this feature would have to be included in the design from the start.

You can "pause" an action by splitting it into two scripts, and triggering the second part later.

Instead of "Sequenced Animations" maybe you can think of something that achieves the same learning goal but uses different mechanics? Some approaches to a problem work better in Etoys than others.

For synchronizing with sound we could have a tile that indicates whether a sound is still playing. Then you could test this in a ticking script.

> Kids love animation and cartoons and are really motivated by creating them, providing them with a "lower floor" to do this I believe would encourage wider use of Etoys.

That may be indeed be so. However, there are many things you can do with kids that Etoys is better suited for. It's not universal enough for everything - but if it was, VPRI would have gone out of business by now ;)

> I tried building my own animation tiles and found it non-trivial and wound up building upon Yoshiki's example. Even then I needed to use Holders within Holders. I doubt a kid or most teachers could figure it out (probably my fault in not thinking hard enough on how to solve the problem).
> If someone could provide an example that would provide a much simpler level of abstraction that kids can use that would be great.

I doubt that it could get much simpler if you have to start from first principles. The only way to make this usable with kids is that someone experienced builds these animation helpers, and the kids start from that project. I plan to show my ideas about this at Squeakfest:


This is not the final version yet, in fact that was my first attempt to build this. I'll at least have to get rid of the "point" tiles which were convenient for me to use but are not necessary (and somewhat buggy, too).

- Bert -

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