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Today's tidbit comes via the Scala mailing lists, and is one of the most delightful approaches to teaching a new programming language I've come across: Scalatron. It's basically a virtual Robot Wars environment, an arena in which players add bots (written in Scala) which compete for energy against each other and against the environment. Currently in beta, but the rules are available online, along with a nicely-detailed tutorial that encourages functional programming in a friendly and non-dogmatic way.

Sounds like quite a lot of fun -- a way to turn a day of learning programming into a head-to-head game...

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(Deleted comment)
poke - would it be a good way to teach me? You did promise...

Hmm. Probably not yet, I'm afraid -- the Scalatron tutorial is aimed at someone who already knows some programming (eg, has already written some Java programs) and is moving on to a more sophisticated language...

I've seen other such games for Java and for LISP dialects.

And of course there's Corewars, but that's too much like what I do for a living.

I'm sorry. "Scalatron" sounds like a villain in the next Transformers movie...

No doubt battling Rubyist Prime...

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