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4:56pm on Monday, 7th October, 2019:

Challenge Week


It's challenge week this week in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. There's no teaching of first- or third-year undergraduates for the week, but they have "challenges" instead.

The challenge for final-year students is to write the Initial Report for their final-year project. Given that the latest spreadsheet lists the project for 18% of the students as "TBA", you can see why this might be a good idea.

The challenge for first-year students depends on what their degree subject is. Games students and some unlucky Computer Science students get to do the games challenge, which is always to design a board game.

The topic this year is "killer robots". This is why we don't let electronics students do it: they may make actual killer robots.

The first-tears start work on their projects tomorrow. I have a trolleyload of game design stuff that they can use to make their games. The trolley has two shelves, is hard to manoeuvre and is unstable. The first time we did this exercise, I was allocated the furthest teaching room from my office on the whole of campus. I complained about this so successfully that the second time I was allocated the second-furthest teaching room from my office. I managed to get that changed before challenge week began, though, so instead got to run the event in a room that was much more conveniently located but was basically a greenhouse.

This time round, I've been allocated the third-furthest teaching room from my office. It's too late to change it. Getting there entails pushing the trolley for some distance outside, so if there's rain, wind, or a crowd then I'm in trouble.

As it happens, I'm in trouble anyway. There was heavy rain over the weekend that flooded out the teaching centre. It was closed down today and may well be tomorrow, too. If it is, the game design challenge will be pretty well a bust.

Oh, I do have one session that isn't far from my office. It's in computer lab 1. I made the mistake of specifying that I wanted a room with flat tables in it without specifying that they shouldn't have computers on them. Lab 1 is a completely unsuitable venue for people making board games.

It's definitely going to be a challenging week, I'll give it that.

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Copyright © 2019 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).