Friday, March 7, 2008

Mailing Lists Created

There is now a mailing list created for users of The Baby Game, to discuss usage issues or to give feedback on how the program can grow and be more useful to you, the users. There is also a support list created, to help resolve issues like setup problems or if the program just doesn't work for you. Hopefully, with the proper use of these lists, The Baby Game can become the best available introduction to computing for your little one!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Release - The Baby Game 0.2 is Out!

Okay, so it's not a major advancement in state-of-the-art, it's a "baby step", but what more would you expect? I've revamped the audio system a bit and added in support for playing WAV files for each letter or number.

New with this release is the addition of a basic media set for all of the numbers and letters. Missing from this release is the copyrighted music I was providing as a sample to try kickstart things. That content will no longer be available. Now that I've got the basic functionality just right, I'll start adding in requested features and usability fixes -- things like integrated recording of your voice or music, minimal editing of pictures and/or an import system.

Give me suggestions and let's see where it leads!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Collaborative Approach To Learning

Welcome to the blog for The Baby Game!

Here, I hope to be able to interact easily with users and developers alike on the development of this game. Although the game's design is very simple, the possible extensions to the game are many. Hopefully, this project will grow into something more than just toddlers can benefit from!

Have you tried The Baby Game yet?

Simple Installation Instructions

Overall, The Baby Game has been made to be as easy to use as possible. Of course, coming from a programming point of view, I'm probably assuming everyone just "knows" how to install and use a Python application. Which would be a mistake on my part!

So here we go, a basic outline of how to get started using The Baby Game:

1. Visit and get version 2.4 of the right installation for your operating system. For Linux users, this is probably already installed; Macintosh and Windows users will definitely need to follow the instructions at the Python web site to proceed.

2. Visit and get the matching version of Pygame to go with your new Python installation. Again, Linux users will probably already have this or have direct access to this; Macintosh and Windows users will need to read the install instructions.

3. Download the TAR or ZIP file appropriate to your system. Both files are almost identical; the TAR is set up to assume you've got Python installed at "/usr/bin/python"; the Windows ZIP file does not have this header information. I am not familiar with Mac, so anyone who can fill in the gap here please do!

4. Extract the files to wherever you want the game to reside (~/babygame perhaps on a Linux system; My Documents on Windows; I don't know where on a Mac). Remember where you extracted the program, because we'll need that location later!

5. Download the babygame-media TAR or ZIP file appropriate to your system. Both are identical; ZIP is provided for easy access in Windows only.

6. Extract the media files into the same directory you put the program files into. This will create a "media" subfolder with all the basic audio files and the bouncing Baby Game Logo.

7. In Linux, set the "" file executable, or run "python ./"; in Windows (and presumably Mac), just double-click the "" file and the game will start up. Basic functionality will be available right away: press a number or letter and it will appear on the screen with the sound of my voice (oh joy!).

Add Your Own Voice/Music

The whole point of this project was to make something that could be unique for my own child. I tried to make it flexible enough that anyone could customize it easily to fit their own child. Here's how it works, in a nutshell:

1. Record your voice saying the letters/numbers. Copy each file into the appropriate "media" subfolder. If you've downloaded my default media, feel free to over-write or delete my WAV files! The game will play all WAV files in the selected folder, so you may want to be careful not to put more than one WAV per folder. (i.e. when A is pressed, any WAV file in the folder A inside the folder media will be played)

2. Got MP3 files? Copy one of those per media folder in, too. (i.e. ABCSong.mp3 might be copied into the A folder, B-I-N-G-O.mp3 might be copied into the B folder. It's all up to you!)

3. Now you've got sound, how about add some pictures? Put as many GIF files as you want into your folder, and they'll bounce around the screen while the music plays. Be careful of the size, though -- the screen is only 800x600!