BBC announced The Doctor and the Dalek, a new online game voiced by Peter Capaldi that teaches players to program.
The game features the regenerated Twelfth Doctor thrown into a “dangerous quest with his most devious of enemies” in a new, standalone, story from Doctor Who writer, Phil Ford. It has been specially released to be part of the BBC’s Make it Digital initiative that aims to “inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, digital technology and programming”. It will be available freely at CBBC from Wednesday 22nd October.
In the game players join the action as the TARDIS materialises after a distress call from a Dalek. On freeing the battered Dalek from his Cybermen captors, the Doctor finds himself taking his new unlikely ally on a mission to save all of creation from destruction at the hands of his greatest enemies.
The game combines platforming and puzzle elements that are designed to inspire players about programming. Each puzzle unlocks an achievement that helps the Doctor build the Dalek back to full strength, ensuring it can take on increasingly difficult challenges as the game progresses.
The puzzles are designed to enable children to pick up core programming principles as they play. These skills include combining instructions to accomplish a given goal, using variables to alter behavior, repetition and loops, and logical reasoning.
Resources accompanying the game will be available from BBC Learning for teachers and parents to help children get the most out of the game. These will provide links to other resources available from across the BBC and third parties, enabling children and teachers to take their learning journeys further.
I asked Richard Jenkins, Game Producer, and John Howard, Executive Product Manager, about how this compared to Disney Infinity’s Toy Box and games like LittleBigPlanet or Project Spark. “Those commercial platforms tent to require a proprietary piece of hardware. Here we are using technologies that are accessible to all. Web based technology that is democratic.” In this light there is a tablet and mobile versions following the desktop format later in the year.