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Captain Code: Unleash Your Coding Superpower with Python

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  • Introduces all the core programming concepts students need to know, one step at a timebuilding smoothly from simple to more complex techniques
  • Teaches using Python, one of the world's most intuitive and powerful programming languages
  • Packed with illustrations in a welcoming layout designed for easy understanding
  • By best-selling author Ben Forta, who wrote the world's #1 introductory SQL database programming book
  • Academic resources are available on the authors' site: https://forta.com/books/0137653573/edu/


  • Copyright 2022
  • Pages: 400
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-765359-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-765359-1

Becoming a coder is all fun and games!

Everyone should learn to code. Much like drawing and sketching, playing an instrument, cooking, or taking pictures and shooting videos, coding is a creative endeavor, which means it's a way to actually create stuff, and creating stuff is incredibly rewarding and satisfying. Sure, it's fun to spend hours on your phone looking at what other people have created; but that's nothing compared to the joy and satisfaction of creating things that other people consume and use. Yep, coding is fun!

And if that weren't enough, when you learn to code you develop all sorts of invaluable skills and traits beyond just coding. These include planning, problem solving, communication, logic, empathy, attention to detail, patience, resilience, persistence, and creativity. And it turns out that these skills (especially creativity and creative problem solving) are some of the most in-demand out there. So, coding will help your future career, too, regardless of what that career may be.

But, where to start?

Captain Code is a welcoming, engaging, and fun introduction to becoming a coder, designed for the young (ages 10-17) and young-at-heart. Experienced educators and coders Ben & Shmuel Forta will guide you using Python, one of the most popular programming languages in the world. You'll learn by creating games, yes, games, from simple projects to retro text-based adventures to complete graphical arcade style games. Captain Code is 400 glossy color pages of goodness packed with welcoming images, useful tips and tidbits, and engaging, readable text that focuses on doing while having fun. All code listings are in full-color and QR codes link to bonus content, downloads, challenge solutions, and more.

Captain Code makes coding exciting and rewarding, as it prepares a new generation to take their next steps forwardin education, careers, or both.

So, are you ready to unleash your coding superpower and become Captain Code?


Companion Site

Visit Ben Forta's website for access to challenge solutions, downloadable game images, code, and more.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Introduction     xv
Chapter 1  Getting Started     3
Understanding Computer Programming     4
    What is a computer?     4
    How do we talk to computers?     5
    What is Python?     8
Setting Things Up     9
    Installing Python     9
    Installing and Configuring Visual Studio Code     10
    Creating a Work Folder     13
Writing Your First Python Program     15
    Selecting Your Work Folder     16
    It's Coding Time!     17
Summary     19
Chapter 2  Mad Libs     21
Understanding Functions     22
Using Variables     23
    Creating a Variable     24
    Using a Variable     24
    Some Important Variable Rules     25
    Variables, More Variables, and Even More Variables     26
    Getting User Input     28
Playing Mad Libs     30
    Write Your Story     30
    Add Variables     30
    Get User Input     32
Summary     33
Chapter 3  Roll the Dice     35
Using Libraries     36
    The random Library     36
    Generating Random Numbers     37
    Choosing a Random Item     38
3 Is Not 3     41
Commenting Your Code     43
One Die, Two Dice     45
Summary     49
Chapter 4  Calculate the Day     51
Working with Dates     52
    The datetime Library     52
    Using the datetime Class     55
Making Decisions     56
    The if Statement     56
    What else?     58
    if Revisited     59
    Testing for Other Options     61
    Using in     62
Beating the Mathematician     63
    Handling Numeric Inputs     63
    Putting It All Together     64
    An Alternate Solution     67
Summary     67
Chapter 5  Rock Paper Scissors     69
More Strings     70
Game Time     72
    Handling User Input     72
    The Game Code     74
    One Last Tweak     76
Summary     77
Chapter 6  Secret Codes     79
Lists     80
    Creating Lists     80
    Accessing List Items     82
    Changing List Items     83
    Adding and Removing Items     84
    Finding Items     85
    Sorting     86
Loop-de-Loop     89
    Looping Through Items     90
    Looping Through Numbers     92
    Nested Loops     93
Cracking the Code     95
    Encrypting Characters     96
    Modulus Math     97
    Encryption Code     98
    Decryption Code     102
Summary     104
Chapter 7  Guess the Number     105
Conditional Loops     106
Game Time     111
    The Basic Game     111
    Putting It All Together     116
Summary     120
Chapter 8  Becoming a Coder     121
How Coders Code     122
    Have a Plan     122
    Think Small     123
Game Components     124
    Restricting User Input     125
    Storing User Guesses     128
    Displaying Lists     129
    Masking Characters     131
Summary     136
Chapter 9  Hangman     137
Game Time     138
So How Does It Work?     141
Summary     148
Chapter 10  Keep Going     149
Birthday Countdown     150
    Program Requirements     150
    Program Flow     150
    Some Tips     151
Tip Calculator     152
    Program Requirements     152
    Program Flow     153
    Some Tips (Pun Intended)     153
Password Generator     154
    Program Requirements     154
    Program Flow     155
    Some Tips     155
Summary     159
Chapter 11  Getting Func-ky     163
Functions Revisited     164
    Creating a Function     165
    Passing Arguments     167
    Returning Values     171
Summary     175
Chapter 12  Exploring     177
Game Concept     178
    Game Structure     179
    Prompting for Options     181
    Processing Options     182
    Create a Work Folder     183
Game Time     184
Test It     189
Summary     191
Chapter 13  Cleanup Time     193
Optimizing Your Code     194
String Externalization     196
    Creating the Strings File     196
    Using Externalized Strings     200
Summary     201
Chapter 14  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refactor     203
Understanding Refactoring     204
    Identifying Refactoring Opportunities     205
Creating a User Choice Component     207
    Designing a Reusable Component     208
    Creating the User Options Function     213
    Updating Your Code     218
Summary     221
Chapter 15  Carrying (and Using) Stuff     223
Planning the Inventory System     224
    Creating a Dictionary     225
    Working with Dictionaries     226
    Lists of Dictionaries     228
The Inventory System     229
    Creating an Inventory     230
    Plugging In the Inventory System     232
    Using the Inventory System     233
    Displaying the Inventory     238
Summary     239
Chapter 16  Keeping It Classy     241
The Player System     242
Creating a Player Class     243
    Creating the Class     243
    Defining Properties     244
    Creating Methods     247
    Initializing the Class     250
Using Our New Class     251
Summary     255
Chapter 17  Color Your World     257
Installing Third-Party Libraries     258
Using Colorama     259
    Importing and Initializing the Library     259
    Coloring Your Output     260
Summary     264
Chapter 18  Keep Going     265
Health and Lives     266
Shopping for Items     271
Random Events     275
Battling Enemies     277
Saving and Restoring     280
Summary     282
Chapter 19  Crazy Driver     285
Introducing Pygame     286
Prepping the Game     286
    Game Concept     286
    Installing Pygame     288
    Creating Work Folders     288
    Obtaining Images     289
Getting Started     289
    Initializing Pygame     290
    Displaying Stuff     294
The Game Loop     295
Summary     300
Chapter 20  Image-ine the Possibilities     301
Files and Folders     302
Setting the Background     305
Placing the Cars     310
Summary     317
Chapter 21  We Like to Move It     319
Moving the Enemy     320
Moving the Player     323
Summary     327
Chapter 22  Crash, Bang, Boom     329
You Crashed, Game Over     330
Tracking Score     332
Increasing Difficulty     334
Summary     336
Chapter 23  Finishing Touches     337
Game Over Revisited     338
Pause     341
Varying Enemies     343
Ice Cubes     348
Summary     351
Chapter 24  Keep Going     353
Splash Screen     354
Scores and High Scores     354
Oil Slick     356
Multiple Enemies     357
And Then     358
Summary     359
What Next?     361
There's a Lot More to Python     362
Web Development     362
Mobile App Development     364
Game Development     364
And Then     365
Index     367
Bonus Online Chapter 25  Tinkering, Testing, and Debugging Revisited     (Online Only)


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