by Robert DeVoe
Ever wanted to learn Ethereum Solidity programming? Have you dreamed of becoming an Ethereum developer, and make your own smart contracts and Dapps? Dream no longer, as Loom Network has just released a fun and creative new learning platform called CryptoZombies. Learn all about the basics of Solidity through the guided development of an Ethereum-powered zombie game!
What is CryptoZombies?
Much like other gamified software development platforms like Codecademy and CodeCombat, CryptoZombies is a guided experience that covers all the basics of Solidity development. The first lesson of the program covers basic contract setup, data structures, variables, arrays, and events. While you probably will not come out of the experience one as a “Solidity developer” as the site promises, you will certainly leave knowing more than you did when you started.
Who is it for?
CryptoZombies is a guided experience, but it is not designed for those who are completely new to programming. The site recommends that you at least have a basic understanding of one other programming language. The code used in lesson one greatly resembles Java, C++, or C# code, so experience in one of these should help.
Problems and pitfalls
While the site design is fairly well laid out and lesson are for the most part intuitive, the lessons are still not perfect just yet. Some of the explanations are not fully clear, and in some cases seem misleading on purpose.
In the section that covers mathematical operations, the text explains that Solidity can perform addition like 1+1, multiplication like 2*2, and exponent operations like 10^16. If you enter 10^16 in the code editor, however, you will be faced with a bright red error message. What you should have done, apparently, is enter 10 ** 16, much like in Python or other languages. This is explained in a little code box, but they should have just said, exponent functions are written like this; 10 ** 16 and forgone using the ^ symbol at all.
While minor, these kind of vague instructions appear a few different times, and the onus is on the ‘player’ to understand these points. Whether this was intentional or not is unclear.
During the section describing arrays, a confusing array of language make deciphering the instructions particularly difficult. Though not impossible to solve, better wording should be employed in later versions to make this clearer.
The company behind CryptoZombies, Loom, stated that new lessons will come out every one or two weeks until the project is complete. The completed project should guide the user through the creation of an entire zombie game from start to finish.
To summarize, if you are looking for a fun and guided introduction to Solidity, and you have some programming experience already, give CryptoZombies a try. It is free, fun, and easy to get into.