How Computers Solve Mazes – Introduction to Pathfinding

Have you ever wondered how apps like Google Maps, plot routes for you? Or how the enemies in a video game always find the route to you? Then this is the Experience for you. Join us and learn about simple pathfinding algorithms, how pathing algorithms work in games and how you might code up your own python pathfinding algorithm.

  • Ages:

    13-17

  • Equipment:
    Laptop required
  • Available locations:
    • No location currently available
  • Pricing details
    Price:
For online courses: these require you to have a capable computer to work on and a broadband internet connection.
For in person courses: you will need a laptop with the same specification, please see below for more information. If this is a problem or you are unsure about anything, please contact us via info@fire-tech.com
Most PC/Mac computers from the last 5 years will be fine but you can view our recommended detailed system requirements here

How Computers Solve Mazes – Introduction to Pathfinding

For online courses: these require you to have a capable computer to work on and a broadband internet connection.
For in person courses: you will need a laptop with the same specification, please see below for more information. If this is a problem or you are unsure about anything, please contact us via info@fire-tech.com
Most PC/Mac computers from the last 5 years will be fine but you can view our recommended detailed system requirements here

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How Computers Solve Mazes - Introduction to Pathfinding

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Course highlights

How do pathfinding apps work?

How do pathfinding apps work?

Learn about the super simple and clever Dijkstra pathfinding algorithm and how to code it in Python.

Visualise maze solving algorithms with a graphical user interface

Visualise maze solving algorithms with a graphical user interface

Use Pygame to build a personalised maze solver

See applications of pathfinding algorithms in video games and beyond!

See applications of pathfinding algorithms in video games and beyond!

Using Construct, we will create an environment with obstacles and different terrains to navigate objects through using a pathfinding algorithm.

Photo: How Computers Solve Mazes – Introduction to Pathfinding

Course Overview

Ever wondered how a computer can solve a maze so quickly? In video games, how do your non-human enemies decide what path to take to track you down so ruthlessly? How can self-driving cars determine the best, most fuel-efficient route to a far off destination? How do lunar rovers decide their next move?

Look no further, as we take a super fun dive into what are known as Pathfinding Algorithms. Discover the theory behind the world-famous Dijkstra Method and then code it with Python. We will then implement our algorithms on personalised mazes through a graphical interface so we can watch the navigation happening in real-time!

Next, we code personalised environments using Construct 3 and apply our algorithms to objects navigating through different terrains avoiding obstacles. Can they find the fast route? Can they avoid the insurmountable obstacles?

FireTech Experiences are a new series of short, high interest, fun and engaging tech demonstrations and talks. These are delivered in webinar-style, using Zoom, with the main expert tutor showcasing a new interesting aspect of technology and learning. Apart from Zoom, no other downloads are required.

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FAQs

Will the topics covered be too difficult for my son?

Pathfinding is an important topic in Computer Science but is often explained in arcane and inaccessible ways. This Experience is designed to be an introduction to a difficult topic and although your child may not grasp all of the elements there should be enough information for them to gain knowledge of the topic even if they don’t understand every single detail.

What if I’ve never used Python before?

The Experience uses a mixture of Python and Construct 3 to demonstrate how pathfinding works in practice. Python was designed as a language to teach programming and as such is very easy to read and understand, the programming constructs used in the examples should be familiar to anyone who has programmed in any other language and in addition some of the examples will demonstrate the steps using other programming environments.

Do I need to pay for Construct 3?

Construct 3 has a free tier which will easily be sufficient to run the code involved in this Experience.

What is a Fire Tech Experience?

Fire Tech Experiences are regular, super short, high-interest sessions about the very latest developments in technology on topics you will love. Designed and led by inspiring, enthusiastic experts, Fire Tech Experiences introduce you to new worlds and ideas from the comfort of home.

What if I can’t get the software onto my computer before the Experience happens?

All of the software used in this Experience is browser-based so as long as you have an internet connection everything should just work.

What your child will learn

  • A basic understanding of simple pathfinding algorithms
  • What Dijkstra’s algorithm is
  • How Dijkstra’s algorithm can be coded in Python
  • How to use a graphical user interface to run examples of the algorithm in action
  • How to use Construct to code an environment with obstacles and different te
  • How to run the pathfinding algorithm to see it avoiding obstacles

"I learnt so much and the course has definitely made me consider studying computer science and coding in the future."

Aaniya, Teen student