Scratch That

I decided to try my hand at baby’s first programming with Scratch. I’ve used it before, but very lightly and only to look at how it worked. For my first project, I decided to aim small and just edit an existing starter.

What I ended up choosing

I played several of the featured games, then took a look inside to see how they were put together. Then, I looked at animations and artwork, taking note of those as well. Looking back, I could have made things easier on myself by just going through the tutorials, but I’m stubborn. I chose to use the Pong starter for my game. This was a bit more complicated than a maze, but not by much.

First, I just changed the appearance by changing the background and ball sprite. I didn’t realize I could duplicate scripts at this point, so I remade it by hand. I then decided to add another ball in the form of the moon. I had a lot of struggle with this one, because it would come in too early, stay even after game over, spin out of control, go too fast, everything. Eventually, I got it working the way I wanted. Then, I decided to add a Game Over screen. I ran into challenges here, as well. For both this and the moon, what helped me the most was looking at other examples to see how they did things. It was about 11pm by this point, and I decided to call it a day.

The next day, I had a break between classes and decided to try and work on my game a bit more. However, since I hadn’t gone through the tutorial and made an account, all of my work was erased. Womp womp.

The good news, though, is that it took under an hour to get everything back up and running to original levels, even with two custom sprites. At this point, I shared my game in the feedback channel.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any feedback. I kept playing and finding ways to make things better, though. I added arrow key controls and sounds, then called my work done for the day. After some feedback from Rose, I added an instruction sheet and changed the sizes of my sprites.

Here is the finished product, I’m fairly pleased with it. I’m sure I could have made something more sophisticated, such as a platformer or an original game, but I’m happy with what I made.

 

Comments

  1. Looks good! Did you find it pretty easy to figure out what the code was doing in the original? I’ve found that’s an issue sometimes with scratch — since code chunks might reside on a sprite or a background, the code that’s doing the thing you want to tweak might not be in an obvious place. Is this one pretty straightforward?

    I’m trying to get my daughter into Scratch, but she mainly uses it to draw things. Which is fine, of course, but I think she’ll have fun with programming.

    Anyway, nice work!

    • Thank you! I’ve played around in Scratch before, so I wasn’t going in blind. The first few times, I tried to use it to program dashbots and ozobots in the education lab. I didn’t have much success. I found this to be much easier to understand, but that was likely because I already had a bit of experience. I did look inside everything I played, and there were definitely more complex games where bits of script were hiding in strange places, but the Pong starter is only 2 sprites and 4 scripts, if I remember correctly? It’s very simple to begin with. Of course, you can get very complex if you want to!

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