About the Holiday
Today we laud all the brilliant web designers who bring us our favorite sites and make it so easy for us to shop, do business, watch videos, and play games. We can’t even imagine life without them anymore. If you know a web designer, thank them for their hard work!
Coding Games in Scratch: A Step-by-Step Visual Guide to Building Your Own Computer Games
By Jon Woodcock
Video games are so fun to play! You know you’re good at them; don’t you sometimes wish you could make one of your own? With Coding Games in Scratch, you can! In just 11 chapters you’ll discover all the basics of creating different kinds of games plus how to add special effects, cool characters, exciting backgrounds, music and sounds, and more.
Chapter 1 reveals what makes a game fun to play. Things like characters, objects, obstacles, the mechanics of the game, story, sound, speed, atmosphere, rules, goals, and difficulty levels all contribute to the playability and enjoyment of the games you create. Discussions of the various types of games and a bit about coding round out Chapter 1.
Chapter 2 introduces the programming language Scratch developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT. Here you’ll learn about objects, scripts, and running a program. It shows you where to get Scratch and provides a tour.
Chapter 3 welcomes you to building your first game—Star Hunter, which is a fast-paced underwater treasure hunt. Some of the things you’ll learn include setting the scene, building the script, adding sound, how to introduce an enemy, collisions, and collecting stars. Plus you’ll learn some hacks and tweaks for making your game the best it can be.
Love maze games? Chapter 4 shows you how to build Cheese Chase and help Mimi the mouse find her cheese while avoiding beetles and ghosts. Here you also learn about keyboard control, using the paint editor, making things spooky, creating intricate mazes, and how to move characters along the passages.
Chapter 5 covers Circle Wars—a quick-paced search and chase game full of clones and bouncing friendly and unfriendly circles. In Chapter 6 you’ll discover the gravity of the situation. Literally. Jumpy Monkey may love to leap, but he has to come to earth sometime!
Building Doom on the Broom from Chapter 7 introduces scene, casting spells, enemy attacks, explosions, adding harder enemies, and how to give players extra lives. Phew! Platform games are the subject of Chapter 8. You’ll find the ins, outs, ups, and downs, of jumping from platform to platform, falling, portals, progressing through levels, and more.
Racing games are covered in Chapter 9 with Glacier Race, where cars compete with the clock to avoid obstacles and gather the most gems. You’ll discover how to use game loops to keep the action happening just right, how to make a scrolling road, all about collisions and spins, and adding a penguin race official to start things off and end the race.
Music more your thing? Enjoy a brain teaser? Welcome to Chapter 10 and Tropical Tunes where you listen to drums play and then repeat the sounds you hear in an ever-growing song.
Now that you’ve learned to create video games, what’s next? Chapter 11 tells you about remixing and how to create your very own games. If you really love making games, there’s a section on the kinds of jobs there are in video gaming.
In Coding in Scratch Jon Woodcock clearly explains with text and illustrations how kids can create fun games with a good bit of complexity. Screen shots and digital imagery show kids exactly what they will encounter as they progress through the different kinds of games. Colorful pages and Woodcock’s easy-to-understand directions makes this a go-to guide for budding programmers.
So grab the book, your computer, and your creativity and start Coding Games in Scratch!
Ages 8 – 13
DK, Penguin Random House, 2015 | ISBN 978-1465439352
Web Designer Day Activity
Computer Kids Find the Differences Puzzle
Whenever a designer builds a website there are bugs to work out. Can you discover the “bugs” in these pictures? Take a close look at this printable Computer Kids Puzzle and find the differences!