Review - Scratch 3 Programming Playground

Review - Scratch 3 Programming Playground
In this book entitled Scratch 3 Programming Playground , Al Sweigart teaches beginners how to use the Scratch block-based coding editor. As mentioned by the author, this book is written for both children and adults. While following the step-by-step instructions for the six game projects in the book, you will progressively learn Scratch from the easy first steps to the advanced Platformer game. Each project or game starts by creating a sketch or storyboard indicating the Scratch features to be introduced in the game. It ends with review questions that help to reinforce what you have learned so that you can use that knowledge again in the next chapters and games.

In the first chapter, Sweigart begins with an introduction to the Scratch basics, such as how to open an account on the Scratch website and how to share your projects with the Scratch community. Next is a tour of the Scratch visual editor.

In the second chapter, you will create your first project, which is an animated art project entitled Rainbow Lines. In this project, you are introduced to basic Scratch blocks, sprites and animation.

In the second project entitled Maze Runner, you will learn quite a bit more. You start by designing your own sprite. You also learn about keyboard input, random generation and adding levels to your game. In this game, you will have two players and special areas on the screen. For example, you learn how to set up the X and Y values for the walls as special areas that prevent the sprite from walking through a wall. Finally, you will learn how to use messaging between sprites and cheat modes.

Shooting Hoops with Gravity is the fourth chapter and third project. The most important addition to your knowledge base is how to simulate gravity in your game.

The fourth project, in chapter 5, is A Polished Brick Breaker Game. Besides using the skills that you have already learned, this game adds sound and mouse input. You also learn how to make a win and lose screen.

The fifth project, in chapter 6, is Asteroid Breaker ... in Space. With this game, you learn about velocity variables and frame-by-frame animation.

In the sixth and last project Making an Advanced Platformer, in chapter 7, you learn a few advanced techniques, such as walking and jumping sprites, platforms - AI control and ground and ceiling detection. You also learn how to create a hitbox costume, which is how your game will know if your sprite is hit or bumps in to something.

You will learn quite a lot in this book. What I liked the most was the visual preparation the author demonstrated for each project. It reminded me of an animation storyboard. The author offers a download containing resource images and skeleton projects files.

Al Sweigart is a software developer and has written several programming books for the novice covering several languages including Scratch and Python.

Index - EdTech In the Classroom

Scratch is a project of the Scratch Foundation, in collaboration with the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available for free at

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